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Niantic, the company behind PokémonGO has raised a new $245 million funding round

Augmented reality developer Niantic Inc. has raised $ 245 million in a Series-C funding round led by venture capital firm IVP, the company announced Wednesday.

In 2015, Niantic spun out of Alphabet as an independent, private company with $ 35 million in Series-A funding from The Pokémon Company Group, Google and Nintendo.

Following the launch of Pokémon GO, the company raised $ 200 million in Series-B funding, led by Spark Capital and included additional investors such as NetEase.

This latest round will bring the company’s valuation to nearly $ 4 billion.

“IVP is excited to support Niantic in building the future of AR,” said IVP’s Sandy Miller in a statement. “It delivers the magic of AR through highly popular games, but ultimately by delivering an operating system for applications that unite the digital world with the physical world.”

The Series-C funding will go toward advancing users’ AR experiences by investing in advanced capabilities, machine learning and the Niantic Real World Platform, the company’s operating system that bridges the real and digital world.

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Niantic plans to expand its game offerings as it prepares its 2019 release of “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite” with WB Games.

With a similar concept to Pokémon GO, users will be able to explore their neighborhoods and cities across the globe, learn spells, and interact with AR beasts and characters based on J.K. Rowling’s novels.

This is the first major AR game launch since Pokémon GO in 2016, which in two years was downloaded over 800 million times.

Niantic will also be accelerating staffing for growth initiatives related to the company’s developer platform, it said.

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“We continue to be focused on delivering on our mission of bringing people together through experiences that marry advanced technology and the real world” said John Hanke, Niantic co-founder and CEO in a statement. “This funding round adds financial and strategic support as we focus on doubling down on that mission with our platform and building upon the popularity we’ve established in recent years as we grow our portfolio and offerings.”

Strategic investment in Series-C funding also comes from aXiomatic Gaming, Battery Ventures, Causeway Media Partners, CRV and Samsung Ventures.

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