May 29, 2020 – UK-based augmented reality startup, Poplar, has announced that it has closed a USD $2.1 million investment, led by Fuel Ventures, to push its ambition to become a world leading AR creative platform. The venture has now raised USD $2.9 million in total funding as it looks to grow the business and further develop its tech.
This latest seed round, which included other investors Haatch Ventures, Ascension Ventures and Super Ventures, will help Poplar deliver on-demand creation of AR and 3D experiences to accommodate the growing demand for branded AR campaigns, and will also aid the company’s plans to expand internationally.
Poplar acts as a bridge between retail brands and social platforms or mobile browser campaigns, and its platform automatically assembles teams of certified and trusted AR and 3D creators to build premium immersive digital experiences. These can include at home virtual try-ons, branded face filters, product visualisation and other interactive AR experiences – for retail, fashion & beauty, entertainment, food & drink and gaming brands. The company states that its platform has 1,600+ certified 3D/AR content creators who have delivered more than 120 campaigns for the likes of Speedo, Universal Music, L’Oréal, Disney, Jack Daniels, Nestlé and more.
Poplar’s expertise and collaborative community means it is one of TikTok’s first technology partners for AR Branded effects creation, as well as a Trusted Partner for Google’s 3D display advertising format, Swirl. A 3D Google Swirl ad was recently produced through Poplar’s platform for the promotion of MG Motors’ new compact SUV, which the company states resulted in eight times more engagement than standard rich media format and 4,600 engaged hours.
David Ripert, Co-founder and CEO of Poplar said: “With Covid-19 dominating our lives, brands are turning more to digital and social channels to reach consumers in new, immersive ways. Augmented reality is central to that and success will be determined by the quality of the experience. We are growing our platform to bring the very best AR creators together to quickly deliver premium campaigns, without the huge price tag. With 75% of consumers expecting retailers to offer an AR experience and 11 times more likely to make a purchase when AR is available, retail is definitely leading the way in terms of adoption. We expect more industries will follow suit, particularly with the challenges that social isolation is posing to every industry.”
Mark Pearson, Founder and Managing Partner at Fuel Ventures added: “Augmented reality has been on the rise but now, as a result of the pandemic lockdown, is its time to shine. I believe it represents the future of commerce – from being able to see a car in 3D without being in a showroom to trying on clothes in virtual changing rooms. Poplar sees the future of content creation in this medium and I am excited we are on board to help Poplar’s journey to making AR technology more accessible, as the technology grows further in popularity.”
Poplar states that the proliferation of AR across social platforms such as Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, as well as mobile browsers such as Chrome and Safari, has been steadily on the rise, and the technology’s dominance alongside emerging 3D tech is set to grow further.
According to Poplar, based on its 2018-2020 platform data, “while Snapchat reigns supreme, Instagram has become the go-to platform for branded AR experiences.” The company also found that Facebook made up 25% of all experiences while app-based AR added up to 7%. WebAR experiences have also proven popular thanks to its lower barrier of entry for end-users, making up 18% of all effects created through the Poplar platform.
For more information, visit https://poplar.studio/.
Image credit: Poplar
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past five years.