By Mike Troy
Intel Capital and Beringea have invested $15.2 million in virtual reality solutions provider InContext Solutions, a company transforming the way retailers make decisions about product assortments and shopper experiences.
InContext Solutions is at the forefront of VR for retail with its ShopperMX platform that allows manufacturers and retailers to simulate real in-store shopping situations to ideate, evaluate and activate all types of merchandising, display, layout and other in-store shopping experiences within a VR store environment. The platform helps companies reduce costs because retailers and suppliers can test and evaluate ideas in the virtual reality store environment as opposed to doing so in physical stores.
The funding the company received will help it accelerate sales and marketing efforts and expand its geographic footprint, and also improve its VR product portfolio, including further development of solutions for head-mounted devices.
“This latest round of funding gives us strong strategic backers who share our vision of even more robust, fully-immersive virtual reality solutions for retail,” said Mark Hardy, CEO of InContext Solutions. “We have long been a leader in web-based VR, and this investment allows us to aggressively develop our VR platform, further lowering costs and improving speed and revenue for our clients.”
VR has proven to be a disruptive new approach to traditionally slow and expensive retail processes, significantly reducing the cost and time required for companies to conceive, create, test and activate in-store experiences. The InContext Solutions value proposition is to streamline those processes with its technology to power shopping experiences that are more engaging for consumers and more profitable for clients.
“Virtual reality is moving beyond the gaming community with use cases rising up across many different industries,” said Doug Fisher, senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services group at Intel Corporation. “InContext Solutions has already had significant impact on virtual reality for the retail and manufacturing industries. We are excited to see how virtual reality solutions, such as InContext Solutions, based on Intel architecture, are poised to transform industries in more immersive, interactive ways.”
The funding announcement with Intel and Beringea follows an announcement the prior month that InContext was working with Intel to develop best-in-class VR solutions that Hardy said would give the company the ability to push the boundaries of its product portfolio.
“For instance, through ShopperMX we have helped global manufacturers create multiple new shelf layouts, validate them with real shopper data and then bring the winning concept to market with help from our ShopperMX Mobile app,” Hardy said when the partnership with Intel was first announced. “With this collaboration, we will be able to design our VR platform to include new features and functionality for the latest technology coming out across all devices.”
Intel is of the opinion that virtual reality has great potential to disrupt retail and manufacturing, and InContext’s platform has demonstrated the value VR and merged reality can provide to those industries, according to Joe D. Jensen, vice president of the Internet of Things Group and general manager of the Retail Solutions division at Intel.