The startup that built an augmented reality headset into a helmet has a new CEO

There’s been a leadership change at one of the most prominent companies building an augmented reality headset.

Daqri’s founder and CEO, Brian Mullins, will step down, according to an announcement from the company on Tuesday.

DaqriRoy Ashok, Daqri’s new CEO.

He’ll be replaced by Roy Ashok, who was previously Daqri’s chief product officer and a director at Qualcomm.

Mullins will advise Daqri and will still have a board seat.

Daqri makes hardware and software that overlays the digital world and the physical world, a hot technology referred to as augmented reality.
Its offices are tucked away in downtown Los Angeles, on a floor that used to be the set of “Mad Men.”

The company sells to enterprises a helmet-based AR headset called Smart Helmet, a slimmed down pair of AR glasses called Smart Glasses, making it a direct competitor to Microsoft’s Hololens. It also makes a gadget for cars that visually overlays information like speed and directions on the windshield called Smart HUD.

Daqri says its Smart Glasses will ship later this month. Its helmet retails for $US15,000, including customer service.

Brian MullinsDaqriBrian Mullins, Daqri’s founder and former CEO.

The startup raised $US290 million over the summer in a round of private equity financing, according to Crunchbase. A person with knowledge of the matter told Business Insider in February that Daqri raised “in excess of $US200 million.”

Augmented reality is a quickly-growing field of technology that many technologists believe could be a massive market, especially if smart glasses replace the smartphone.

But now that giants such as Apple and Facebook are said to have their eyes on the technology, companies that build headsets will need to streamline their businesses and focus on their strengths.

Ashok previously consolidated Daqri’s engineering and design efforts, according to the announcement. “As the company transitions from its development phase to a global and scalable market leader in professional grade AR, Roy Ashok is the absolute right choice to take the helm and capture the huge opportunities ahead,” Mullins said in a statement.

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