Sequoia-backed AI firm Avataar nets $45 mn in Tiger Global-led round
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Avataar, an artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision platform, has raised $45 million as a part of its Series B funding round led by Tiger Global, along with participation from existing investor Sequoia Capital India. 

The San Francisco and Bengaluru-based firm’s augmented reality technology offers an enhanced on-screen buying, browsing and shopping experience.

Avataar, operated by Soul Vision Creations Pvt. Ltd, said its platform can detect, analyse, modify and manipulate the physical world of the users by using live video stream. This can help direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands and e-commerce marketplaces with shaping their consumer journeys with 3D rendition of products.

So far, the six-year-old startup has raised about $55.5 million, including some financed by the founder and chief executive in the early years, across all funding rounds.

In October 2020, it had raised $7 million (Rs 51 crore) in its Series A round of funding from Sequoia Capital India.

"The digital world is undergoing a fundamental shift from static 2D content to a life-size virtual 3D world that is dynamic and super imposable to our shared physical reality. Avataar aims to be the ‘Inside Engine’ powering many new consumer journeys in this shift,” said Sravanth Aluru, Founder and CEO, Avataar. 

“While artificial intelligence and computer vision capabilities apply to the overall Metaverse evolution, Avataar has started with an upfront focus on redefining consumers’ shopping experiences,” he added.

Avataar was founded in 2014 by Prashanth Aluru, Sravanth Aluru, Gaurav Baid, and Mayank Tiwari. Both Prashanth and Sravanth Aluru are IIT-Bombay graduates who worked with Deutsche Bank along with Baid while Tiwari worked for global private equity major KKR & Co Inc.

Avataar said that it aims to transform the consumer’s buying experience at home on mobile devices, using AR wearables, or even in a physical store by allowing customers to explore an infinite aisle of a digitally-enabled catalogue. 

The company further said that its backend SuperNova platform seamlessly ingests existing 2D product images/videos across categories like furniture, electronics, large appliances, fashion, and more, and offers a plug and play front-end integration for consumer visualization of life-size 3D avataars of products at scale.

Avataar’s proprietary platform acts as an ‘Inside Engine’ powering multiple user experience shifts to interactive life-size Web 3.0, also known as the Metaverse.

The global Metaverse market is expected to climb to $6.1 billion in 2021 and is on a track to touch $42 billion by 2026, said research firm Strategy Analytics, as per an IANS report.

Shailesh Lakhani, MD at Sequoia India said, "The Metaverse is already here, just not evenly distributed. Avataar.me is leading the way in bringing scale creation capabilities to the largest brands to enable commerce - an application with tremendous promise in AR/VR environments. Sravanth, Gaurav, and Mayank have been a delight to work with and Sequoia Capital India is excited to re-iterate its commitment in their Series B round."

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