Different times ahead for London-based AR rockstar company Blippar. The company that has gone through all stages of stardom and struggle is selling its intellectual property in hope of starting anew. The name and intellectual assets will be sold to Candy Ventures investment fund, Blippar investor, with the company trying to reinvent itself as Blippar AR magnate of old with much of the old crew on deck.
The case of Blippar is a curious one. The company that is rightly regarded as one of the earliest pioneers in Augmented Reality has seen some rough times recently. In what is only a couple of years Blippar went from $1 billion bombshell of a company to filing for insolvency procedure last month. Reasons aplenty, it is still puzzling just how did the downfall of this magnitude happen. Nevertheless, Blippar is on a path towards rising from the ashes under the same celebrated name on a mission to ‘unify and standardize AR formats’. The newfound mission includes creating something like ‘AR WordPress’ – a free and easy to use third party platform for creating Augmented Reality experiences.
Remedying the mistakes of old, the new Blippar AR firm will focus on a single thing – to develop an easy-to-use AR platform based on their 2016 Blippbuilder. For this, the company will need the old crew of core engineers back in spite of insolvency procedures. And many of them will be there, including the company cofounder and CEO Ambarish Mitra who was open for the public, explaining that ‘we will bring all of the invaluable R&D, technology capabilities, and key learnings gained from the past eight years and invest this in what we believe to be our most powerful asset’.
Blippar selling its intellectual assets is writing a new chapter in the story of the ‘Unicorn’ status firm. The story started back in the early days of Android and iOS. Blippar was dabbling into Augmented Reality for ad purposes even then. It is Blippar really that came up with point-phone-and play-games ad campaign. Anyway, Blippar did not settle of AR alone, they tried their hand at nearly every advanced technological achievement of note. This includes VR (Cardio VR), Artificial Intelligence, machine learning, etc. One could argue that the jack of all trades approach was what ultimately brought the empire of Blippar down.
‘It was a devastating disappointment’, Mitra recalls, ‘when Blippar was forced into administration at the end of last year’. ‘But today’s new is a hugely positive outcome’. The problem with Blippar was that there was hardly a market for its gimmicks, even though these were much ahead of its time. Blippar AR focus seeks to avoid many mistakes that resulted in near termination of all Blippar endeavors.
We are witnessing a regroup of much the same fashion as when Nokia found its new bearings. The promise of Blippar AR platform is enough to give the new company hope, while the crew is there to provide some needed credentials. We are waiting for that press release to reveal more detail on the transition.