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Secretive AR startup LivingCities shuts down

Key employees left in September

LivingCities, the augmented reality startup co-founded by 6D.ai founder Matt Miesnieks, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley and VFX pioneer John Gaeta, has been dissolved. Miesnieks announced the closure on Twitter Sunday, writing that “we can't find a viable path forward for the vision we set out to pursue.”

LivingCities incorporated in 2021, and came out of stealth in June of 2022 by announcing that it had raised $4 million to build a kind of physical metaverse. LivingCities was all about “connecting real places to digital-twins, bringing life to the mirror world,” Miesnieks wrote at the time. “What this will look like is a consumer experience, ultimately delivered over open web3 protocols as a 3D space, where the virtual world looks & feels like a real place and is aligned with that place.”

More recently, the startup said it was “creating an app that lets people scan indoor spaces (think: kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, offices) and play them.” What that actually meant was never quite clear, including within the company.

“We made the decision when we founded the company to build a consumer product, and not go into developing deep-tech (AI & CV algorithms etc). Every dead-end path we went down led us to believe that the most viable path was to be a small studio building a (mixed reality) game,” Miesnieks wrote Sunday. “This isn't who we were as a team, we know we wouldn't be great at building games, and with a very tough fundraising environment we were not going to be able (to) raise a large round on top of what we'd already raised.”

It appears that the company actually shut down well before this week’s closure notice: Crowley and other key members of the LivingCities team indicate on LinkedIn that they left LivingCities in September; Gaeta had departed in May of 2022 to become the Chief Creative Officer of Inworld AI.

This article was first published as part of Lowpass, a weekly newsletter about AR, VR, streaming and more. Sign up now for free.

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Image courtesy of Livingcities.


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