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The platform, which combines the main elements of both networks and marketplaces, has its base in London and was created to help connect global AR content creators with brands ‘crying out’ for innovative mobile content.
The company received the cash in a seed round led by the newly-minted EIS Fund Haatch Ventures, led by a team of multi-exit founders.
David Ripert and Laurie Ainley founded the business after careers pioneering new products at top media companies and platforms, including around cutting edge content formats such as video and live gaming. With Poplar, they are seizing the opportunity to do the same for AR.
David, former head of Google’s innovative YouTube Spaces business, explained: “While we were in different worlds our experiences were essentially the same. Both Laurie and I witnessed first-hand how new content formats reshape the world around us and we wanted to get ahead of that ourselves for the next phase.”
“We are both passionate about creative storytelling, creator communities and we live at the intersection of media and tech. With 5G networks creating the potential for ‘wifi-speed’ mobile data and the growing popularity of AR content across social platforms, apps and webAR, we aim at democratising its creation through Poplar’s community platform.”
“There is little doubt that AR Content is going to be huge,” David went on. “We are already working with scores of global brands, all of which are keen to test and invest in the format to better engage with their audiences.”
To date the business has already delivered more than 40 campaigns for brands including L’Oréal, Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music, Jack Daniels, Optrex, Speedo, William Hill, Disney, Fox, King Games, Wargaming, Culture Trip and more, delivering 20+ million organic impressions for one campaign alone.
The company works with 600+ global AR creators, to whom they’ve paid out over £100,000, and it has official partnerships with leading social platforms as well as top agencies.
The investment was led by Haatch Ventures, with support from Ascension Ventures and other angels, and will be used to accelerate the sign up of both creators and brand demand as well as hiring key new team members.
Haatch Ventures LLP, launched by Haatch in 2018, provides investors an EIS fund focused on making early-stage investments in high growth, scalable, disruptive UK digital companies. Haatch Ventures provides companies with smart money via a hands-on approach using their knowledge & experience to accelerate the growth of portfolio companies.
Poplar (www.poplar.studio) is a platform that empowers everyone to easily create AR experiences. Poplar activates a new generation of global AR creators and provides collaborative tools that make AR production affordable and quick.