AR has captured the public’s attention and inspired tech innovators. Consumers and businesses continue to engage with the technology’s signature ways to blend aspects of real and virtual worlds, offering enhanced, immersive experiences that entertain, educate and assist. But how could a company’s AR investments attract buyers and elevate business valuations during M&A cycles?

Positioning Companies as Innovation Leaders

Some business leaders begin working with augmented reality because they don’t want to fall behind competitors who have already adopted it. While that’s an understandable response, a thorough plan for adoption must eventually accompany it. A company’s AR involvement can convince investors and others that they’re leading in the technology industry and accomplishing things worth noticing.

Adopting AR within a business without a clear plan can become a massive waste of resources and fail to deliver the desired outcomes. Decision-makers are more likely to see meaningful results after creating a thorough adoption plan with goals and trackable metrics.

Augmented reality has become a buzzworthy topic that regularly gets investor notice. Consider the case of Chinese AR company Xreal, which had a $1 billion valuation following a January 2024 funding round. Representatives from the seven-year-old company indicated it could produce up to one million of its glasses in 2024, and double that amount next year. Those figures provide investor confidence by setting their expectations.

Companies are also gaining traction by developing AR technologies for specific use cases. One example is Surglasses, which provides 3D overlays of spinal anatomies during patients’ operations and provides decision-support capabilities for spinal surgeons. It raised $6.5 million in a November 2023 funding round.

Examples like these show how AR could impact business valuation if the technology supports a strong history of innovative practices and steady scalability. Those characteristics could increase potential buyers’ confidence and overall interest.

Augmented reality could also influence a company’s selling price. A software company with a $3 million annual net cash flow could sell for five to 10 times that amount, but a consistent track record of boundary-pushing products might further raise the price.

Unforgettable Experiences and Tailored Support

Augmented reality can also be a brand image builder. Selling a fantastic product or service is often no longer enough. Companies must be memorable and show customers creative ways to solve their pain points or make their lives easier. Augmented reality often plays a significant role in such efforts.

Many AR apps support interior design success, showing people various options. They can then see how specific colors, furniture or textiles would look in their spaces before buying those things. In one example, the marketplace site Etsy created an AR experience involving a virtual house people could walk through containing numerous products from the site’s sellers. That approach gave people memorable experiences far beyond reading product descriptions and browsing images.

AR can also elevate customer excitement associated with luxury items. Porsche worked with Google to create an AR experience for a new automobile. Users could place it in their environment, see it in various colors or inspect it from several angles.

Some businesses use augmented reality to support internal processes. Microsoft offers an AR platform to support technicians by providing holographic, audible, and text displays to answer their real-time questions. They can then reduce or eliminate dependence on physical documentation.

Elsewhere, a multinational eyeglasses retailer deployed AR in its stores to get remote IT support for computers and specialized machines. This decision solved issues about 15% faster than previous methods.

These are excellent examples of results that can occur when people see problems and develop AR solutions to solve them. Such efforts can positively impact business valuation by appealing to buyers and highlighting a company’s potential.

Viewing AR as a Market Differentiator

Today’s market is increasingly competitive and there’s no single, guaranteed way to stand out from other entities. However, these examples show how augmented reality can cause the momentum companies need for business valuations and successful sales.

People will get the best results when they show strong evidence of how and why they use augmented reality and what outcomes they achieve. Even though AR causes substantial interest, individuals still want concrete proof of a company’s involvement in the technology.

That aspect likely won’t be the sole factor driving a sale. However, it could position an entity as technologically centered and capable of staying resilient for the foreseeable future.

Devin Partida is Editor-in-Chief at ReHack Magazine and editorial contributor at AR Insider. See her work here and follow her @rehackmagazine.

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