Innovations in Virtual Reality and gaming continues to be among the top startup ideas. Most of the VR innovations are in support of video games, and for other recreational activities. However, a few emerging business innovations in retail and property management seem to be taking hold too.
Such futuristic thinking is perhaps driving home furnishings company Williams-Sonoma to acquire a San Jose-based startup Outward for $112 million in cash. Five-year-old Outward specializes in replicating physical products in high-quality 3-D imagery that can be used for visual merchandising on retail websites and apps.
Williams-Sonoma that also owns the West Elm and Pottery Barn retail chains made the announcement in a press release (link)
The press release adds
“Outward brings proprietary and transformative technology at the forefront of our industry, and we welcome them to WSI,” said Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer of WSI. “We are excited to own and collaborate in the further development of Outward’s technology that enables applications in product visualization, digital room design, and augmented and virtual reality. Together, we will drive digital innovation to create highly engaging and interactive consumer shopping experiences.”
“Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a best-in-class retailer with a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience, as well as an industry leading multi-channel platform,” said Clarence Chui, President and Founder of Outward. “Joining the WSI team presents us with a unique opportunity to extend our leadership at the intersection of imaging technology and retail, and allows us to strengthen our support of existing customers and the entire home industry. We look forward to partnering with WSI to create the next generation of online, in-store, and design service experiences and execute on our shared belief that technology and innovation drive business.”