Blippar falls into administration

By Richard Stuart-Turner, Wednesday 19 December 2018

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Augmented reality start-up Blippar has entered into administration following a dispute over additional funding.

blippar-ambarish-mitra

Ambarish Mitra co-founded Blippar in 2011. Image: Blippar

Paul Appleton and Paul Cooper of David Rubin & Partners were appointed as joint administrators of the London-based business on Monday (17 December).

In a statement on its website, Blippar said: “Over the last several months, the whole team at Blippar has worked hard to focus the business on our B2B offering in order to reach profitability and deliver long-term value to shareholders.

“This strategy had been approved unanimously by our board and required a small amount of funding, in addition to the funding announced in September, to fulfil our plans. That funding was secured, but it ultimately required shareholders’ approval for Blippar to access it.

“Regrettably, one shareholder voted against the additional funding, effectively blocking the investment even if they were not asked to participate in any further financing of the business, and despite our extensive efforts to reach a successful resolution.”

Blippar said the administrators will be expected to find a buyer for all or parts of the business.

Joint administrator Appleton said: "The appointment of administrators has arisen effectively as a result of an alleged dispute over continued funding.

"Following their appointment, the administrators are now exploring all possible options for the future for the business for the benefit of all stakeholders."

The company’s investors included Malaysian government fund Khazanah Nasional – the major backer that had reportedly blocked Blippar’s access to the additional funding, Qualcomm Ventures and Nick Candy’s Candy Ventures.

This Is Money has reported that Candy has emerged as a potential buyer for the business, though he did not comment on the speculation.

In its most recently filed accounts, for the year ended 31 March 2017, Blippar 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 said its services are “likely to come to halt once the administrators take control of the business and its servers”, and that all employees will be let go as part of the administration process.

A so-called ‘unicorn’ – start-ups valued at $1bn (£791m) or more – Blippar was founded by Ambarish Mitra and Omar Tayeb in 2011.

Its technology has been used in a number of high-profile cross-media campaigns and promotions, including the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Last year the business suffered reputational damage after it emerged Mitra’s CV included false claims.

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