Blippar, UK's Top Tech Start-up, Flops into Administration - Dispatch Weekly

December 19, 2018 - Reading time: 4 minutes

Blippar was known as one of the most exciting tech start-ups in the country but has gone into administration due to numerous arguments and disagreements regarding the company’s funding.

The UK tech start-up is a 7-year-old augmented reality firm that was once valued at $1.5 billion, however, a lot has changed since it started in 2011. Blippar was co-founded by Ambarish Mitra who later became the brand ambassador for the UK, promoting innovation around the world.

Blippar was seen as a “Unicorn” startup and was expected to be one of the world’s leaders in augmented reality. Yet on Monday morning, Blippar had laid off all their employees and officially filed for administration. Raising large sums of investment from Malaysia and America, tech analysts were confident that this was the next step in the field of augmented reality.

Blippar offered ‘consumer AR products, with an app that recognized household products and landmarks, and a platform that let users turn their face into a digital billboard’. They also offered their services to advertising agencies, allowing them to use augmented reality in their marketing campaigns.

It was clear that Blippar was operating in a niche with a small number of customers, especially with bigger firms offering very similar services. However, the feeling amongst people involved with the firm was that when you ‘find a niche, commit to making Blippar the expert in that niche, rather than trying to be and do everything’. And it is for reasons such as this why investors came into disagreement with the company and their vision.

However, this sudden collapse of Blippar has not come as a surprise to many. In recent years, the firm’s success has been deteriorating, with a report from the Financial Times completely embellishing the co-founder’s CV being a pivotal moment for the company. During that year Blippar made huge losses and eventually closed their Mountain View offices in the following year.

Blippar was involved in several famous campaigns, such as the BBC’s Planet Earth II Series. They also ran several projects similar to the AR customer interaction campaign with Lucky Charms, which was a huge sensation in itself.

In the end, the UK’s brightest tech start-up collapsed but there is still hope for a future at Blippar. The current administrators are attempting to sell the company, either in parts or as a whole company. Blippar clearly lost sight of their original vision but the concept is still there and it remains to be seen whether Blippar will get a second chance or not.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.