In 2020 Innovega, which is headquartered in Bellevue, WA, and has development facilities in San Diego, was recognized in a listing of “Cool Companies” selected by a San Diego-based nonprofit. The company’s level of activity since shows it may be heating up.
Innovega is developing stylish, lightweight, wearable displays that feature a high-resolution, panoramic-field-of-view system, and is licensing its technology into the $74 billion global vision-care market with a focus on image enhancement for the visually impaired. The company’s patented platform, eMacula, includes eyewear and iOptik high-resolution smart contact lenses that work together to deliver broad application in medicine, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR).
Last July, Innovega appointed Casey Tegreene, an expert in intellectual property and augmented reality, as a strategic and technical adviser to the company. President and CEO Steve Willey said, “His skills and depth of experience complement Innovega’s world-class advisory board and his raw passion for innovation and for delivery of new products will accelerate our plans.”
Then in December the company added Jeff Bradley to its board of directors, to bring strategic expertise to help Innovega scale and commercialize its technology for extended-reality (XR) experiences. Bradley is recognized for building AT&T’s portfolio of smartphones and network services.
Series A Financing
In March the company launched a reservations campaign for a Series A round with its partner, SeedInvest, a leading equity crowdfunding platform. Investors were able to reserve shares to indicate interest in investing and be the first to know when the offering was live.
Innovega recently received Securities and Exchange Commission qualification for this offering, which set in motion the conversion of reservations to completed investments. The converted reservations reached the minimum threshold for the offering on April 11. Willey said investors exceeded expectations by reserving approximately $1.5 million in shares by March 31, securing the company’s minimum target of $750,000 faster than expected.
In April, Innovega filed three new patent applications for novel XR eyewear with features for people with visual and auditory impairment.
One application provides for camera features for display eyewear that allow normal eye and head positions when using the system for distance viewing, arms-length tasks, and normal reading-distance tasks that have different angles of gaze and head tilt.
A second application is for a novel intraocular lens (IOL) for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) who also need cataract surgery. The IOL optics enable eMacula’s wide field of view and replace the iOptik smart contact lenses.
And the third application is the first to address the needs of the hearing impaired with extended reality eyewear, according to the company. Novel microphone technology is coupled with gaze tracking and hearing devices to assist the hearing impaired in gaze-guided microphone channel selection, along with real-time, gaze-guided voice recognition closed-caption text presentation in the XR-display eyewear.
Innovega has been supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and National Science Foundation, and has received investments from strategic partners.