Avataar raises $ 45 million to improve consumer shopping experience with full-scale 3D product review – TechCrunch

The vast majority of e-commerce customers prefer to preview the product before making the purchase. This is the reason why Amazon has always struggled to put fashion and home decor items online. A startup based in San Francisco and Bengaluru is trying to solve this problem and has just raised a new round of funding to expand its operations.

AI and computer vision startup Avataar announced on Friday that it had raised $ 45 million in its Series B funding. The round was led by Tiger Global and existing investor Sequoia Capital India participated. The six-year-old startup has raised around $ 55.5 million, some of which was funded by the founder and CEO in the early years, across all funding cycles.

Avataar helps direct-to-consumer brands and e-commerce marketplaces shape their consumer journeys with 3D rendering of products. Businesses can integrate Avataar’s plug-and-play technology into their system, which then allows customers to view products in actual size and to feel in their living room using the phone’s camera.

The startup is currently working with a number of companies, including the two major e-commerce markets in furniture, major appliances and other categories, said Sravanth Aluru, founder and CEO of Avataar, in an interview with TechCrunch. He declined to share the names of clients, citing confidentiality agreements. (Some companies such as Samsung and Pepperfry have publicly acknowledged their collaboration with Avataar.)

In a demo, Aluru dragged and dropped multiple products – sofas and desks – into her living room from a partner ecommerce marketplace app and changed the color and SKUs without having to reposition the items. virtual in the house. Items can also be interactive. A virtual interpretation of a refrigerator allows users to open and close the door, for example.

Brands don’t need to make major changes to be able to tailor Avataar’s offerings. As long as the product images are in resolution of at least 1080p, Aluru said, Avataar can stitch a virtual and 3D version of it. For consumers too, if they are using an iPhone or Android smartphone launched in recent years, there is a good chance that their phone has the computing and graphics power to support viewing and interacting with virtual objects. , did he declare.

“Since the camera is the home screen, you see a significantly higher engagement time and brands see more than 3.5 times the sales conversion,” he said. The startup relays engagement information to partner brands who then further personalize their offers to better serve customers.

Aluru said an increasing number of companies are starting to adapt the technology as they recognize the benefits it can offer. This trend should only grow from here.

Without revealing the brand names, he said some smartphone companies have used Avataar technology to conduct virtual launches. “We are now integrated on most platforms. If you see 3D on a high volume service, it’s probably because of us, ”he said.

The founding team of Avataar. From left to right: Mayank Tiwari (CBO), Sravanth Aluru (CEO), Prashanth Aluru (board director), Gaurav Baid (CPO). (Image credits: Avataar)

By 2025, nearly 75% of the world’s population and almost everyone who uses social and communications apps will be frequent users of augmented reality, Snap said in a recent report, for which he collaborated with Deloitte. . The report states that there are already more than 100 million customers who buy using AR.

Aluru said the startup is preparing to be at the forefront as the Metaverse makes inroads and engages with several key players in the space.

“The metaverse is already there, but not evenly distributed. Avataar.me is leading the way in bringing scale creation capabilities to leading brands to enable commerce – a very promising application in AR / VR environments, ”said Shailesh Lakhani, Managing Director of Sequoia India, in a statement. .

“Sravanth, Gaurav and Mayank have been a pleasure to work with and Sequoia Capital India is delighted to reiterate its commitment to their B Series.”

The digital and digitally-influenced market is expected to reach $ 18 trillion by 2025, providing a monetization opportunity of over $ 50 billion over the next decade for the underlying platforms leading to the passage of the 2D to 3D trade, based on industry estimates.

“For the first time in history, we are now able to detect, understand, augment and manipulate the physical reality of consumers using a live camera feed. While our patented AI / CV capabilities are applicable to the overall evolution of the metaverse, we started by focusing from the outset on redefining consumer shopping experiences, ”said Aluru.

“The platform will transform the shopping experience for consumers at home on their mobile devices, through AR glasses / wearable devices, or even in a physical store exploring an endless aisle of a digital catalog. “

Evan Feinberg, Partner at Tiger Global, said in a statement, “Consumers continue to seek a better e-commerce experience, and the innovative technology created by Avataar provides a powerful plug and play solution to its customers to meet this demand. As the digital world shifts from 2D to 3D, Avataar and its talented management team are well positioned in this rapidly growing market.

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