Khazanah-backed AR startup Blippar to face insolvency: Report

The Khazanah Nasional Berhad logo is displayed on a laptop. Photo: Thitikorn Suksao/DealStreetAsia

London-based augmented reality startup Blippar is said to be facing administration and is “on the brink of collapse” after a dispute between its investors, British luxury property developer Nick Candy and Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

A report by The Times said Khazanah has blocked an emergency fundraising by the unicorn startup, causing Blippar to reach out to its shareholders, saying it had been left with “no current option other than to give notice to start insolvency proceedings”.

It is said that Blippar has appointed insolvency practitioners David Rubin & Partners, fueling speculation that Candy may purchase the startup through a pre-pack administration deal.

The same insolvency administrator was hired by the property developer earlier for one of his tech investments, social music startup Crowdmix when it collapsed into administration in 2016. However, the startup’s co-founder had then told the UK court that Candy had been unethical in his takeover of Crowdmix.

Khazanah declined to comment on Blippar or the latest media report. The sovereign wealth fund had invested in Blippar through its European unit, Khazanah Europe Investment Ltd (KEIL), in 2016 as part of a $54-million Series D round.

In September this year, Blippar raised a £28 million ($35 million) Series E round led by Candy’s tech investment firm Candy Ventures and Qualcomm Ventures to help it stay afloat and to accelerate its path to profitability.

Launched in 2011, Blippar has operations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Delhi, Bangalore, and Singapore. Its San Francisco office was shut down last year.

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