One of the great hopes of the UK tech sector, Blippar, has collapsed into administration over a funding row.
The augmented reality firm was co-founded by Ambarish Mitra, and its technology was used in a partnership with the BBC’s Planet Earth II series.
Blippar was one of the UK’s tech “Unicorns” – start-up businesses that are worth $1bn or more.
Mr Mitra became a brand ambassador for the UK to promote British innovation around the world.
He claimed to have founded his business from a Delhi slum, leading him to be dubbed a “real-life Slumdog Millionaire”.
However, the Financial Times ran a profile disputing many of Mr Mitra’s claims about his birth and his business development.
Blippar was founded in 2011 by Ambarish Mitra and Omar Tayeb.
They say they came up with the idea for the company after sharing a joke about the Queen coming to life out of a £20 note.
At one stage, the company said it employed more than 300 people, although that number is believed to have sunk to about 75 at the time of its administration.
Mr Mitra raised money for Blippar from major investors Qualcomm and a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.
However, joint administrators Paul Appleton and Paul Cooper of insolvency firm David Rubin & Partners said Blippar had fallen into administration “effectively as a result of an alleged dispute over continued funding”.
“Following their appointment, the administrators are now exploring all possible options for the future of the business for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
The company’s Twitter feed says: “We’re saddened to announce that Blippar has gone into administration today.
“We’re eternally grateful to all our team members, customers, partners, our board and investors who have been with us on this incredible journey.”