Dent Reality, the UK-based augmented reality startup, announced it’s secured £2.5m (~$3.4m) in funding, something the company plans to use to further its efforts to bring phone-based AR navigation into the retail sector.

The funding round was led by Pi Labs, with participation from Europe’s Sugar Capital, Silicon Valley’s 7Percent Ventures, and a number of angel investors. According to Crunchbase data, this follows a pre-seed investment round closed in March 2020, the amount of which wasn’t publicly disclosed.

Dent Reality has been building its AR-driven indoor positioning system for some time now. We last heard about Dent Reality early-2019 when the company first announced it would release a software development kit for iOS so retailers could integrate the map of indoor spaces, figure out where the user is, and use virtual paths and arrows to help shoppers find their destinations—a bit like an indoor GPS.

Co-founded by Andrew Hart and Ben Rosenbaum in 2019, the company has made strides in achieving wider recognition from traditional retailers. The company reveals it’s been working with UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer on a new testcase for its indoor tracking in the retailer’s Westfield London store in White City. That’s M&S in the video above.

“The app helps shoppers find every item on their list, with real-time guidance and information to supercharge their experience,” Dent Reality says. “The potential of the technology is extensive, and can be applied to campuses, airports, shopping centres, and museums, for example. Dent Reality’s waiting list currently includes hundreds of large organisations across a diverse range of different sectors.”

The studio says its able to operate in an environment where there may be 40,000 items in a typical location, and thousands of locations per retailer.

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“Our vision is that every physical space will become digitally connected, enabling an entirely new type of interaction with the world around us. These ‘smart spaces’ will unlock rich information and transform billions of daily interactions for shoppers and retailers,” said CEO and co-founder Andrew Dent. “Right now, the biggest players in tech are working on building next-generation augmented reality wearables, and we’re building the killer consumer use-cases for this transformative technology. In the future, providing a frictionless digital experience in a physical location will become as essential for every business as having a website is today.”

Individual investors include Indeed.com co-founders Paul Forster and Rony Kahan, social VR founder Esteban Ordano, Tumbler veteran Matt Hackett, and ex-president of Citymapper Omid Ashtari.

The funding will be used to expand its team and services, the studio says, which will bring its services to new stores and retailers.

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  • disqus_X7wypTBOb3

    I assume nobody at Dent has ever worked at a grocery store? Don’t they know that it’s common practice for grocery stores to rearrange where everything in the store is periodically because they WANT people to get lost and roam around?

    So this app would be constantly out of date because the store layouts constantly change, and the stores would not cooperate because it’s more profitable for them to change the layouts.

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    • Jonathan Winters III

      This! It’s amazing how many gullible investors there are out there, particularly in the VR space.

      • ViRGiN

        You can either lay out millions from few investors, or just promise infinity like decagear and just charge $10.

    • guest

      The stores would probably have to plant beacons for this to work, unless they think they can crowd-source for free which is unreliable as crowd-sourced weather apps or anything else where users do their work. Food retailers have such thin margins that they are unlikely to pay to set this up.

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  • VRFriend

    Absolutely stupid idea. Also, shops move articles on purpose, so people constantly search for them, walking by other articles. I am surprised they have found investors. Makes completely no sense.

    • Bob

      Investors are usually stupid themselves. Take a look at Theranos for example.

  • Bob

    Not practical at all and utterly pointless. Everything in a grocery store is arranged in aisles and usually assisted with sign boards so shoppers know exactly where to look. With this app, will there now be a time where every human walks about in a grocery store holding up a smartphone in front of their faces so they can they look for that toilet roll which is literally 5 metres on their left? As if not enough of them are Facetiming their amazing friends and precious loved ones whilst paying absolutely no attention to their immediate surroundings.

  • Ragbone

    Does it lead to the toilets as well? I always have to end up using the plant pots.