Niantic Inc., the maker of the hit augmented-reality (AR) game Pokémon GO, has raised about US$200 million in new financing.
The company’s Series B round comes just weeks after it announced plans to release a new title, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The financing round was led by Spark Capital, and included Founders Fund, Meritech, Javelin Venture Partners. Also participating were branding agency You & Mr. Jones and internet company NetEase Inc., according to Niantic.
Spark partner Megan Quinn is also joining Niantic’s board as part of the deal.
Niantic chief executive John Hanke said in an email the funding would open new strategic opportunities for the company, allowing it to make long-term investments in augmented reality.
Earlier this month, Niantic announced it would follow up on Pokémon GO through a partnership with Warner Bros. to create a Harry Potter-themed game, which is due out sometime next year, TechCrunch reported.
Niantic is known for its AR games, which began with the multiplayer sci-fi spy game Ingress. The startup originally founded within Google spun out as a separate entity in 2015 and launched Pokémon GO in July 2016.
Since the summer of that year, Pokémon GO has become an overnight hit, pushing millions of players to go outside and chase digital monsters with their smartphones.
San Francisco-based Niantic combines location-tracking and augmented reality, the technology that overlays digital images on real-world environments in Pokémon GO.
Players can search for beloved monsters like Pikachu on a digital map on their phones. When they arrive at the location on the map, they see digital images of the popular characters blended into real-world environments.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the viral AR game reached US$1 billion in revenue globally just seven months after its release last July – faster than any other mobile game, including Activision Blizzard Inc.’s Candy Crush Saga, according to App Annie Inc.
In its Series A round, Niantic raised US$30 million from an investor group including Alsop Loui Partners, Google, Nintendo, The Pokémon Company, and Cyan and Scott Banister, among others.
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