Blippar’s Ambarish Mitra Knows AR

By Lauren Keyson and Barbara Gesteira


Blippar is an app that turns a smart phone into a magic lens. It gives users whole new, interactive views on the physical world around them using Augmented Reality (AR) and Image-Recognition technologies. For marketers this means a new way to attract, retain and engage with consumers through an immersive experience.

Blippar plans to include new visual search capabilities in its app, which will allow users to perform a search for information about an object by pointing their mobile device at the object. An early proof-of-concept was shown to work on apples, dogs and cars. The company announced plans to make all American sports logos, English-language music album covers, fiction book covers, DVD cases and movie posters ‘blippable’.  In June 2014 Blippar acquired Dutch AR rival Layar, based in Amsterdam, creating the world’s largest AR user base.

Under the direction of Blippar’s co-founder and CEO, Ambarish Mitra, the company has grown from groundbreaking idea to industry leader with 250 employees, 10 offices and 50 million users.  He explained their success, “We started Blippar with the vision of delivering high-quality, engaging, ubiquitous consumer augmented reality through a ‘browser’ of the physical world. In only 33 months we’ve gone from building prototypes in the living room of my flat to connecting millions of consumers to thousands of brands around the world, making the verb ‘to blipp’ synonymous with AR experiences.”

Alana Kalin, senior biz dev director at Blippar, talked about their image recognition platform that turns any real world object — whether it’s a product or in print, a billboard or t-shirt — into an interactive experience.  “Our technology is completely bespoke – we built it ourselves. So, Blippar and Layer is a great union, because both of us believe in a completely interactive world using augmented reality. They have been working towards the same mission for even longer than we have. Blippar has been partnering with big brands and publishers and so has Layer.  Now we are covering pretty much the whole market.

“Blippar’s NYC office is at 30th Street and 6th Ave. We have our own space, but now we are actually moving into a new one, because we have already outgrown the original one,” added Kalin. “We started by basically sharing a small desk at a fantastic agency in SoHo and then we moved. From one week of work to another. We needed more space and here we are!”

Blippar was founded in London in April 2011 by a team of former colleagues and friends — Mitra, Omar Tayeb, Steve Spencer and Jess Butcher.The platform went live in September 2011, and the four opened the New York office the following summer, officially bringing their industry-leading technology to the U.S.They now have offices in San Francisco, LA, Chicago, Istanbul and Delhi, with plans to open more soon.

“The human imagination, curiosity and the quest for knowledge are all often limited by our capacity to define and assign language to describe and seek answers from the world around us,” added Mitra. Today marks the beginning of a new era of search, where curious users will be able to visually search the world through the lens of the Blippar app.”

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