Bengaluru: Blippar Inc., a company that makes augmented reality technology for brands as well as for consumers, said on Wednesday that it has raised $54 million from Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the Government of Malaysia, along with its existing investors.
UK-based Blippar had earlier raised $45 million from Qualcomm Ventures and undisclosed strategic investors, and plans to use the new round to fund the expansion of its engineering team in the US and in the education segment.
“Given the rapid increase in penetration of smartphones in India, and the optimistic approach of brands towards AR, India is an important market for Blippar and this new funding round will help to strengthen our operations in India, particularly for our initiatives in the education sector. We are working with over 65,000 schools and educational publishers around the world and we are seeing tremendous impact in clearly scientific measured terms. The most scarce resources for teachers is time. Therefore, to make it scalable, we are building an eco-system to support them and are working with educational publishers at the same time,” said Ambarish Mitra, chief executive officer, Blippar.
Blippar has 300 employees in 14 offices worldwide, with 30 of them in its New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru offices.
In India, it has worked with brands and publishers including PepsiCo, Amar Chitra Katha, Heineken, Pepsi, Bacardi, Kelloggs, Kings XI Punjab, Taj, Microsoft, Hero, Wipro and ITC, and worked on 50 campaigns in the past year.
Globally, Blippar claims to have worked with about 2,500 brands and 80,000 publishers.
Blippar is also planning to push its new app unveiled last year. The app lets users take pictures of objects on their smartphone and helps them discover information about the objects, like price, nutrition information, and where you can buy it nearby, an action the company terms “blipping”.
Last year, readers of the popular children’s magazine Tinklewere able to interact with the character Suppandi with the help of the app.
“There is a lot in store for Blippar in terms of consumer push and building our behaviour this year. I can’t reveal too much right now, but we are shifting a lot of our efforts in terms of marketing, product development and content to solidify this new behaviour,” said Mitra.