Bengaluru: Cricketer Chris Gayle has picked up a minority stake in augmented reality (AR) start-up FlippAR, the company’s founder Vivek M. Jain said in an interview. Gayle will join the Bengaluru-based start-up’s board and promote its products as brand ambassador. Gayle’s investment in the company comes just months after he invested an undisclosed amount in another Bengaluru-based AR start-up named IONA.
Jain declined to comment on the size of the investment.
The money from the stake sale will be used to acquire new customers and for product development. “We will focus on user acquisition and retention as our lead KPI (Key Performance Indicator) and not revenue targets," Jain said.
The company also plans to expand into the West Indies tourism market in the next year. Its main targets are millennials and users aged between 17 and 24 years.
FlippAR has a mobile app for iOS and Android platforms and claims to have 14,000 users. Taking inspiration from AR games like Pokemon Go, the app allows users to tag a location, building, cafes, restaurants, etc. and save images/videos as ‘Stories’. When ‘Stories’ are shared with the public list, other users will be able to see the images when they point their phone screen at the location. Apart from this, the start-up also has ‘experiences’ set up in different locations around Cubbon Park, M.G. Road and Lalbagh in Bengaluru. These locations are mostly historical monuments; users can unlock important details and publicly shared images by pointing their phone screens at the monument.
“On the B2B side, we help companies with brand engagement, and most of our solutions are deployed with businesses. But we also expect the consumer AR segment to increase massively in the coming years," Jain added. A user walking into a store and scanning products to fetch details, nutrition information, etc. using FlippAR app is one use case on the B2B side.
The company was founded in late 2015 and has clients like Thomson Reuters, Amnesty International, Bangalore Comicon, NGMA Art Gallery, DNA Networks, among others.
Bigger companies like Facebook, Google, and Apple already have their own AR and VR platforms. Start-ups like FlippAR will look at integrating APIs and other developer plug-ins into their products once the bigger companies open source their software. While most of FlippAR’s features are developed by the company, Jain did point out that the app uses licensed software libraries from third parties.
FlippAR competes with other start-ups like Tesseract Inc, Merxius, Imaginate, ShilpMIS among others in India.