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Poplar has closed a $2.1million investment, led by Fuel Ventures, to push its ambition to become the world’s leading augmented reality creative platform.

This seed round, which sees Haatch Ventures, Ascension Ventures and Super Ventures also invest, will help Poplar deliver on-demand creation of premium AR and 3D experiences to accommodate the growing demand for branded AR campaigns.

Since the pandemic lockdown in March, AR engagement has spiked by 19% as consumers turn to social, web and mobile for alternative ways to engage with retailers and brands.

Poplar’s platform automatically assembles teams of certified and trusted AR and 3D creators to build premium immersive digital experiences – such as at home virtual try-ons, branded face filters, product visualisation and other interactive AR experiences- for retail, fashion & beauty, entertainment, food & drink and gaming brands.

The platform has 1,600+ certified 3D/AR content creators who have delivered more than 120 campaigns for the likes of Speedo, Universal Music, L’Oréal, Disney, Jack Daniels, Nestlé and more.

David Ripert, Co-founder and CEO of Poplar says: “Brands are turning more to digital and social channels to reach consumers in new, immersive ways. Augmented reality is central to that and success will be determined by the quality of the experience. We are growing our platform to bring the very best AR creators together to quickly deliver premium campaigns, without the huge price tag.

“With 75% of consumers expecting retailers to offer an AR experience and 11 times more likely to make a purchase when AR is available, retail is definitely leading the way in terms of adoption. We expect more industries will follow suit, particularly with the challenges that social isolation is posing to every industry.”

Built out of the Founders Factory studio, Poplar is the bridge between retail brands and social platform or mobile browser campaigns. With this new funding, it plans to expand internationally and grow the platform, which makes AR and 3D campaigns more affordable and accessible.

Mark Pearson, Founder and Managing Partner at Fuel Ventures added: “I believe augmented reality represents the future of commerce – from being able to see a car in 3D without being in a showroom to trying on clothes in virtual changing rooms.

“Poplar sees the future of content creation in this medium and I am excited we are on board to help Poplar’s journey to making AR technology more accessible, as the technology grows further in popularity.”