Camera IQ raises $2.3M to tap augmented reality’s marketing potential

How’s this for a prediction: “Camera media will be bigger than TV.”

That’s according to Camera IQ CEO Allison Wood. By “camera media” she means filters, lenses and other augmented reality effects — Wood told me she’s been studying AR and camera effects for years, including a stint as an assistant professor at the Pratt Institute.

Last year, she founded Camera IQ with COO Sonia Tsao to help companies build marketing and advertising experiences for smartphone cameras. The big tech platforms have also been building their own AR tools (we’ll probably hear more about Apple’s ARKit in just a couple of hours, for example, while Facebook recently launched its own AR studio), but  Wood said it remains “quite a fractured landscape,” one that Camera IQ can help unify with its drag-and-drop tools for creating, deploying and measuring AR content.

“We’ve created an end-to-end fabric that combines AR toolkits, OS platforms and native apps,” she said. “You could make the comparison that we’re kind of the Marketo of the camera.”

Camera IQ is announcing that it has raised $2.3 million in seed funding led by Shasta Ventures, with participation from Presence Capital, GC Tracker, Brilliant Ventures and Act One. Jacob Mullins (who used to work with me at VentureBeat, and who now focuses on AR and VR at Shasta) is joining Wood and Christian Gammill on Camera IQ’s board of directors.

The Los Angeles-based startup already has a number of well-known customers, including Goldenvoice (the company that produces Coachella), Refinery29 and Viacom. Wood said that while Camera IQ’s core business is its “camera experience manager,” it also works with customers on strategy and creative support — partly because there’s so much work to do to explore the medium’s potential.

“From a spatial design standpoint, we’re not talking about advertising and just delivering a coupon,” she said. “We’re talking about laying pathways, laying stories out in the physical world for audiences to engage with and to be compelled by. … They’re engaging with the brand at a deeper level.”