XR tech developer disguise attracts investment from The Carlyle Group and Epic Games

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Fernando Kufer, chief executive officer of disguise, says the company is ‘looking forward to further consolidating our position as the global “platform of platforms” for the creation and delivery of content at any scale and location’

Quick read

➨ Disguise is a major supplier of XR and virtual production technology to entertainment providers, film and TV studios, broadcasters, corporates, and fixed installation companies globally
➨ Carlyle plans to give disguise access to its large portfolio of corporate businesses, as well as its relationships with key content providers
➨ Epic Games took a minority stake in disguise as part of the Carlyle transaction after developing a strong partnership with the company

The story

Investment firm The Carlyle Group has acquired a majority stake in disguise, the UK-headquartered developer of XR technology for live visual experiences, with Epic Games joining the transaction.

Disguise is a major supplier of XR and virtual production technology to entertainment providers, film and TV studios, broadcasters, corporates, and fixed installation companies globally.

The company combines real-time 3D visualisation-based software with high performance hardware to spearhead immersive content delivery.

Projects such as the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards and Eurosport’s US Open coverage, as well as live performances from artists including Billie Eilish and Katy Perry and in-game concerts such as J.Balvin in Fortnite, all involved disguise technology.

This significant player in XR technology and virtual productions, which has also supported corporate presentations from Siemens and SAP, has built more than 150 stages in more than 35 countries and powered over 200 shows.

Carlyle, whose investments in media technology companies include The Mill and Foundry, believes disguise’s customer base is ripe for expansion, by giving the company access to its large portfolio of corporate businesses, as well as its relationships with key content providers.

Disguise is also set to expand its software offering and undertake further geographic expansion, according to Carlyle, whose €1.35 billion Carlyle Europe Technology Partners (CETP) IV fund provided the equity for the investment.

The company has also attracted investment from Unreal Engine developer Epic Games.

Epic Games took a minority stake in disguise as part of the Carlyle transaction after developing a strong partnership with the company and seeing production houses and broadcasters embrace the benefits of virtual production techniques, built on photorealistic real-time graphics engines such as Unreal Engine, and LED infrastructure for immersing presenters and performers in virtual environments.

‘Platform of platforms’

Fernando Kufer, chief executive officer of disguise, says the company is “looking forward to further consolidating our position as the global ‘platform of platforms’ for the creation and delivery of content at any scale and location”.

“We see huge potential for growth based on our leading technology platform and unique service offering. We are delighted to have the full support of The Carlyle Group, a firm with a strong track record of growing technology businesses, as we take disguise into the next chapter of its growth journey.”

Michael Wand, managing director and co-head of the CETP advisory team, says: “Given our history of investing in media technology, we are truly excited to partner with disguise—a player at the cutting edge of virtual media production. disguise has a world-class offering and a growing and impressive list of high-profile clients.”

Wand says the virtual production market is “forecast to grow substantially”, and “we believe the company [disguise] is uniquely placed to benefit from the accelerated demand for LED-based visual experiences and capture further market share”.

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Images: disguise. Main: ‘Katy Perry Performance On American Idol Finale’

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