UK Start-Up Secures $3.4M To Bring AR To Retail Stores


Dent Reality, a London-based start-up behind a pioneering AR platform, has raised £2.5m ($3.4m) in funding to expand its pioneering work across the retail sector.

The funding round was led by Europe’s most active proptech VC, Pi Labs, with participation from Silicon Valley-based commerce experts Sugar Capital and deep tech specialists 7Percent Ventures – one of the first backers of Oculus VR – alongside several notable angel investors.

With the funding, the company plans to invest in its own teams and services to accelerate the rate at which they bring businesses into the metaverse. The team will expand to new stores and retailers, and open up the platform to new markets.

The Dent Reality team has been working with Marks & Spencer, a major UK retailer, to run tests of the technology at its Westfield London store in White City. A custom app built by Dent Reality helps shoppers find every item on their list, with real-time guidance and information to supercharge their experience.

The same technology could be extensive, and in the future could be applied to campuses, airports, shopping centers, and museums, for example. Dent Reality’s claims to have a waiting list that includes hundreds of large organizations across a diverse range of different sectors.

Dent Reality’s technology is an all-in-one platform that provides an accurate indoor positioning system, a digital map, and a seamless user experience that uses AR for frictionless navigation. Its mapping technology can quickly map a space and keep it up to date with useful information, such as where grocery items are located in a supermarket, and provides AR prompts for in-store navigation via a mobile app.

Some really exciting AR news – we @DentReality have raised $3.4m to build the digital layer for the physical world!

Here’s a demo of what we’ve built so far… pic.twitter.com/abTReqm6aE

— Andrew Hart (@AndrewHartAR) November 23, 2021

All of these technologies operate within a complex environment where there may be 40,000 items in a typical location and thousands of locations per retailer. For example, typing gluten-free bread into an integrated app would show the directions towards the item. Combined, it enriches the shopping experience of visitors by blending digital technologies with real-world applications, providing useful contextual information with seamless delivery.

The investment comes at a time when companies like Meta, Niantic, and Microsoft are making huge announcements about their own visions and investments for the metaverse. Despite these big tech announcements; in recent years there’s been a lack of venture deals for startups focused on finding opportunities in augmented reality – arguably due to major spoils with organizations like Magic Leap over-promising quality beyond the current technology capabilities. However smaller startups like Dent Reality are still finding inroads that appeal to investors.

Dent Reality believes that the metaverse will not be a separate virtual world, but an integrated reality where the virtual and real blend together, providing contextual information that enriches real-world interactions.

Feature Image Credit: Dent Reality

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