Dubin start-up Von Bismark, which uses augmented reality to spice up the high-street shopping experience, has raised a €350,000 investment from private investors and Enterprise Ireland. The investment will lead to six new jobs at the company.
A graduate of the NDRC LaunchPad 4 programme, the company’s Wardrobe technology uses live motion capture and allows consumers to control the interface from a number of metres away using only their hands. Utilising augmented reality, users can then try on virtual outfits, take pictures and share content within seconds.
To date, Wardrobe has been used as a marketing and sales tool for retailers and advertisers, with more than 200,000 people in Ireland having interacted with the Wardrobe since launch.
“This investment will allow us to really push on with the roll out of our technology and mature from a marketing and point-of-sale engagement tool to a full in-store e-commerce ecosystem for high-street retailers,” said Von Bismark founder and CEO Eoghan O’Sullivan.
“We’ve built real momentum with our technology since the start of 2013 and had success attracting clients like Vodafone, UPC and AIB, as well as solidifying long-term strategic partnerships with Microsoft, CBS Outdoor, Box Technologies and payment processing giants Datacash. All of this means we’re in a really great place going into the start of 2014.”
Kinect-ing with the consumer
The investment will see Von Bismark create six new positions over the next 12 months, mainly in development and account management. It will also allow the company to port all of its services onto the cloud and build a hybrid system for in-store e-commerce that will merge its existing Microsoft Kinect-based motion capture and facial recognition capabilities with touchscreen and transactional processes.
“We really believe that the high street is going to undergo a fundamental change over the next few years, with Deloitte predicting that retailers will have to shrink their store portfolios by 30-40pc over the next three to five years.
“Their cost bases are too high and having to stock their entire inventory all of the time is absolutely killing their bottom line. We aim to revolutionise the sector by bringing e-commerce in store. We will personalise the consumer’s experience, speed it up and allow them to access more inventory, while reducing the retailers staffing, security, shipping and mark-down costs.”
Von Bismark has launched its new platform for in store e-commerce on 19 September in the Millbank Tower, London, with their partners Datacash.
The company has also signed up its first client for the platform and will be launching a fully digital cyber store for clothing in a major Dublin shopping centre in February 2014.