Poplar raises $2.1m for AR expansion

Poplar has closed a $2.1 million investment led by Fuel Ventures, to help realise its ambition to become the world’s leading augmented reality (AR) creative platform.

The startup has now raised $2.9 million in total funding as it looks to grow the business and further develop its technology.

This seed round, which also included investment from Haatch Ventures, Ascension Ventures and Super Ventures, will help Poplar deliver on-demand creation of premium AR and 3D experiences to accommodate the growing demand for branded AR campaigns.

Since the Coronavirus lockdown in March, AR engagement has spiked by 19 per cent - according to Poplar - as consumers turn to social, web and mobile for alternative ways to engage with retailers.

Built out of the Founders Factory studio, Poplar claims to increase brand awareness by up to 70 per cent and command conversion rates of up to 80 per cent. With this new funding, it plans to expand internationally and grow the platform.

The platform automatically assembles teams of certified and trusted AR and 3D creators to build premium immersive digital experiences - such as at home virtual try-ons, branded face filters and product visualisation - for retail, fashion and beauty, entertainment, food and drink, and gaming brands.

The platform has more than 1,600 certified 3D/AR content creators who have delivered more than 120 campaigns for the likes of Speedo, Universal Music, L’Oréal, Disney, Jack Daniels and Nestlé.

Poplar is also one of TikTok’s first technology partners for AR branded effects creation, as well as a partner for Google’s 3D display advertising format Swirl.

Co-founder and chief executive David Ripert commented: “With COVID-19 dominating our lives, brands are turning more to digital and social channels to reach consumers in new, immersive ways.

"Augmented reality is central to that and success will be determined by the quality of the experience - we are growing our platform to bring the very best AR creators together to quickly deliver premium campaigns, without the huge price tag," he continued, adding: "With 75 per cent of consumers expecting retailers to offer an AR experience and 11 times more likely to make a purchase when AR is available, retail is definitely leading the way in terms of adoption.”

Mark Pearson, founder and managing partner at Fuel Ventures, added: “Augmented reality has been on the rise but now, as a result of the pandemic lockdown, is its time to shine.

"I believe it represents the future of commerce – from being able to see a car in 3D without being in a showroom to trying on clothes in virtual changing rooms.”

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