Investment firm and Unreal Engine creator become stakeholders in extended reality technology company; partnerships will accelerate growth, with focus on international expansion, continued innovation, and enhanced support and product offerings for its customers.
The Carlyle Group has become a majority stakeholder in disguise, a leading provider of extended reality (xR) technology. The new partnership will allow disguise to enter a new phase of growth development and continued innovation, consolidating the xR company’s position as a global platform for the creation and delivery of visual content at any scale and location.
Over the past five years, the company has experienced tremendous growth, becoming a leader in xR (extended reality) and a key player in virtual production for film and television. Combining its production software with powerful media server hardware, disguise empowers brands, artists, and organizations to tell stories with the platform; creative and technical professionals can imagine, create and deliver live visual experiences by combining real-time 3D visualization-based software with high performance hardware.
The deal calls for The Carlyle Group to take a majority stake in the company, with Epic Games taking a minority stake. Led by CEO Fernando Kufer, disguise employees will also retain a significant minority share, with founder Ash Nehru remaining the largest shareholder among them. Existing Private Equity partner Livingbridge will also reinvest in the transaction.
With extensive experience in media and technology, The Carlyle Group will leverage its global network and resources to support disguise’s continued growth in virtual production, xR, events, installations, and broadcast. Managing director and co-head of the Carlyle Europe Technology advisory team, Michael Wand will join the board of disguise. He was previously involved with investments with The Mill and Foundry and is currently a board member of other media tech businesses.
“The virtual production market is forecast to grow substantially, and we believe that disguise is uniquely placed to benefit from the accelerated demand for LED-based visual experiences and capture further market share,” commented Wand. “In partnering with the disguise management team, we will look to leverage our significant expertise in scaling media technology companies as we support the company to become a global leader.”
Epic Games’ new position enhances an already strong partnership between the two companies. Production companies and broadcasters are embracing the benefits of virtual production techniques, built on photorealistic real-time graphics engines such as Epic’s Unreal Engine, and LED infrastructure for immersing presenters and performers in virtual environments.
For disguise, the partnership with Carlyle will accelerate the company’s growth plan, focusing on international expansion, continued innovation, and enhanced support and product offerings for its customers.
“We’re proud of the journey that we have been on with our customers and are excited by what the future holds,” shared Kufer. “We’re delighted to work alongside Carlyle, who understand our vision for growth, in this next phase of the disguise story, and are excited to keep driving innovation in virtual production and xR stages with Epic. In partnering with Carlyle, the future is very bright for disguise, its customers, and its community.”