Verizon Acquires VR Technology From Disney-Backed Jaunt

Jaunt Camera Rendering - H 2015

Jaunt Camera Rendering - H 2015

Verizon has acquired the virtual reality technology developed by Disney-backed Jaunt XR. 

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, includes Jaunt's software, technology and other assets. The San Mateo, California-based company will work with Verizon for a period of time to transition select assets. 

"We are thrilled with Verizon’s acquisition of Jaunt’s technology," said Jaunt president and CEO Mitzi Reaugh. "The Jaunt team has built leading-edge software and we are excited for its next chapter with Verizon."

Jaunt was founded in 2013 to build technology for the budding virtual reality industry. Over the years, it expanded with a VR app and an in-house studio for immersive, 360-degree content. 

In 2015, Jaunt raised a $65 million round of funding led by Disney and Evolution Media Partners. The company has raised a total of $100 million in venture funding. 

But the company struggled as the consumer market for VR failed to take off, cycling through executives and laying off "a significant" number of staff last fall as part of a pivot to focus on augmented reality. 

Verizon, for its part, previously invested in the VR space with the 2016 acquisition of RYOT. But the telecom company has focused less on the media space as it doubles down on its 5G technology. It took a $4.6 billion write-down on its media business, formerly called Oath, and laid off seven percent of its staff earlier this year.