It turns out that coming up groundbreaking technology and raising billions may actually be the easy part for Magic Leap, as a new report has revealed yet another legal entanglement at the Florida-based company.
In an article posted late on March 2, Business Insider claims to have seen a police report filed by Magic Leap naming an employee and an outside recruiting firm. The report is said to include claims that $1 million was stolen from Magic Leap over the course of nearly two years, and names Magic Leap's Cheryl Martin, a senior manager of human resources and talent acquisition at the company, and an outside company called The Hampton Group. Although the report claims that Magic Leap wants to press charges, it's unclear who, exactly, the charges would be filed against.
More specifically, the report states that Magic Leap believes it paid more than $1 million to the Hampton Group, with Martin's help in terms of invoicing. According to Magic Leap, of the 39 employees hired between 2015 and 2017, supposedly via the Hampton Group, an internal investigation revealed no involvement from the Hampton Group regarding those hires.
So now, if Magic Leap's claims are accurate, the question is: Where's the money?
According to the Business Insider, the police report was filed in Oct. 2017 with the Plantation, Florida police. However, a quick look a Martin's LinkedIn page shows that she still lists herself as working at Magic Leap. In relation to the allegations made by Magic Leap, Business Insider managed to get a "declined to comment" from Martin through a spokesperson. When Next Reality contacted Magic Leap, specifically asking about the overall report, as well as Martin's current employment status, a company spokesperson responded with, "Magic Leap has no comment to share at this time."
As for the Hampton Group, a representative from that firm also declined to comment when questioned by Business Insider.
What does all this have to do with the future of augmented reality? Technologically, not much. But it's just another in a long string of staff shakeups and unusual internal incidents that point to what may be an overall management problem at Magic Leap. Simply put, coming up with great ideas and getting funding for those ideas can be very tough, but executing the tricky business of managing people can sometimes be a lot tougher.
If Magic Leap is having this much trouble with the basics, at its highest executive levels, there's at least "some" reason to be concerned about its overall ability to execute on what may be the most ambitious and best-funded augmented reality startup in history.
Aside from all the other dealings at the company, Magic Leap is slated to release its Magic Leap One: Creator Edition some time this year.
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