Virtual Production Specialist DGene Raises $20M In Series A Funding Round Led By Alibaba

EXCLUSIVE: DGene, an emerging content creation company involved in virtual production and immersive entertainment, has raised a $20 million Series A funding round led by Alibaba.

The Chinese tech giant had also invested in the company in a prior phase before the Series A. DGene, which was founded in Shanghai, has staffed up in the U.S. and ramped up Hollywood activity of late, including opening a volumetric capture stage in Baton Rouge, LA. The 900-square-foot facility uses artificial intelligence to create holograms of humans and objects for use in AR, VR, holographic displays, mixed-reality glasses and framed video. Applications for volumetric video span entertainment, gaming, advertising, training, education and other sectors.

The influx of capital will fund studio operations as well as DGene’s suite of restoration tools that the company says can help revive film libraries in a cost-effective manner. The library effort is aimed at optimizing catalog film and TV titles for the streaming era.

“We like to define our AI technology as ‘assisted’ intelligence because it builds upon and
enhances creations that only humans can make, saving time and money while delivering a level of quality unmatched by other tools,” said Helena Packer, SVP and GM of DGene U.S. “Whether you’re restoring a film to stream in high definition or replicating
an entire city to build upon in the metaverse, collaborating with DGene opens a world of
possibilities.”

DGene last month announced a teaming with producer Jeff Apple, using the company’s technology to revive real-life characters from the past in an episodic series called Secret Agent. Apple’s credits include In the Line of Fire.

The co-founders of DGene are computer science experts Jingyi Yu, Jason Yang and Yi Ma. The company is positioning itself for the exploration of the metaverse, a push highlighted last week by Facebook’s changing of its corporate name to Meta.

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