After pivoting to the AR space in 2017, mirrAR now wants to venture into the US and build a multinational AR company based out of India
mirrAR will use the capital to accelerate product development, scale tech stack, hire more, ramp up marketing, and enter international markets
With an eye on an ARR of $1.5 Mn, mirrAR counts names such Tata-backed Tanishq and Titan, Kalyan Jewellers, Senco Gold & Diamonds, among others as its clients
With the advent of AI, technologies like augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) are poised to transform how we interact with and experience products across a wide range of industries and segments. Notably, expected to advance at a CAGR of 38.29% to $14.07 Bn by 2027 in India alone, the opportunities in this arena are quite significant.
However, little did Meghna Saraogi know back in 2015 that her first entrepreneurial leap StyleDotMe, a fashion recommendation app, would one day pivot to become a full-fledged AR platform, mirrAR, driven by the AR boom in India.
Today, Saraogi has plans to expand and solidify the startup’s footprint and offerings in the US and European markets and build a multinational AR company based out of India.
With this vision, she has now secured INR 13 Cr ($1.75 Mn) for her startup in a strategic funding round led by a New York-based IT company, Diaspark Inc.
The funding round also witnessed the participation of the Indian Angel Network (IAN) and various notable angel investors, including Vineeta Singh and Kaushik Mukherjee from SUGAR Cosmetics, Khadim Batti from Whatfix, and Ashish Tulsian from Posist.
Other prominent names in the round comprised Umang Bedi from Dailyhunt; Aparna Chennapragada, a senior executive at Microsoft; Dipak Gupta and Shanti Ekambaram from Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Alagu Periyannan, the founder of BlueJeans by Verizon.
Rebranded in 2017, mirrAR is focussed on building AR products and revolutionising shopping experiences for users globally. The startup helps brands and retailers deploy 3D and 360-degree shopping experiences on their websites and apps.
It also helps brands generate AI-powered videos of their products in real-time.
At the outset, mirrAR offered its tech to the jewellery industry and has since taken the beauty and skincare segments under its ambit.
The mirrAR Buzz
At the heart of mirrAR is its proprietary technology that leverages AI to offer a realistic virtual experience to end customers. What powers the tech stack is a treasure trove of data that the startup sources from its partnership with giants such as Tata-owned Tanishq and Titan, who are also its clients.
Every month, more than a million customers use the startup’s tech to virtually try out products ranging from jewellery and eyewear to watches and handbags.
While this is the customer-facing end of the operations, the startup’s AI combs through layers of data in the backend to make users’ buying experience more realistic and exciting.
Speaking with Inc42, Saraogi said that ease of deployment of its tech stack, a more realistic user experience and layers of quality customer data in the company’s coffers are some of the key moats that the company has against its competitors in the AR space.
Interestingly, while mirrAR today caters to six segments in the beauty and fashion industry, namely jewellery, beauty, skincare, eyewear, watches, and handbags, Saraogi’s primary focus areas are the beauty and jewellery spaces.
mirrAR CEO pointed out that a razor-sharp focus on these two segments will help the startup power its growth trajectory.
How Does mirrAR Make The Moolah?
The startup charges brands a one-time setup fee, which the CEO hesitated to share. However, we were told that brands pay $500 to $3,000 a month as the platform fee, which gives them access to a specified number of virtual try-ons. Beyond the specified threshold, the startup charges 10 cents per try-on.
Interestingly, the startup boasts that it has helped its clients maintain a high customer retention rate, with churns hovering below the 5% mark. Interestingly, Saraogi gauges this metric on three levels — increased sales conversion on the customer end by more than 32%, reduced order return rate by 30%, and increased engagement rate of up to 160%.
Meanwhile, the startup counts names such as Kalyan Jewellers, De Beers, Senco Gold & Diamonds, Tanishq, and 50 others as its clients.
As per Saraogi, the startup has so far notched revenues to the tune of $500K and is targeting an annual run rate (ARR) of $1.5 Mn. With a gross margin in the range of 70-75%, the company claims that its unit economics is very strong.
Shifting gears into the growth mode, the startup has now focussed its energies on scaling up the platform and expanding its geographies. Notably, this is where the fresh stream of funds will be directed to give the startup a much-needed boost.
“A significant portion of the fresh capital will be allocated to expedite product development, with a particular emphasis on the beauty industry, as well as enhancing the technology infrastructure. A portion of the funding will be directed towards expanding the team, intensifying international marketing efforts, and broadening global presence,” Saraogi told Inc42.
Interestingly, Saraogi is right now super-focussed on scaling up the startup rather than making small profits. “We want to get back to our investors with outstanding financial performance,” the mirrAR CEO said.
Before the current round, the startup raised INR 10 Cr from marquee angel investors such as Peak XV Partners’ Rajan Anandan, and Innov8’s cofounder Ritesh Malik, among others.
What’s On mirrAR’s Horizon?
As of now, mirrAR aspires to give the US and European markets a world-class India-made product, which is on par with what global AR giants have on offer.
However, this is not going to be easy. This is because such players have no dearth of resources and capital at their disposal to dominate the market at will. On the other hand, players like mirrAR may be agile in pivoting because of their small size, a rapid expansion into uncharted territories may likely get unsavoury.
It is pertinent to note that competition is immense in the AR space and will only intensify going ahead. Today, the startup competes with the likes of Perfect Corp and ARGear in the global space, and players like Reactive Reality, Parallax Labs, and GoPhygital domestically.
In the short term, Saraogi, along with her 28-member team, is focussed on entering the US market and onboarding some of the biggest global beauty giants both domestically and internationally.
In the long-term, however, the mirrAR CEO wants to outpace the Hong Kong-based Perfect Corp in the AR race.