IPO Corner: Holograms On The Horizon

Picture this… you’re a huge MMA fan and it’s the night of the big fight. You and your buddies have agreed on which one of you will host the event and things are in full swing… there are games, the catering is perfect, refreshments are flowing, and you are all ready to get started. Then, the lights go down… and there, in the middle of the room, a scaled down version of the ring appears, along with holograms of your favorite MMA fighters. The room goes crazy, and you have hosted the perfect party.

This, dear readers, is a closer reality than you may think. And it’s all thanks to hologram technology… which, isn’t new. But, what is different this time, is that technology has finally caught up with our imaginations… and we can prove it. Just last month, for the first time ever, Proto hologram technology was used in a combat sports event to project Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao into a press conference and allow him to speak alongside opponent DK Yoo… just like if he were physically in the room.

Medicine Goes Meta (And So Do The Ads)

Sounds incredible, doesn’t it. I bet you can just picture it… we know we can. We can’t wait until that’s how sporting events go… talk about jolting the space! That would do it. But… holograms aren’t just for morphing our entertainment experiences, holograms are making waves in just about every space, with one of the most promising being medicine, where holograms can be used to treat patients while reducing harm, invasive procedures, possible misdiagnoses, and bring overall quality of life up substantially.

How? With a little something called medical holography, and doctors are using the technology to do groundbreaking things in the space. Holography can be used in ophthalmology, dentistry, urology, orthopedics, pathology, and many others. Holographs in medicine are extremely practical because they allow doctors to do things like make an exact replica of the patient and try therapies on that match using data points. This means medical trial and error is a lot less risky because tests can be carried out on this “digital twin”, and that’s good for everyone.

Holographs are also ushering in a new, exciting way to communicate for advertisers… think Back to the Future II here. Remember when Marty first saw the holographic advertisements and took them for real, well we can imagine you’ve already seen the holographic displays that are being put up in high traffic areas like Times Square and used in events such as the Beijing Olympics. So yeah… we’re finally living in that world, a world where holograms are part of our digital landscape.

Using 3D holographic displays to talk to customers is called neuromarketing, and it’s catching on. In a world where our attention spans are short and we’re overloaded with ads, holograms can help grab attention. It’s one way that a brand can take up literal space alongside users. Think interactive holograms for display cases (no more breaking the product) and hologram dressing rooms (say goodbye to wriggling your sweating torso out of a stiff shirt in a hot dressing room). Get the picture?

Deals To Watch

With so many possibilities with holograms… there are all kinds of different places you could look to find some indication of how growth in this space will look in the coming years. For instance, the holographic display market alone is expected to reach $11.65 billion by 2030. So, let’s jump into the companies we’re looking at in the IPO space today, MicroCloud Hologram Inc. and DigiLens, because both of these companies are attempting to put themselves on the map here.

MicroCloud Hologram Inc. (HOLO) is the result of Golden Path Acquisition Corporation’s combination with hologram technology company MC Hologram. In September, Golden Path announced the closing of a previously announced business combination, with MC surviving the merger to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Golden Path and shares trading on the Nasdaq.

It hasn’t gone well. The stock is down 77% since the deal closed. And yet the MC research team is focused on developing holographic technology for distribution globally, and provides holographic digital twin technology services, along with a holographic digital twin technology resource library. This business combination will allow for the ramp-up of business growth, R&D efforts, and the ability to more quickly and efficiently deliver and scale innovative designs and products to customers.

DigiLens is a leader in XR displays, which use their holographic waveguides, and they’ve managed to develop their own patented optical platform and photopolymer technology. XR displays are less a specific technology, and more of an umbrella term for all the “realities”, such as AR (augmented reality), VR (virtual reality), and MR (mixed or merged reality). As you can imagine, it’s a big space with lots of potential applications, so the technology is in demand.

The firm allows OEM partners (companies that manufactures products for another business) to design and build XR-enabled devices for spaces such as avionics, military, enterprise, consumer, and automobile, and the company is already known for its head-worn holographic displays. The Sunnyvale, California-based firm boasts investors such as Samsung, Diamond Edge Ventures, Optimas Capital Management, and many, many more. Earlier this year, they announced an additional round of Series D funding, which included a fresh $50 million, raising the firm’s valuation to over $530 million.

So, are you ready to visit your favorite dinner spot and choose your meal from a holographic touch screen, play interactive holographic video games, or go to the holographic spa? After all, researchers do know that so much of what we experience is a mere fancy of the imagination. Beyond that, in a world where touching things is becoming increasingly dangerous, could holograms offer us a safer, richer experience? We’ll see! Come back next week, see if either of these companies end up on our buy list, and stay tuned for more from the wild world of IPOs.