U.K. Startup Blippar Considers New Funding After Fresh Losses

  • London-based company counts McDonald’s and Disney as clients
  • Blippar hoping to raise new funds over the next few months

U.K. startup Blippar.com Ltd reported a widening loss in its latest results, and said it would need to raise new capital in its bid to become a major force in augmented reality.

The London-based advertising and artificial intelligence company, which counts McDonald’s Corp. and Walt Disney Co. as clients, closed its office in Amsterdam in July 2016, and cut back staff in Japan in early January, following a review of the business’s resources.

Blippar posted a loss of 25.8 million pounds ($31.3 million) for the 16 months to March 31, 2016, up from losses of 5 million pounds for a slightly shorter period of 12 months to Nov. 30, 2014, according to accounts filed Wednesday at British business registry Companies House.

The widening losses were due to increased investment in growth and R&D, according to an e-mailed statement from Blippar Chief Operating Officer Danny Lopez.

While losses increased, revenue almost doubled over the same time period, up 86 percent to 8.5 million pounds.

Blippar, which reportedly rebuffed a $1.5 billion takeover from a U.S. investor in 2014, has created an app that allows smartphones to recognize everyday objects. With this technology, it has helped create smartphone advertising campaigns for the likes of Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Blippar raised $54 million in a funding round in March 2016, led by the investment arm of the Government of Malaysia. Other backers include Qualcomm Inc. and hedge fund Lansdowne Partners U.K. Further funds are expected to be raised over the next year.

The accounts, filed on a going concern basis, said that Blippar’s internal growth rates in revenue and active users are based “alongside the requirement for another round of funding within the next 12 months.”

A spokeswoman from Blippar declined to comment on the size or timing of any future capital raise.

Augmented reality is increasingly being embraced by some of the world’s largest companies. Google announced last week two new retail partnerships, with BMW and Gap Inc., aimed at allowing shoppers see what they might want to buy without leaving home.

Blippar recently partnered with over 100 shops in Covent Garden, a major shopping district in central London, allowing shoppers access to offers and events by overlaying digital images via users’ mobile devices, similar to the hit mobile game Pokemon Go.

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