‘Canva of AR’ Start-up Receives $2 Million Pre-Seed Funding

The location-based AR builder platform Trace has come out of the shadows

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Published: April 26, 2024

James Stephen

Trace has come out of stealth following its successful pre-seed funding round in which it raised two million dollars to support its location-based augmented reality (AR) creation platform.

Pitched as the next potential ‘Canva of AR’, the Trace platform offers tools for developers to create immersive content for a range of devices, including phones, AR glasses, and spatial computing hardware, such as the Apple Vision Pro.

The oversubscribed funding round – a rare feat in this industry – was led by Rev1 Ventures and Impellient Ventures. Trace has also managed to sign up some big-name Fortune 500 customers like Qualcomm, T-Mobile, Lenovo, and Telefónica that are reportedly using Trace for brand activations, employee training, customer product education, and more.

Melinda Gloriosa, Managing Director, Investment Funds at Rev1 Ventures, explained why it has chosen to back this AR start-up: “Rev1 continues to support and invest in industry disruptors, and Trace is doing precisely that.

“We’ve invested early because we believe they’re poised to make waves in the augmented reality and spatial computing industry.

“We look forward to seeing how Trace transforms AR and revolutionises our interaction with the world around us.”

In spite of only just having made itself publicly known, Trace has already been busy helping to enable AR experiences for the Hip Hop 50 Summit, flagship retail stores, and major events like Mobile World Congress where it supported Deutsche Telekom’s AR.

Evidently, Deutsche Telekom was happy with the results, as Elmar Schrage, Head of Business XR Development at Deutsche Telekom, provided glowing feedback: “Deutsche Telekom used Trace to power a mixed reality experience at Mobile World Congress 2023, and the results couldn’t have impressed us more.

“The end-to-end, user-friendly approach offered by Trace is unique and lets us deploy high-fidelity immersive experiences. Trace is an ideal tool empowering our sales team to effectively present complex products or simply to ‘wow’ our customer in our flagship stores.”

Trace is made up of a team with backgrounds from Magic Leap, Disney, Samsung, DARPA, and Harvard.

According to the AR start-up, it was formed on the belief that AR content is most effective when it is closely integrated with its physical surroundings.

The company’s co-founders Greg Tran, Sean Couture, and Martin Smith have applied this founding principle with their AR creation tool technology to provide a platform that is accessible to all skill levels.

With the two million dollars raised, Trace is now able to speed up its platform development, which is currently in closed beta, and help creators and businesses to connect their AR technology with customers.
Greg Tran, CEO and co-founder of Trace, and former Creative Director and Principal Designer at Magic Leap, set out his bold vision for Trace: “Creating AR content is typically a complex process that is out of reach for anyone other than experts and agencies.

“Trace uses a beginner-friendly approach to creation so that AR deployments that previously took months can happen within just a few moments.

“What Canva did for graphic design and SquareSpace did for websites, Trace can accomplish for AR.”

Tran will be familiar with the AR space, having previously worked at Magic Leap, whjch creates augmented reality devices and applications, most notably its Magic Leap 2 AR headset that was launched in September, 2022.

With Magic Leap announcing last year that its Magic Leap 2 headset had increased its compatibility with OpenXR, “building an open and accessible [AR] ecosystem”, it might not be long before applications created on Trace are combined with the key product offering of Tran’s former multi-billion dollar employer.



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