When Lytro launched publicly in June 2011 and announced working on the first consumer light field camera, they had raised “approx. 50 million dollars” in venture capital1. Now, the company announced another 40 million dollars in capital, coming from new (North Bridge Venture Partners) and existing (e.g. Andreessen Horowitz, New Enterprise Associates and Greylock Partners) investors. Of course that’s great news for Lytro, but what does it mean for us?
Lytro CEO Jason Rosenthal said the money will “help fund a new generation of Lytro hardware”. This will not only result in “thinner, cheaper and lighter consumer products”, but allow the company to also step into the professional photography and motion picture markets:
“With the first generation of Lytro, there were just a lot of things to be figured out and understood and done,” Rosenthal said, adding that the company now has the technology more mature and the infrastructure and team in place to move more quickly. “What you should see from us is just a faster pace of innovation than we have been able to accomplish before.”
Rosenthal said the company wants to move in reasonably short order into professional photography, motion picture cameras and making its existing consumer products thinner, cheaper and lighter.
“We definitely won’t get to them all in 18 months, but we will get to more than one,” he said.
Regarding the consumer market, not much is known about the successor to Lytro’s first-generation camera, but according to unnamed sources, the product will be closer to a traditional camera:
The new product will look more like a traditional camera with a touch-screen display on the back, said a person with knowledge of its development, who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public.
[Rosenthal] wouldn’t comment on the new product’s design beyond saying, “it’s awesome.”