Blippar, which is one of Britain's most-hyped technology start-ups, is raising another round of funding that is of $37m (£28.2m) from investors even after having losses.
Sky News has learnt that the company, which creates augmented reality (AR) experiences for some of the largest firms which includes the Coca-Cola and Nestle, has secured commitments for the new funding in the last few weeks. The latest fundraising will take the total amount of capital raised by Blippar since its 2010 launch to more than $150m.
Sources said the company, which has drawn scepticism about a mooted $1bn-plus valuation, had lined up existing investors to fund a Series-E round through a combination of new cash and the conversion of loan notes. Blippar is run by Ambarish Mitra, its founder, who has described in grand terms the company's long-term objectives as a provider of AR and artificial intelligence-related products.
Speaking in 2015, he said it was “a pivotal time for the image-recognition industry”. “While the digital advertising and marketing communities have been quick to capitalise on the potential of our technology to engage audiences with branded experiences, we have barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential impact that our technology can bring to other industries, particularly education, healthcare and charities.
“This funding brings us closer to our ultimate goal of creating a new kind of cognitive behaviour, one that enables us to instantaneously access information and content directly from any of the physical objects or collateral in the world around us.”
Blippar's prominient shareholders include Qualcomm Ventures, the hedge fund Lansdowne Partners and Candy Ventures, the investment vehicle of the property investor Nick Candy. Accounts filed at Companies House show that Blippar made a loss of £34.4m in the last year up from a £24.2m loss reported for a 16-month period 12 months earlier. The company said the losses were the result of it “prioritising investment into cutting-edge technology over short-term profits”.
It added that it had discontinued operations in three countries as of now which includes the Japan, the Netherlands and Turkey as due to cost cutting.
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