Augmented reality: the French Augment goes to Chicago to seduce the big brands
The start-up raises 1 million euros, strengthens its R&D team and is repositioning itself in B2B.
Augmented reality seems to have a bright future in B to B. This is reflected in the fundraising concluded on April 24 by Augment: the start-up specializing in augmented reality managed to raise one million euros last month. This capital should be used to improve its augmented reality application intended for sales representatives of large-scale distribution brands. The start-up is aiming to accelerate its activity in the United States, where it already generates 45% of its turnover. “My partner Mickaël Jordan will move to Chicago and we will open an office there this summer” announces the CEO of Augment, Jean-François Chianetta. “We are looking to recruit a business developer in the United States, so there will be two Increase people permanently on site,” he says.
7 new hires in one month
The fundraising has already made it possible to strengthen the Parisian team: the workforce has increased from six to thirteen people in one month. The new employees are mainly developers, which will strengthen R&D, but there is also a designer and a person providing support functions. “The fundraising will also allow us to finance the translation of our sites into 12 languages, which will considerably improve our natural referencing” specifies the company manager. Augment currently has 115 subscription customers in 36 countries.
For a year, the young shoot has completely revised its strategy. The company no longer targets the e-commerce sector at all as it originally did and is now focusing its development on mass distribution players. “E-commerce was not mature enough, it was not ready to support augmented reality. It didn’t work, ”says the CEO. Thus, this start-up founded in 2011 launched on August 27, 2013 its first B toB service, an application called “Augment Business Catalog”. It is used by sales representatives of consumer brands already equipped with tablets during their commercial negotiations with representatives of points of sale. They can, for example, show in real time what a display will look like at the end of the shelf.
Olivier Mathiot and Tristan Vyskoc support the young shoot
This is Augment’s second fundraiser. At the end of its support by the Parisian incubator Le Camping, Augment had completed a funding round in the amount of 220,000 euros. During this first fundraiser in April 2013, investors like Tristan Vyskoc, Olivier Mathiot, Nicolas Vauvillier and Laurent Therezien were among the capital providers. This time around, Alain Roubach, Stanislas Cromback and Georges Saier are the main investors, although Olivier Mathiot and Tristan Vyskoc in particular, have also handed over to the pot.
“The first fundraising allowed us to test the marketé sales assistance. Following the launch of the Increase Business Catalog, we convinced around 100 customers between September and December 2013, including L’Oréal Professionnel Europe. “A success which led us to validate our business” says Jean-François Chianetta. “We now intend to focus on one market segment: packaging,” he concludes. In China, companies working in the field of augmented reality for marketing are called MXR Tech, founded in 2008 in Suzhou, and Senseape, established in Beijing in 2012.