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Augmented reality startup Play Shifu raises money from IDG Ventures, IDFC Alt

Anirban Ghoshal | VC Circle, November 9, 2017

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Bengaluru-based MobilizAR Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs augmented reality-enabled interactive educational games startup Play Shifu, has raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-Series A round led by IDG Ventures and IDFC-Parampara Fund.

The company will use the money to extend its reach, globally, and to strengthen its technology and design team.

Founded by Stanford and IIT Kharagpur alumni Vivek Goyal and Dinesh Advani, Play Shifu was incorporated in mid-2016. In May 2017, it was selected for FbStart, an initiative by Facebook that gives mobile developers access to free tools and services to help them grow their businesses.

“We strongly believe in technologies that bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, specifically for early-learning. The tremendous global response for Shifu Orboot, the smart globe, has given us a major boost in the ed-tech space,” said Goyal.

Jatin Desai, general partner at IDFC-Parampara Fund, said Play Shifu was one of the very few Indian startups to have been able to commercialise augmented and virtual reality-based products successfully and sell to customers globally.

“The success of Play Shifu’s Orboot product on Kickstarter in such a short time with limited resources speaks highly of the team’s domain knowledge and market opportunity,” said IDG Ventures India Advisors director Karthik Prabhakar.

According to Advani, the company’s vision was in-line with the industry trend of smart toys and games. “The global toy industry has already crossed the $90 billion mark.”

The augmented and virtual reality space in India has been heating up ofalte. Last week, Kalpnik Technologies, which runs a virtual reality-driven spiritual startup, had raised $500,000 in a seed round from a group of angels at funding and incubation platform Venture Catalysts.

In May, Chymera VR Inc, a virtual reality advertising platform, had secured funding from a clutch of angel investors, including People Group founder and chief executive Anupam Mittal, Airbnb’s global expansion head Varsha Rao, Google executive Surojit Chatterjee, and HHC Holdings chairman Nirav Choksi. The investment was made through the LetsVenture platform.

In March, virtual reality startup ShilpMIS Technologies had raised an undisclosed amount from digital industry veteran and angel investor Puneet Gupta, and Nimitt Desai, a partner at Deloitte US, besides other high net worth individuals.

In February, Imaginate Technologies Inc. too, had raised Rs 3.35 crore seed money from venture fund SRI Capital.