Dent Reality: London-Based Startup Raises $3.4 Million to Bring AR Navigation to Retail Stores
The startup Dent Reality is building an Augmented Reality indoor navigation system for grocery stores. The company is partnering with Apple for the product.
The London-based startup is developing a technology that displays the floor plan of the retail store along with its own position on the smartphone and, as a result, knows exactly where a particular product category is situated in the store and will guide the user accordingly to that position. It uses a map or augmented reality view to take you to the right shelf where you will find the product that you are shopping for. The technology uses WLAN data as well as sensor data from smartphones to locate the user in real-time.
This week, Dent Reality announced $3.4 million in funding. The company is planning to use the new funding to ramp up its efforts to launch the phone-based AR navigation to the retail sector.
Some really exciting AR news – we @DentReality have raised $3.4m to build the digital layer for the physical world!
Here's a demo of what we've built so far… pic.twitter.com/abTReqm6aE
— Andrew Hart (@AndrewHartAR) November 23, 2021
Dent Reality’s funding round was led by Pi Labs. Also participating were Europe’s Sugar Capital as well as 7Percent Ventures from Silicone Valley. There were also a number of other angel investors. Data from Crunchbase shows that the AR startup has previously had a pre-seed investment round which closed in March 2020 although the amount raised in that funding round was not announced.
The London-based startup has been developing an AR-driven indoor positioning system for quite some time. In early 2019, the company announced its plan to release a software development kit for iOS that allows retailers to integrate the map into their indoor spaces, determine where the user is and use arrows and virtual paths to guide the shopper to a particular destination within the establishment. The technology back then was a bit like an indoor GPS system.
Cooperation with Apple
Dent Reality has been working on an indoor AR navigation solution since 2017 and the company claims that its indoor navigation technology is capable of handling up to 40,000 items per store as well as thousands of locations for every retailer. Dent Reality is partnering with different retailers to ensure its platform works seamlessly.
One of Dent Reality’s first customers was the British retail chain Marks & Spencer which implemented a test project with the startup in London. The video below shows the results of that test.
Dent Reality has also partnered with Apple for a trial of its technology.
Grocery stores are just the starting point for Dent Reality. Company CEO Andrew hart stated that the company started with grocery stores because they present the toughest challenge that the technology could solve, meaning implementation in other product categories should be relatively smooth.
Google Occasionally Provides AR Navigation Indoors
The company is also planning to expand its navigation solution in other indoor spaces in the future such as office complexes, universities, and hospitals. To realize this goal, the startup’s new financial resources will be invested in hiring new skilled workers and expanding its customer base.
Google is currently testing the first solutions for AR indoor navigation and announced a Google Maps update this year which guides smartphone users inside via AR signposts and can come in handy locales such as shopping centers, airports, and transit stations. At the time of Google’s announcement, only selected U.S. locations were supported although the company’s solution should meanwhile be rolled out outside the U.S., in Tokyo and Zurich.