IP Group has backed AR technology developer WaveOptics, building on the position taken by Touchstone Innovations, which it now owns, in 2015 and 2017.

UK-based augmented reality technology (AR) developer WaveOptics raised $26m today in the first close of a round backed by commercialisation firm IP Group and led by venture capital firm Octopus Ventures.

The round also featured industrial product maker Robert Bosch’s corporate venturing arm Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC) and electronics producer Goertek as well as VC firm Gobi Partners and asset management company Optimas Capital Partners.

IP Group contributed $4.7m and now owns a 19.9% shareholding in WaveOptics at a $19.2m valuation. WaveOptics is in advanced discussions with potential, additional investors for a second close but a target size or timeline have not been revealed.

Founded in 2014, WaveOptics produces optical components known as diffractive waveguides for AR devices. The transparent waveguides offer full colour, near-eye AR displays that can overlay high-resolution images on a user’s field of vision.

The capital will help WaveOptics scale its business domestically and internationally as it looks to create a manufacturing supply chain capable of satisfying orders from customers in the US and Asia. The company will also open an office in Beijing next year.

Goertek’s investment builds on an exclusive manufacturing partnership it agreed with WaveOptics last month to facilitate waveguide production on a global scale.

Touchstone Innovations, the commercialisation firm now owned by IP Group, invested $4m in WaveOptics’ $15.7m round in July 2017, when it was joined by RBVC, Octopus and Gobi.

WaveOptics previously raised a multi-million-pound sum in a December 2015 round led by Touchstone, then called Imperial Innovations, and backed by RBVC, AR app developer Blippar, Octopus and angel investors.

Blippar had already supplied WaveOptics with an undisclosed sum in June that year.