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.

Also Read:

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.