Blippar to relaunch as assets snapped up
Friday, February 1, 2019
Augmented reality start-up Blippar is set to relaunch after its assets were bought by property tycoon Nick Candy’s investment firm Candy Ventures.
Blippar fell into administration last month following a dispute over additional funding. Candy Ventures had been one of Blippar’s major backers, alongside Qualcomm Ventures and Malaysian government fund Khazanah Nasional, which had reportedly blocked Blippar’s access to the emergency investment it required from Candy.
Blippar’s operations have been deployed into a new business – Blippar Group Limited, Blippar AR Limited and Blippar Limited were all registered on Companies House between 23 and 25 January.
The business will continue to trade as Blippar and will be headed up by Blippar co-founder Ambarish Mitra.
It will also employ “many of Blippar’s original key engineers,” according to a statement from Candy Ventures, which added its product offering will focus primarily on developing an augmented reality creation and publishing platform called Blippbuilder “which will make it easy for everybody to create augmented reality”.
“The augmented reality market is growing exponentially and Blippar was an early innovator and leader in this space,” said a Candy Ventures spokesperson.
“Rish and the team built a great business, which had to adapt to the challenges of a constantly evolving industry. With the right application of its powerful AR technology, there is huge potential for the new company to drive innovation in AR and position itself at the forefront of the industry.”
Founded by Mitra and Omar Tayeb in 2011, Blippar was a so-called ‘unicorn’ – start-ups valued at $1bn (£765m) or more.
But it had struggled to monetise its product and generate recurring revenue and in its most recently filed accounts, for the year ended 31 March 2017, the company had reported a pre-tax loss of £34.5m, on sales of £5.7m. While 261 staff worked at the company when these accounts were filed, it is thought that this number had fallen to around 75 at the time of its administration.
Blippar’s technology has been used in a number of high-profile cross-media campaigns and promotions, including the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
In 2017 the business suffered reputational damage after it emerged Mitra’s CV included false claims.