30 November 2017

ACQUIRE - Retailer Buys AR Startup for $US112M Cash

Home Decor retailer Williams Sonoma has bought AR startup Outward

Image result for home decor images
Cookware and furniture retailer Williams Sonoma will acquire Outward, a 3D imaging and augmented reality startup with a focus on home d├ęcor, for $112 million in cash. According to Crunchbase the San Jose, California based Outward previously raised about $12 million in venture funding.

"Outward brings proprietary and transformative technology at the forefront of our industry, and we welcome them to WSI," said Williams Sonoma, Inc. CEO Laura Alber. Despite Williams Sonoma  having full ownership over Outward at the close of the deal, the San Jose based tech company will continue to operate under its current president, Clarence Chui.

The Archeticural Digest story illuminates the reasons why several home decor and home furnishing retailers are pursuing or have acquired Augmented Reality (AR) or Virtual Reality (VR) applications. According to this article IKEA is using the new Apple ARKit to add augmented reality to their online services.

WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT:
Demonstrates the need for acquiring emerging and innovative technology to support brand activities. Also shows a valuation that is more aligned with competitive advantage than the  revenue or free cash flow of the innovator. 

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