Blippar is a visual discovery app, using augmented reality and machine learning to bring the physical world to life through smartphones and wearables. Once the Blippar app is downloaded, people can blipp ("scan") objects they’re curious about and unlock content.
Since launching in the U.K. in 2011, Blippar has partnered with brands and media owners in the world, including Condé Nast, TIME Inc., Unilever, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Nestlé, Heinz, Coca-Cola, Anheuser Busch, L'Oréal, and Jaguar. Blippar has been recognised as one of the fastest growing companies by CNN, CNBC, Forbes and FastCompany.
In June 2014 Blippar acquired Dutch AR player Layar, based in Amsterdam, forming the world's largest AR userbase. The company is currently considered a "unicorn," having a valuation of over $1 billion.
Blippar was ranked Number 9 on CNBC's Top Disruptor List. In January 2016, Blippar was additionally named on Bloomberg's list of top UK Business Innovators and recognised by Business Insider as one of the most innovative companies in tech.
In 2016 Blippar CEO was named UK Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young
2011-2012: Founding and Launch
Blippar was founded in the U.K. in 2011 by Ambarish Mitra (Chief Executive Officer), Omar Tayeb (Chief Technology Officer), Steve Spencer (Chief Experience Officer) and Jessica Butcher (Director). The firm's first U.S. offices opened in New York one year later.
2013: SaaS tool Blippbuilder Launch, and International Expansion
The company launched Blippbuilder, a web-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tool that allows businesses to create their own AR content in September.
Expanding its efforts, Blippar, opened its first Asian office in Delhi, India in February, followed by an Istanbul office.
2014: Google Glass Developments & Layar Acquisition
During the time of Google Glass, Blippar demonstrated their technology on the wearable device in March. This was the first instance of image recognition on the platform at the time. Later on, Blippar introduced games for Glass using image recognition, AR and gesture recognition. In November 2014, the company partnered with Jaguar to launch a multi-platform campaign on both mobile and Google Glass.
In June, Blippar announced that it had acquired Amsterdam-based AR pioneer Layar for an undisclosed amount. At the time, the combined companies totalled 50 million mobile app users, as well as "5,000 brands and publishers and over 100,000 self-publishing partners" in over 175 countries.
2015-Present Day: Visual Search Launch and Acquisitions
In 2015, The firm announced it had raised $45 million in funding from undisclosed investors.
In March 2015, the company unveiled plans to include new "visual search" capabilities in its app, which will allow users to perform a search for information about an object by pointing their mobile device at the object. An early proof-of-concept was shown to work on apples, dogs and cars. The company announced plans to make all American sports logos, English-language music album covers, fiction book covers, DVD cases and movie posters "blippable" by April, 2015.
In May 2015, Blippar was ranked Number 19 on CNBC's Top Disrupter List.
In June 2015, Blippar invested in smart specs company WaveOptics. WaveOptics is developing low-energy lenses that provide a live display for the wearer but can be fitted into ordinary spectacles frames. In October 2015, Blippar's R&D lab launched an educational virtual reality app for Google Cardboard. On October 29, 2015 Blippar announced its acquisition of Binocular, an AR and VR app maker with a focus on Virtual Try-On.
In January 2016, Blippar was named on Bloomberg's list of top UK Business Innovators and recognised by Business Insider as one of the most innovative companies in tech.
In March, Blippar announced their Series D Funding Round of $54m, led by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the Government of Malaysia. . The Financial Times named the company one of the best-funded UK start-ups.
Awards and recognition
- 2016 CNBC Disruptor 50
- Fast Company's Most Innovative Company: Augmented Reality
- 2015 CNBC Disruptor 50
- Bloomberg's Top UK Business Innovators
- The 21 most innovative startups by Business Insider
- The Innovative App Award – MEFFYS 2014
- Top Mobile Innovator – Mobile Entertainment 2014
- Bully Award 2014 – Longhorn
- Bully Award 2013 – Young Bull
- GREAT Tech Award 2013 – Advisors Choice Award
- Most Innovative Mobile Tech Award – MWC 2012
- LeWeb Award 2012
- DBA Design Effectiveness Award: JuiceBurst & Blippar (Gold)
- CIM Marketing Excellence Awards 2016: Camelot Christmas Augmented Reality Scratchcards - Finalist
- EMA - Summit Emerging Media Award 2015: Blippar & BGM & Energy Quest - Innovator Award