Start-up raises £201k to reinvent the shopping mall experience on Xbox

5 Aug 2015

The shopping mall experience as we know it is about to be reinvented on the Xbox One this Autumn thanks to Irish start-up Von Bismark

Microsoft Ventures-backed TV commerce player Von Bismark has raised £201,000 on CrowdBnk to drive its e-commerce shopping experience called The Mall, which will launch on Xbox One this Autumn.

The company exceeded its target of £199,879.92 on Crowdbnk with 56 days to go for 8.1pc of the company.

Von Bismark originally drew upon Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect 3D, and its skeletal tracking technology to create virtual wardrobes and mirrors for shoppers is already backed by Microsoft Ventures and Enterprise Ireland.

Last year, in a world first, the company secured a deal with Microsoft to build and publish a marketplace that allows retailers to sell their inventory to the 13m Xbox One users worldwide.

Von Bismark, a previous Start-up of the Week, was established three years ago by serial entrepreneur Eoghan O’Sullivan from Cork and is headquartered in London with offices in Dublin.

Bringing e-commerce to the TV via the Xbox


Von Bismark’s virtual mirror technology in action in Dublin. Now the technology is going to power mall experiences on TVs via the Xbox One.

The Mall on Xbox One also helps Microsoft expand further into the realm of interactive TV and retail, stated goals since the launch of the console.

O’Sullivan explained that so far almost half a million customers have used Von Bismark’s virtual wardrobe in shopping centres across the UK and Ireland.

“This funding allows us to capitalise on the growing trend of interactive TV,” O’Sullivan said.

“With almost 200m connected TVs in the US and e-commerce growing 16pc year-on-year in the lifestyle and fashion verticals we are going to be able to establish ourselves as the dominant solution over the next few years, as we sign more and more retailers to our platform.”


Von Bismark’s virtual mirror technology will appear in living rooms all over the world this autumn to pioneer TV-based mall shopping via the Xbox One

Microsoft Ventures’ Andy McCartney described Von Bismark as one of the hottest start-ups to emerge from Microsoft Ventures in the past year.

“We love their idea of bringing e-commerce to the TV so much that we’ve backed them with a global deal to launch The Mall on Xbox One.

“The Mall expands our reach into interactive entertainment by creating an e-commerce store that brands can channel their products directly through. More importantly it gives existing and new users a totally new and better way to shop by using everything from voice search to virtual try-on,” McCartney said.


Eoghan O’Sullivan, founder, Von Bismark

Shopping mall in Singapore image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years