Oblong Industries, the company that created the computing environments depicted in the film Minority Report, has announced that it is partnering with two new funders for its Series B capital raise: Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, and Energy Technology Ventures — a GE-NRG Energy-ConocoPhillips venture. The Foundry Group, already an Oblong investor, led the new funding round.
Oblong and its partners view this latest investment round as an opportunity to fuel growth, further extend the company’s technology leadership position, and deliver solutions to a broader market.
Oblong’s g-speak™ spatial operating system provides data visualization, analytics, and integration capabilities across multiple computers, screens, and applications. The g-speak environment supports many different kinds of computing and input devices, from desktops and laptops to mobile devices, from large-screen “mission control” centers to walk-up information kiosks. Oblong pioneered the development of gestural interfaces and continues to ship the world’s most scalable and accurate system for interactive hand and object tracking.
Oblong’s Mezzanine™ product, built on the g-speak platform, introduces next-generation, real-time collaboration with integrated telepresence. Mezzanine allows any user on an enterprise network to share content and applications with any colleague, any where in the world, dynamically and interactively.
Video of Oblong’s products is available at the company’s website: oblong.com/.
"We believe Oblong's spatial operating system is revolutionizing the way people interact with their computers," said Jamey Sperans, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners. "We are delighted to be partnering with Oblong's team of visionaries in pursuing the multiple market opportunities for this transformative technology."
Oblong’s technology research began over two decades ago at the MIT Media Lab. Today, the team is comprised of developers and engineers formerly with companies including Apple, Google, Pixar, Microsoft, Accenture and Walt Disney Imagineering.
Kwindla Hultman Kramer, Oblong’s Chief Executive Officer, commented,“We founded Oblong because we want to make computers better, smarter, and easier to use. We're proud of the multi-user, multi-screen, multi-device spatial operating environment we're supplying to partners like Boeing, SAP, and GE Digital Energy. And we look forward to taking that platform to broader markets in 2012.”
“We seek to invest in brilliant innovations that solve real problems with a talented team that can execute. We found that in Oblong. Their groundbreaking technology has the potential to fundamentally change how we interact with and act on data,” said Kevin Skillern, GE Energy Financial Services’ Managing Director of venture capital and representative of Energy Technology Ventures.
Oblong will use the new investment dollars to scale product commercialization and custom solutions development. Partners are critical to this scaling, and GE recently announced that Oblong’s technology has been licensed by GE Digital Energy for use in new Smart Grid analytics software. The product will enable utilities to use integrated digital tools and data sources designed to make decisions, both in infrastructure planning and real-time operations.
GE’s partnership with Oblong was conducted through GE’s ecomagination Accelerator program. The $20 million ecomagination Accelerator program, a spin-off from the $200 million ecomagination challenge, is designed to scale offerings of leading start-up companies through GE as a global growth platform. In addition to equity investments, GE funds commercial pilots through the Accelerator program in key growth markets like the smart grid.
Financial details on the Series B financing round in Oblong Industries were not disclosed.
About Oblong Industries
Oblong Industries’ innovative technologies and ideas (oblong.com) are changing the way people work, play, and communicate. Oblong’s technology was the basis for the computers depicted in the film Minority Report® and has roots in more than two decades of research at the MIT Media Lab. Oblong’s products, including the g-speak™ spatial operating system and the Mezzanine™ collaboration appliance, define the next generation of multi-user, multi-screen, multi-device computing.
Oblong is headquartered in Los Angeles and supplies g-speak and Mezzanine™ systems to Fortune 50 enterprise customers, reseller partners, and academic and research institutions.
About Energy Technology Ventures
Energy Technology Ventures (energytechnologyventures.com) is a joint venture involving GE (NYSE: GE), NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) focused on the development of next-generation energy technologies. Bringing together three market-leading companies with a wide range of deep technical and financial expertise, relationships, services and products, the joint venture invests in, and offers commercial collaboration opportunities to, venture- and growth-stage energy technology companies in the renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls, water and biofuels sectors, primarily in North America, Europe and Israel.
About Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners
Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners (AIP), part of Morgan Stanley Investment Management, provides innovative alternative investment solutions across hedge funds, private equity, real estate and diversified alternatives. AIP's dedicated investment teams draw on a deep understanding of alternative investment strategies formed over decades of investment experience and apply this expertise and insight to bring thoughtful, opportunistic and innovative solutions to clients.
About Foundry Group
Foundry Group is a venture capital firm focused on making investments in early-stage information technology, Internet and software startups. Our passion is working alongside entrepreneurs to give birth to new technologies and to build those technologies into industry-leading companies. We’re centrally located in Boulder, CO, but we invest in companies across North America.
Our current venture fund of $225m was launched in October 2010 and is managed by our four managing directors. Collectively, we have over five decades of experience in venture capital investing. During that time we have invested in over 100 companies as institutional investors and over 50 companies as angel investors. Additionally, we have over three decades of entrepreneurial experience in founding and working in senior operating roles inside technology startups.