Verizon is buying virtual reality company Jaunt

North Face offers a virtual reality experience using Oculus and Jaunt technology to provide customers with a view of what it’s like to rock climb and base jump.Christopher Gregory | The Washington Post | Getty ImagesVerizon has acquired some assets of virtual reality video start-up Jaunt XR, the company announced Monday. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.As part of the deal, Verizon will own Jaunt’s software and technology, among other assets.”We are thrilled with Verizon’s acquisition of Jaunt’s technology,” said Jaunt XR CEO Mitzi Reaugh in a statement. “The Jaunt team has built leading-edge software and we are excited for its next chapter with Verizon.”The company, which was founded in 2013, established a foothold in virtual reality technology, developing hardware, software, tools and apps that enable brands and consumers to make high-quality VR content. Jaunt later launched a Netflix-style content library for VR headsets, before announcing in 2018 it would transition to augmented reality technology. The company has raised about $100 million in funding from Disney, Google’s venture arm GV and Redpoint Ventures, among others, and made the CNBC Disruptor List for 2017.Jaunt is pivoting to AR at a time when VR remains a crowded field with many players, despite the technology gaining limited traction outside of niche audiences. Facebook, Apple and Google have all launched dedicated efforts in the space. Facebook on Wednesday announced a new virtual reality experience for Oculus users, among other things.The deal comes as Verizon has recently scaled back its media ambitions, with Verizon Media Group laying off 7% of its workforce in January. The division, formerly known as Oath, encompasses media, advertising and technology properties, including popular sites like Yahoo, HuffPost and TechCrunch. Additionally, Verizon in 2018 was forced to take a $4.6 billion write-down on its media business, indicating it hadn’t been performing as well as the company hoped.

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