Tonchidot raises $4 million

Chris Caceres · December 8, 2009 · Short URL:

Japanese augmented reality started looking to expand globally

 Tonchidot, developer of the iPhone app Sekai Camera, on Tuesday raised $4 million in VC funding.  New investor DCM led the round with participation from existing investor ITOCHU Technology Ventures.

The Japanese startup develops an iPhone application, not available in the US at the moment, called Sekai Camera.  The company refers to the app as a "social tagging device."  It falls under the category of augmented reality applications in which you use your iPhone camera to point at objects in the real world, and then see information overlayed on top of the your display.  Companies like Layar and Yelp have these features on their iPhone apps.  

One of the neat features of Tonchidot is it lets users tag objects themselves so the next person that points at that object can see that tag, making it truly a "social tagging device."

There could be quite a market here for Tonchidot.  First it could potentially sell sponsored tags to partners, like little advertisements popping up when I point my phone at a Pepsi can, etc.  Or another interesting point thought up by VentureBeat is that Tonchidot could potentially use its platform to make real world augmented reality games.

“Tonchidot’s Sekai Camera provides a completely new experience to mobile Internet users,” said Osuke Honda of DCM in a statement. “We believe that Augmented Reality represents a tremendous opportunity for investors, particularly as you look to a global platform. We have studied the AR market for some time now and believe Tonchidot's technology platform and business model to be the most compelling among competitors in the space."

Tonchidot said it would use the funding to accelerate the the company's global expansion.  And with DCM on board, Tonchidot's looking to bring "Sekai Camera" to the US.

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