Candy Lab Taps Orchard Capital Partners for Exclusive Distribution of its Groundbreaking Augmented Reality Technology in the UK and Ireland


IRVINE, Calif., January 10, 2017 - Candy Lab, the award-winning augmented reality technology company, signed a deal today with Orchard Capital Partners to bring its groundbreaking location-based augmented reality technology to the UK and Ireland.
Augmented reality technology is making exciting inroads across the globe and Candy Lab began its search for the right partner to bring its cutting edge technology to the UK market during the second half of 2016. Orchard and Candy Lab first met in London in October 2016 and quickly realised they shared a common vision for the tremendous potential for the technology. The deal provides Orchard with the exclusive opportunity to drive the growth of location-based augmented reality throughout the UK and Ireland.
“As a technology company, this is the best way to get our AR engine in the hands of those who want it and can implement mass adoption”, said Andrew Couch, CEO of Candy Lab. “We believe everyone should have access and the opportunity to experience augmented reality. License agreements are a large part of our 2017 strategy as we look for the right partners, who understand the needs of the industry, our somewhat complex technology and how brands can adopt the technology and give their customers immersive experiences. Orchard came with a lot of knowledge of the space, the right relationships and most importantly the passion that we have in Candy Lab”.
Adam Kulick, Managing Partner of Orchard said “The popularity of Pokémon Go has proven the potential for location-based augmented reality to excite, entertain and educate broad segments of the population. We are thrilled to be working with Candy Lab and are already fielding strong interest from brands and agencies about using this powerful and innovative technology to engage and grow their customer base and audiences.”
Industry analysts predict that revenues from augmented reality are set to reach 150 billion dollars by 2020 which could be the driving force for the interest in the AR engine that Candy Lab built and owns.
For more information, please contact:
Josephine Munis
CMO
josephine.munis@candylab.com
About Candy Lab:
Candy Lab is an award winning location-based, augmented reality company. We have built the only Augmented Reality engine that combines GPS and Beacons and a content management system. Our Augmented Reality technology is used to power mobile games and apps. We advocate for brands to create immersive experiences to deepen customer engagement.  Learn More at www.candylab.com
About Orchard

Orchard Capital Partners is a media-focussed boutique investment and advisory firm. Specific areas of expertise include digital media, virtual reality, augmented reality, film and television.

Stop thinking like a developer and put yourself in the public's shoes

By James Batchelor
Gamesindustry.biz
October 25th, 2016
Pokémon Go has indisputably been one of the biggest video game successes of 2016. Though the title's popularity has waned in recent months, at its peak it was bringing in millions of dollars per day and garnering mainstream awareness and mass media attention in a way few games have managed before.
The title also raised the bar for location-based games, previously a little explored area beyond the game's own forebear Ingress and a handful of promotional apps for titles like Fable III and Darksiders 2. Since then, countless companies have been looking at how they can recreate the success of Pokémon Go, with map provider Ordnance Survey keen to have developers use its own database to build the next sensation.
However, it can be argued that building on and surpassing the success of Pokémon Go will be difficult, nigh on impossible given everything the title had in its favour: a popular brand, an experienced developer in Niantic, and the mighty Google Maps database running at its core. Developers may be surprised to learn, then, that there are other solutions out there that can power location-based games. 
One such solution is California-based start-up Candy Lab. GamesIndustry.biz caught up with CEO Andrew Couch to discuss whether there is room for more games akin to Pokémon Go and how such titles can build on the foundations laid by the monster-catching app's phenomenon. The most important message Couch had for developers is that, while the technology is out there, creating such a title is no easy task. Developers need to think beyond the map and explore the real world it represents.
"The best way to do this is unfortunately the long way," he told GamesIndustry.biz. "Build your game one location at a time so you know specifically where you're sending your players. Someone died playing Pokémon Go because they walked off a cliff. If the developer cared about people's lives, they would never have placed a location icon that you have to be within five metres to collect next to a cliff.
"Developers needs to step out of thinking like a developer or technologist, and visualise what older people, younger people, people who speak different languages, and the public in general are going to think when they go to any location the game sends them to. Think about that first, then build an experience around that."
Couch elaborated on the responsibility for studios to be mindful on the locations they use in these games, reminding them that virtual stops are broadcast 24 hours a day. If a point is in a particularly bad neighbourhood, is there the potential for someone to walk down a dark alley at 4am while playing?
"If yes, then don't put a stop there," Couch stressed. "It sounds like common sense but it's so easy for developers to write a script that pulls all the locations in and superimposes it on a map. That will give them 1,000 locations in one city, but it also leads to the possibility of someone walking off a cliff."
The Candy Lab exec advises developers to physically go to each location, if possible. Obviously this is highly impractical when building a title that spans the globe, but if the experience is more centralised or the studio is preparing for a local beta test, putting the team into the players' shoes can dramatically influence and potentially improve the game.
"Before you sit down to build your game, have your locations in mind, the ones your first experience is going to be launched in," said Couch. "Go to each one so you can feel what your users are going to feel when they're there, so when you're back home at your computer you're setting it up in a way that you know is going to work well in that particular spot."
Pokémon Go's locations have caused a lot of trouble for Niantic. In addition to the death of a man falling from a cliff, various complaints and lawsuits have been filed by people claiming the studio is to blame for Pokémon hunters trespassing on their private property. Most recently it was revealed Niantic would be taken to court in The Hague after users flocked to a protected beach in the Netherlands. 
The long-term for location-based
While Pokémon Go continues to break new records, Niantic's release has suffered huge drops in active users in the last few months. This can partly be attributed to updates and fixes that affected the game's balance, but Couch believes there's another crucial factor behind its decline. 
"Our opinion is that the game mechanics weren't good enough to keep people going, and once you've collected all the content pieces, there's no reason to use it," he said. 
"Something we'd like to see developers do in future is not just think of a game with a start and an end, think of a way to loop it so the experience continues on. If there's 20 dragons users have to collect within a city, what happens after that last dragon has been captured? Are there more dragons in different locations? Do players restart? Developers need answers to these questions before they launch."
Candy Lab is confident that location-based games have "a healthy future" ahead of them, hopeful that Pokémon Go wasn't just some flash in the pan. Naturally, the pull of the brand contributed significantly to the game's success, but Couch believes the title has "woken people up" to the power of this technology - not just among the public, but within the industry.
One growth area he expects to see taking shape over the new few years is non-gaming brands and marketers getting involved in location-based titles. Again, Pokémon Go has led the way here with McDonald's sponsoring the game in order to set up 3,000 of its Japanese outlets into gyms for users to battle over.
"Companies are not going to buy an app like Pokémon Go, or make their own - they just want people to come into their stores and buy things," said Couch. "So they'll pay to have an in-game lure outside their store. They would look at what location-based games or AR apps are based in their city and target the ones with the largest user bases."
Couch has one last piece of advice for developers: optimise for older devices. While it can easy as a tech-centric industry to assume users are keeping up to date with the latest handsets and focus on the processing and graphical power these afford, their user bases are smaller than you might expect.
"More people out there have iPhone 4s and old Android phones than we all think," he said. "A lot of us are forward tech, so we think everyone out there has the iPhone 7 or Apple Watch Series 2. But they don't. The average person has tech that's two or three years old."

What Pokemon Go Can Teach Event Marketers

Harry Hallman
MC2
September 14, 206

Do you picture the typical Pokemon Go player as a teenager with nothing better to do than to chase a mythical creature? We did too until we saw these stats:
  • The average age of a Pokemon Go player is 31 years old
  • 48% are women
  • 34.6% of players earn over $100K per
  • 19.6 % earn between $50K and $100K per year.
We think Pokemon Go-like games can be used at trade shows, conferences and consumer events. And other trade show experts agree. In fact, there is a company dedicated to location positioning and augmented reality just for this purpose.

The Event Advantage

We asked Candy Lab, Inc. how easy it might be to create such programs. Candy Lab has developed an augmented reality platform they call Candy Bar that allows a company to create and control its own Pokemon Go-like programs. Once Candy Lab creates
Candylab technology can be used at trade shows, conventions, and consumer events to provide a fun, interesting and reasonably-priced branding, promotional, or informational tool. We brainstormed just a few possible applications.
Trade Shows 
Visitors are enticed to visit each section of the company’s trade show booth and, using augmented reality, collect virtual symbols the company has created. They are then entered into a contest to win a prize, invited to a VIP party or receive a reward depending on how many symbols they collect.
Consumer Events
Geo-located symbols are placed at various locations at an outdoor event. Attendees capture them (i.e. touches the symbol of their smart-phone) and receive a message that directs them to a specific site or provides codes to redeem free product samples or invitations to special event activities.
Product Information
Bluetooth beacons can trigger augmented reality symbols or icons outside a minimum radius of approximately two feet. When products are displayed at least two feet apart, a visitor can capture a symbol for an individual product, product information can be displayed, texted or emailed to them.
Pokemon Go may be the defining moment of summer 2016, but its legacy maybe the introduction of augmented reality to real-time events

Press Release: Candy Lab Inc. attends “Tech Day LA” at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles


LOS ANGELES, Calif., September 22, 2016—As Candy Lab nears the end of a great week at Tech Day LA, the best has truly been saved for last. Tech Day LA comes to a close with their exhibit held at The Reef in Los Angeles, September 22. Candy Lab is proud to be a part of the strong, Southern California “start-up” ecosystem. Candy Lab’s 9-axis sensor fusion engine and proprietary mobile marketing platform, CandyBAR® (Blended-Augmented-Reality) proves to be a game-changer in the emerging mobile augmented reality space.


Candy Lab, the leader in location-aware augmented reality content management and delivery currently offers the only “white-label” marketing app platform that utilizes GPS, Beacon, and Augmented Reality to deliver content when and where it matters.  Complete with a management system and specifically designed for rapid onboarding and deployment, the CandyBAR® platform connects marketers and users with virtual promotions, advertisements, rewards, or any relevant content with its hyper-aware, augmented reality location technologies.

“Candy Lab is so well positioned to bring AR to the masses because at the foundation, we are core tech…we’ve built and own our 9 axis sensor fusion engine that enables anyone who wants to get their hands on this tech to do so!“ Proclaims CEO and co-founder Andrew Couch. “Further, we’ve also wrapped a white-label app publishing platform (CandyBAR®)  around our engine and we know it offers the path of least resistance for marketers to engage and communicate with their target audience through an exciting, non-intrusive mobile layer,” he said.  “Our platform was purposefully designed for ease of use with all parties in mind!  The marketers, consumers, or even mom and pop shops that want to leverage our technology…If you can check out on Amazon, you can manage your own private-label CandyBAR® powered campaign.”

Brands, Marketers, and Savvy Investors—join Candy Lab and a host of exciting other start-ups at Tech Day LA on September 22nd, 2016 at The Reef, Los Angeles. We’ll be on location, ready to augment your reality!

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For more information, please visit candylab.com or contact Andrew Kirkland at Andrew.kirkland@candylab.com | 619.709.7727


Press Release: Candy Lab, Inc. announced as one of the Top 50 Startups at Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year Competition

SAN JOSE, Calif., September 22, 2016— Candy Lab, Inc., the leader in location-based augmented reality technology and delivery currently offers the only “white-label” marketing app platform that utilizes GPS, Beacon, and Augmented Reality to deliver content when and where it matters, is one of the Top 50 Startups competing in Consumer Technology Association and Tech.Co’s Innovate! and Celebrate Global Conference.

Candy Lab, Inc. is proud to be a part of the strong group of start-ups competing at the conference this year. The competition gives Candy Lab the opportunity to pitch their company and demo their Augmented Reality Technology at The Fairmont hotel and Glasshouse in San Jose, CA.

Candy Lab’s 9-axis sensor fusion engine and proprietary mobile marketing platform, CandyBAR® (Blended-Augmented-Reality) proves to be a game-changer in the emerging mobile augmented reality space. Complete with a management system and specifically designed for rapid onboarding and deployment, the CandyBAR® platform connects marketers and users with virtual promotions, advertisements, rewards, or any relevant content with its hyper-aware, augmented reality location technologies.

“Candy Lab is so well positioned to bring AR to the masses because at the foundation, we are core tech…we’ve built and own our 9 axis sensor fusion engine that enables anyone who wants to get their hands on this tech to do so!“ says CEO and co-founder Andrew Couch. “Further, we’ve also wrapped a white-label app publishing platform (CandyBAR®) around our engine and we know it offers the path of least resistance for marketers to engage and communicate with their target audience through an exciting, non-intrusive mobile layer,” he said.  “Our platform was purposefully designed for ease of use with all parties in mind!  The marketers, consumers, or even mom and pop shops that want to leverage our technology…If you can check out on Amazon, you can manage your own private-label CandyBAR® powered campaign.”

Savvy Investors — join Candy Lab and a host of exciting other start-ups at Innovate! and Celebrate conference from September 20th, 2016 - September 22nd, 2016 at The Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA. We’ll be on location, ready to augment your reality!


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For more information, please visit candylab.com or contact Andrew Couch at Andrew@candylab.com| 858.699.3535


Pokémon Go Experiences For Events. No Waiting.

By Michelle Bruno
EventTechBrief
July 19, 2016

The Pokémon Go mobile game is a spectacular hit. Millions worldwide are playing it and augmented reality is finally on the map in a big way. So naturally, brand marketers have been thinking overtime about how to translate the love for game play and capturing, battling, and training Pokémon creatures into a marketing channel.
Brand strategists aren’t the only deer caught in the headlights of the Pokémon Go craze. If LinkedIn posts are any indication, event marketers are also pondering the possibilities of Pokémon Go-like experiences in live events. UFI CEO Kai Hattendorf wrote glowingly about the potential of augmented reality in trade shows.
The good news is that the industry won’t have to wait for a developer to build an augmented reality mobile application suitable for temporary, in-person events. CandyBAR® has existed for five years. It’s good to “go” now for brands and events wanting to tap into the excitement of Pokémon Go.
Candy Lab, the creators of the CandyBAR tool suite, refers to its product as blended augmented reality because, while it works outdoors with GPS technology, it automatically changes to Bluetooth beacon technology when users move indoors (unlike the GPS-only platform on which Pokémon Go is based).
CandyBar is a white-label mobile app that lets users view objects in the real world using the camera on their mobile devices and when they do, the augmented reality engine (located on the remote Candy Lab server) shows them an extra “layer” of content: photo, text, web URL, or video. It relies on cellular service or WiFi to function. Game strategy is built into the app with point tallies and a leaderboard.
The CandyBar dashboard allows event organizers or agencies to monitor multiple apps and campaigns and create their own customized user experiences. They can load fun facts (content), offers (a code that can be redeemed for rewards), quizzes, and the images that appear when users zero in on the GPS coordinates or beacons.
Campaign creators can set the distances within which the virtual object is discoverable so that users can actually be guided toward a destination using multiple coordinates or beacons with diminishing distance limits. They can craft hello and goodbye messages when users come within range or leave coordinates/beacon signal range.
The use cases for events are obvious: placing beacons at exhibition booths so that exhibitors can deliver bite-sized collateral to passersby, conducting giant scavenger hunts paid for by sponsors, or using the app to help attendees find and network with each other. The game interface makes it all more fun and less intrusive. The location-data byproducts are a bonus for organizers.
CandyBar was the technology behind stl250, a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the city of St. Louis, Missouri. Candy Lab helped create “Cakeway to the West,” featuring 4-foot-tall ornamental birthday cakes placed at 250 important locations around the city. Users checked in to view information about each of the sites using augmented reality and local businesses offered coupons and promotions.
Before Pokémon Go, event organizers weren’t that interested in augmented reality technology. “Prospective buyers had no idea what augmented reality was. We had to sell as location-based technology. It was frustrating having to downplay the technology we worked so hard to build,” explains Andrew Couch, co-founder of Candy Lab.
Since Pokémon Go landed, things have changed for Candy Lab. The sales pitch, “Pokémon Go experiences fully branded for the event at $1,250 a month (excluding beacons) for both iOS and Android,” immediately resonates. And while there are skeptics—event organizers who believe that game play distracts users from the actual purpose of the event—Couch’s experience proves otherwise. “It’s just not true,” he says.
The company that bootstrapped itself with funds from friends and family five years ago is now being courted by serious venture capital firms and working on ways to streamline the surge of inquiries and demo requests. “It’s put us back into no-sleep mode, that’s for sure. The sales cycle is much shorter. We have already sold a few apps this week alone,” Couch says.
While the app is user friendly and affordable, it’s only the starting point for a compelling attendee experience. Some of the reasons Pokémon Go is a success is that Nintendo leveraged the nostalgia of a popular brand in addition to utilizing proven, familiar technology. The formula will be the same for event organizers.
Setting GPS coordinates, entering beacons codes, and uploading images and content are only some of the tasks required to create a Pokémon Go-like experience. In addition to the CandyBar platform, event organizers will need to employ a creative approach that aligns with event objectives and an experienced technical team to manage beacon placement and connectivity. Luckily, the timing is right for Candy Labs and the event industry to just Go.

Pokémon Go Craze Creates Buzz for Startups, Other Local Companies

By Deirdre Newman
Orange County Busines Journal
August 16, 2016

Augmented reality has always been in the shadows of its more famous parent, virtual reality. That all changed in a big way in July when Pokémon Go took the world by storm. OC startups with an AR focus have since seen a surge of interest from clients and investors. 
The augmented reality version of the original Pokémon game lets players capture, battle and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. Augmented reality is an aspect of virtual reality that applies computer graphics, information or animation to the real world. 
Pokémon Go already has earned $200 million in global revenue in its first month, according to news reports. It was developed by San Francisco-based startup Ninantic Inc. 
Local companies are positioning themselves to take advantage of the craze.
“While consumers are having fun playing a game, marketers, brands and digital strategists that have the big bucks are starting to look at the tech and see how they can apply it toward their brand,” said Andrew Couch, chief executive of Irvine-based Candy Lab Inc., a startup focused on developing software for location-based AR experiences. 
“We know this because we’re getting contacted by many brands and marketers on a daily basis asking how they can use that tech for their own mobile apps.”
AR Startups
Candy Lab now is in conversations to build games for some “big” companies in the gaming and movie industries that Couch said he couldn’t disclose. The potential deals are a direct result of the popularity of Pokémon Go, he said.
The startup’s AR software is more advanced than Ninantic’s because it uses beacon technology that allows indoor use, in addition to GPS technology, which allows only outdoor use, Couch said. Candy Lab has the only other location-based AR engine in the world aside from Ninantic’s, according to his research.
“Since we’ve already built [our software engine] and refined it over the years and built a white-label application with a content management system, it’s not that hard for us to go full on,” he said. “We can just build a game experience around [the engine] and release a new app. The AR engine itself is the hard part.”
Candy Lab, since the release of Pokémon Go, signed a deal with the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. The garden will provide the app to its visitors so they can collect virtual items around the garden and learn about the various exhibitions. Users can collect and earn points and then receive coupons or giveaways at its gift shop, said Gilda Campos, Candy Lab co-founder and chief creative officer.
Rather than perpetuating couch potato living, as video gaming is often accused of doing, Pokémon Go enables players to get to know the environment outside their front doors.
“What Pokémon Go is really teaching everyone is that younger kids will get up and walk around their cities,” Couch said. “They will go to the middle of soccer fields in the middle of the night. Imagine putting that power inside a business or city to make visitation a little more engaging.”
Another local startup also has seen increased exposure to potential investors and clients as a result of Pokémon Go. Well Told Entertainment, based at Chapman University incubator the Leatherby Center in Orange, is an AR and VR production company with a focus on game design and narrative content. 
The company launched last October, and Pokémon Go’s success has helped it explain the concept of AR to potential investors and clients, said co-founder and Chief Executive Matthew Rebong. 
“I think Pokémon Go was a really good starting point to introduce AR to the public,” he said. “It’s really exciting, at least for us as a startup, that AR could pick up so much traction as quickly as it did, because it helps validate the concept and helps us explain to the general public what we’re actually trying to achieve. It opened up a lot of doors for us.”