Touching the metaverse: Haptic glove maker HaptX grabs $23M to gas commercialization

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The HaptX Gloves DK2. (HaptX Photo)

HaptX, the Redmond, Wash.-based makers of haptic gloves for use in virtual reality and robotics, has raised $23 million in new funding.

The cash will be used to fund product commercialization and build on technology that HaptX has been working on since 2012.

The company’s gloves, with 130 points of tactile feedback per hand, employ microfluidic feedback technology to physically displace the user’s skin the way a real object would.

HaptX Chief Revenue Office Joe Michaels told GeekWire that the startup is riding tailwinds of the hype around the metaverse, an immersive iteration of the internet that has become one of the industry’s hottest trends.

“Just as 20 years ago every organization needed to formulate an internet strategy and then a decade ago their mobile strategy, we’re seeing a major shift in awareness of the metaverse’s importance and potential,” Michaels said.

HaptX believes that haptics is a key component of the metaverse. 

“Touch really is the most important missing element,” Michaels said.

The company has seen growth in awareness around and sales of its HaptX Gloves DK2, and has added customers throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. The gloves are used by Fortune 500 companies and government organizations for applications in training and simulation, industrial design, and robotics.

Facebook parent Meta, which has made the metaverse a significant focus going forward, announced its own VR glove prototype last year — and caught the attention of HaptX. CEO Jake Rubin said at the time that the tech giant’s gloves “appear to be substantively identical to HaptX’s patented technology.”

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HaptX had no comment this week on any developments around its stated desire “to reach a fair and equitable arrangement” with Meta.

The latest funding round was led by AIS Global and Crescent Cove Advisors, with participation from Verizon Ventures, Mason Avenue Investments, and Taylor Frigon Capital Partners.

HaptX’s total funding is more than $58 million. The startup employs approximately 50 people with plans to double that number by late 2023.

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