Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz stepping down at AR startup

Abovitz also announces a new round of funding in a memo sent to employees.

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Rony Abovitz is leaving his post as CEO of augmented reality startup Magic Leap.

Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired

Magic Leap co-founder and CEO Rony Abovitz informed employees at the augmented reality startup on Thursday that he's stepping down from the company's helm. He also told employees that the company has secured a new round of funding.

Abovitz said in an email he plans to stay with Magic Leap during a transition period but noted that the company has been "actively recruiting candidates" to replace him.

"As the Board and I planned the changes we made and what Magic Leap needs for this next focused phase, it became clear to us that a change in my role was a natural next step," Abovitz told employees. "I discussed this with the Board and we have agreed that now is the time to bring in a new CEO who can help us to commercialize our focused plan for spatial computing in enterprise."

Abovitz's departure comes after reports that the mysterious maker of augmented reality glasses was considering strategic options that include selling itself. The startup was working with an adviser to explore options such as forming a partnership or selling a stake in the company ahead of a potential listing, Bloomberg reported in March, citing unidentified sources.

Founded in 2011, Google-funded Magic Leap has spent $2.3 billion creating its AR glasses, and after years of skepticism that the startup might be building the world's best-funded vaporware, it finally released its headset in the fall of 2018.  The Magic Leap One glasses, which launched with a hefty price tag of $2,295, feature displays, audio and external camera sensors.

However, the company reportedly sold just 6,000 virtual reality headsets in the six months after launching the product -- far behind Abovitz's goal of selling 100,000 Magic Leap One devices in that period.

Abovitz's memo was reported on earlier by Business Insider.

See also: Use augmented reality to decorate your house with these apps

Watch this: Magic Leap meets 5G on the catwalk at London Fashion Week