About Von Bismark
“Von Bismark are one of the hottest start ups to emerge from Microsoft Ventures in the last year. We love their idea of bringing ecommerce to the TV so much that we’ve backed them with a global deal to launch The Mall on Xbox One. The Mall expands our reach into interactive entertainment by creating an ecommerce store that brands can channel their products directly through. More importantly it gives existing and new users a totally new and better way to shop by using everything from voice search to virtual try on.”
– Andy McCartney, CEO of Microsoft Ventures UK
Von Bismark plans to bring ecommerce to the TV this year with Microsoft and XBox One. As the developer of interactive ‘physical e-commerce’ applications for use by retailers to engage with consumers, virtually in store and in the home, Von Bismark believes it has a track record in bringing beautifully crafted experiences to users in retail environments.
In June 2014, Von Bismark signed a deal with Microsoft to build an app called The Mall . The Mall is intended to be a store where the 12 million Xbox One users  will be able to buy clothing directly from their TVs.
Planned to launch in Q3 2015, The Mall is a virtual department store where Xbox One users can visit online stores from some of their favourite fashion brands. Users can voice search, view, try on, share and buy from their console.
Von Bismark is creating The Mall to be the closest thing to physically shopping on the high street from home that has ever existed. The Mall will be a curated marketplace of select retailers, with a 15% transaction fee and a monthly media fee to retailers.
Von Bismark was founded in 2012 and became a Microsoft Ventures-backed company in early 2014. It was one of the first companies globally to develop software for the original Kinect camera, which has an infrared (IR) scanner for live motion tracking of humans.
Since inception, Von Bismark has had hundreds of thousands of interactions in shopping centres with its Von Bismark Wardrobe technology – an interface where users try on digital garments in a real-time camera feed – as part of revenue generating commercial projects for global brands.
The deal with Microsoft now means that the Von Bismark offering can now reach a global audience of millions of people. It’s now looking to expand the customer service and accounts team for the launch of The Mall, to fund marketing activity and to provide a 12 month runway.
Between 8.16% and 23.91% of equity is on offer for an investment between £199,879.92 and £707,007.69. Von Bismark will use the funds for the launch of The Mall, specifically:
- Infrastructure costs in 2015;
- Expanding the team and sales pipeline over the next 12 months;
- Additional marketing and advertising in 2015.
Contingent upon the financial success and implementation of the business plan, Von Bismark is currently considering two exit strategies:
- IPO in 5-7 years depending on the rate of growth over the next five years;
- Trade sale to a strategic partner or competitor – likely exits would come from e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Rakuten, or more specific clothing-based companies such as Gap. Other exit possibilities could include partners such as Microsoft, which could target Von Bismark for its technology and knowledge within a new sales channel.