LDJ Futures, a live events tech accelerator launched by LDJ Productions, will be investing in Candy Lab, an industry disruptor from southern California that was named the top Augmented Reality company around by U.S. News in 2014.
Through its Futures Innovation Fund, LDJ Futures is on a mission to support startups like Candy Lab who are bringing the newest experiential technologies to live events. The first project on the duo’s docket: designing a new experience-enhancing AR solution for attendees of the upcoming New York Fashion Week in February.
LDJ Productions has worked as the agency producer behind the event and is leveraging this relationship to help Candy Lab launch their new “See Now, Buy Now” AR solution to select clients. Though details on the product are few, it will apparently allow attendees to instantly purchase products seen on the catwalk, rather than waiting for the merchandise to debut in stores.
But Fashion week is only a first step. Together the two are looking to make waves in an extremely lucrative industry that’s in the midst of a transformation. Live events contribute $115 billion to annual GDP in the US alone. But what is becoming more and more essential for drawing crowds is event technology like Virtual Reality, crowd streaming, facial recognition, and of course Candy Lab’s specialty, Augmented Reality.
In a contribution to Forbes, Cherie Hu points out how millennials attending events these days not only crave these new technologies, but demand them. Meanwhile, the latest advancements in event tech open up a treasure trove of possibilities for event managers as well.
Technologies like AR – think Pokémon Go – allow attendees new levels of engagement with events and to immerse themselves into the experience in unprecedented ways. These same technologies enable event managers to cater to the public’s preference for cashless spending, to collect metrics on attendees’ experience, and to resolve issues of limited physical space with expansive virtual experiences, to name just a few of the technologies capabilities.
LDJ Futures aims to meet the growing demand for new and innovative technologies by investing in a cohort of startups. Candy Lab – a startup perhaps most known for designing the longest and largest AR adventure ever in the US, a virtual scavenger hunt for 250 virtual ornamental birthday cakes hidden throughout St. Louis – will be the first of these investments for LDJ Futures.
LDJ is “investing in the world’s best experiential technologies and then proactively offering them to the corporate clients of LDJ Productions,” says Garnet Heraman, Managing Director of Investments at Futures Innovation Fund. LDJ is “confident,” Heraman says, “that Candy Lab will become the AR platform of choice for many corporations and their digital marketing agencies.”