Pokémon Go maker Niantic raises massive $245M funding round, company value approaches $4B

(GeekWire Photo / Nat Levy)

Niantic, the Google spinout that made the smash hit game Pokémon Go, has raised $245 million to continue building out the engine that powers its growing suite of augmented reality games.

The round gives Niantic a valuation of roughly $4 billion, a little more than three years after spinning out from Google. The company has raised a total of $470 million in that time, per Crunchbase.

About a third of Niantic’s employees are based in a rapidly growing engineering office in Bellevue, Wash. The office has grown so fast that it has gone through five locations in the last couple of years and is doubling in size again.

The Pokémon Go craze took hold soon after the game’s release in 2016. And while the intensity around the game has cooled, the addition of the ability to become friends with other players and send gifts has got people playing together more than ever.

Next up for Niantic is a new game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. The company has kept it close to the vest with the new game, declining to reveal much detail other than a 2019 release timeframe.

Niantic’s Real World Platform powers its suite of games by mapping its augmented reality universes on top of the real world, focusing on real life points of interest. Pokémon Go’s capabilities built on the company’s first game Ingress, which pits two teams against one another in a global bid to capture and link together important points of interest.

The new Series C round was led by IVP, with additional strategic investment from aXiomatic Gaming, Battery Ventures, Causeway Media Partners, CRV, and Samsung Ventures. When it spun out as its own company, Niantic landed investments from Google, The Pokémon Co., and Nintendo. In 2017 it raised $200 million from Spark Capital, Founders Fund, Meritech, Javelin Venture Partners, You & Mr. Jones and NetEase, Inc.