A few years ago I redecorated my house and experienced first-hand what those in the home dÃ©cor industry call the âimagination gapâ â that is, the inability to imagine what new home furnishing will actually look like in your own home. Itâs a problem that retailers have tried to solve digitally, most commonly with pretty lame first-generation mobile apps that use Augmented Reality (AR).
Enter DigitalBridge, a U.K. startup based in Manchester and backed by John Lewis via the 150 year-old apartment storeâs accelerator. The company is taking a different and deceptively more simple approach.
Its tech, which can be integrated into a retailerâs existing website, uses computer vision and machine learning to let you take a photo of your room and remove furniture, wallpaper and other home dÃ©cor, and replace them with items from a retailerâs catalogue.
âItâs a Â£1 billion problem in the U.K. with over a third of people who are planning on decorating their room not doing so as there is no such thing as an âUndoâ button in interior design,â says DigitalBridge founder David Levine.
âWe have built a computer vision and machine-learning platform that allows a user to take a picture of their room with their phone and automatically recognise the walls, floors, ceilings, objects and lighting conditions in those rooms. We then allow the user to render wallpapers, carpets, paints, artwork and furniture in that roomâ.
Unlike competitors, of which there are many, AR isnât something DigitalBridge currently uses. âAR is a great technology but requires a dedicated mobile app which all retailers dislike,â says Levine.
âApps are expensive to build, maintain and are disruptive to the buying journey. Our platform natively integrates to a retailerâs responsive website so can be used on mobile, tablet and desktopâ.
The DigitalBridge founder and CEO says that, as a B2B SaaS company, the startupâs target customers are home dÃ©cor retailers such as John Lewis, DFS, B&Q, IKEA, Home Depot, etc., whilst end users are just about anybody who is remodelling their home or purchasing new furnishings.
It makes money each time an end-user uploads a picture of their room via integration with DigitalBridgeâs API or white label solution.
In addition to John Lewis, the startupâs backers include lead investor L Marks, Graham Clempson, and Mike McGrath. The company has raised Â£700,000 in total.