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US giant chipmaker Qualcomm acquires Ukrainian startup Augmented Pixels

by Daryna AntoniukJanuary 15, 2022 4:42 pm
The U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm exhibits its technology at Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, China on June 28, 2019. (Reuters/Aly Song/Files)

The U.S. cellphone chip manufacturer Qualcomm has acquired Ukraine-founded startup Augmented Pixels for an undisclosed amount, Forbes Ukraine reported on Jan. 15.

Augmented Pixels, founded by Ukrainian Vitaliy Goncharuk, develops virtual and augmented reality software.

The company hasn't yet published an official statement about the acquisition, but it changed its bio on Twiter on Friday, Jan. 15, saying that it has been acquired by Qualcomm. Goncharuk also changed his current job position on LinkedIn to Director of Engineering at Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is one of the most valuable tech companies in the U.S. with a market capitalization of over $211 billion. Qualcomm, which sells its tech to giants like Apple, was one of the Augmented Pixels' clients, along with other electronics companies like LG and Intel. Augmented Pixels' software helps robots to navigate without GPS. It also works on tech called 3D mapping, which is used to turn real objects into three-dimensional virtual models.

Since Goncharuk founded the company in 2010 in Ukraine’s southern city Odesa, Augmented Pixels has attracted $7 million of investment. Among its investors are Investment Capital Ukraine, Aventures Capital, 408 Ventures, Steltec Capital, The Hive, and T. Ravi.

Many of them made a return on their investment, but it is impossible to calculate how much they got because the startup doesn't disclose its valuation and the distribution of shares.

Ukrainian firm Adventures Capital made an investment in Augmented Pixels in 2013 – its first investment in this field.

"Aventures Capital was the sole investor of Augmented Pixels in 2013-2015 and had great faith in its team," said the fund's managing partner Yevgen Sysoyev.

In 2021, Forbes valued Augmented Pixels at $20-40 million.

Augmented Pixels could help Qualcomm to develop extended reality – a technology that allows humans to overlay digital features onto the real world using virtual reality headsets or extended reality glasses.

The technology fits in Qualcomm's new business strategy. It has recently stepped into the autonomous driving and virtual reality markets.

Augmented Pixels moved its headquarters to Palo Alto, California in 2014, although two of its development offices remain in Ukraine, where it employs up to 80 people.

In 2016, Augmented Pixels was recognized as one of the largest contributors to computer vision – a field of science focused on how computers can gain high-level understanding from digital images or video – along with giants like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Sony.

Daryna Antoniuk
Daryna Antoniuk
Tech reporter

Daryna Antoniuk is a tech reporter at the Kyiv Independent. She worked in the same role at the Kyiv Post and has focused on Ukrainian startups, investment and the fintech market. Antoniuk previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted and The Record. She graduated from Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv with BA in journalism and communications.

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