Williams-Sonoma, Inc. acquires AR 3D imaging startup Outward for $112M

Lucas Matney
Furniture and kitchenware giant Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSI) is acquiring augmented reality startup Outward in an all-cash deal for $112 million.

Furniture and kitchenware giant Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSI) is acquiring augmented reality startup Outward in an all-cash deal for $112 million. The furniture mega-brand parent company which operates stores including Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, West Elm and others will be using the startup's 3D imaging tech to "enhance and extend its high-touch customer service platform, and to develop technologies with Outward that further transform the shopping experience for home furnishings," the company says.

Outward, founded in 2012, works similarly to many other furniture visualization startups, capturing 3D information about partner products then allowing consumers the ability to see exactly what the product they want looks like, changing things like the object's color or pattern in the process. The team has also experimented heavily with things like augmented reality and VR visualization. The San Jose, Calif. startup raised $11.5 million from Merus Capital.

“Outward brings proprietary and transformative technology at the forefront of our industry, and we welcome them to WSI,” Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber said in a statement.  “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."

The company is going to function as a subsidiary of WSI and will retain its current brand and will continue to be led by co-founder and CEO Clarence Chui. The all-cash deal is expected to close at the end of this calendar year.

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