Augmented reality startup Whodat secures $600K from Ideaspring Capital
Kaushik Das (L) and Sriram Ganesh, co-founders of Whodat

Bangalore-based Whodat Tech Pvt Ltd has raised $600,000 (Rs 3.9 crore) from Ideaspring Capital in its first round of external funding, the company said.

Whodat, the marker-less augmented reality (AR) platform, will use the funds for R&D, product development and to expand its tech team.

Founded in 2013 by Sriram Ganesh and Kaushik Das, Whodat uses proprietary technology based on simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) to place digital content within indoor environments.

“Whodat has a great team led by Sriram and Kaushik. Their vision is to solidify the SLAM approach and provide contextual information about the scene using deep learning approaches and have a product that helps developers easily create great AR experiences without any knowledge of vision and learning systems,” said Arihant Patni, partner at Ideaspring Capital.

Das, a computer engineer, and Ganesh, an alumnus of Stanford Graduate School of Business, had earlier worked together at a product visualisation startup before launching Whodat. “What we have essentially done through our product is to do away with the need for knowledge and expertise in AR to operate an AR-based platform,” said Ganesh

According to Ganesh, the product is most effective in the visualisation space, including home decor and real estate. The company is also exploring other sectors such as social media and gaming.

The startup has two revenue models – licence- and software as a service-based – depending on the requirement and scale of operations of a customer. While the licence-based model works better for larger companies, smaller enterprises prefer the SaaS model.

The company has four customers, including furniture e-tailer Urban Ladder. Ganesh, however, refused to divulge the identity of the others, but said that they were part of the Fortune 30 list. Whodat is currently developing an upgraded version of its product, which is expected to roll out in six months. “While our aim is to work with large customers, we are also reaching out to small enterprises,” said Ganesh.

Whodat plans to have an end-user customer base of 100,000 in the next two years, and may raise a Series A round of funding thereafter.

“We have a steady pipeline and are always close to profitability. Hence, we have not really set out a target for breaking even. Likewise, we just need engineers for R&D and do not have the requirement at this point to spend on marketing. The team will remain lean for the time being,” said Ganesh. At present, he has a 10-member tech team.

Ideaspring Capital

Angel investors Naganand Doraswamy and Prashant Deshpande had joined hands with the scions of Patni Computers, Arihant and Amit Patni, among others, to launch Ideaspring, a seed-stage venture fund, in April 2016.

It invests in tech startups involved in machine learning, computer vision and image processing, Big Data analytics, Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, internet security, health-tech and fin-tech, among others.

In March, Ideaspring made its first investment in Chennai-based Karomi Technology Pvt. Ltd with a little over $500,000, and followed it up with an investment of $600,000 in enterprise networking startup Lavelle Networks Pvt Ltd.

Whodat was Ideasprings’ third investment in an early-stage tech startup.

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