Snatch, an augmented reality treasure hunt app which allows users to win real prizes from brands, has raised £4.4m in seed funding from a group of investors including LastMinute.com founder Brent Hoberman.

Described as an evolution of brand marketing wrapped up in an AR treasure hunt, Snatch works by using a player's smartphone location paired with augmented reality to transform their immediate surroundings into an interactive playground.

Players then compete to seek out and steal virtual parcels. If a user can successfully keep and defend their parcels for six hours, they can them open them to redeem real prizes, including cash, holidays, products, gig tickets or experiences.

Since its Beta launch last year, the app claims to have attracted 500,000 users with more than 120 well-known brands joining its platform, including Heineken, Deliveroo, Missguided, Boohoo, Gousto, Virgin Wines, Samsung.

"We want to challenge how brands reach and engage consumers, and in doing so we’re shaking up both gaming and marketing, through the use of augmented reality, to deliver more to both," said co-founder and CEO Joe Martin.

"This investment will allow us to push ahead with our plans to create a truly game-changing product in the UK and expand Snatch worldwide, beginning in the US.”

The funding round was led by Initial Capital with participation from LastMinute.com founder Brent Hoberman’s First Minute Capital, CrunchFund, Simon Equity Partners Cassius Family Fund, Hanson Asset Management, Velocity Technology Fund and Silicon Valley Bank.

Brent Hoberman said: "We always look for globally ambitious founders building businesses with digital at their core and we’re confident that Snatch is precisely that: a digital-first business at the cutting edge of consumer technology that’s exploiting new emerging technologies to redefine how brands market to consumers.

"Snatch has created an entirely new format and we’re thrilled to be working closely with the team.”

Snatch was founded by Joe Martin and Jamal Hirani in 2016 and has previously received funding from Unilever Ventures. The app has offices in London and San Francisco and will use the funding to grow the app in the UK as well as start planning towards a global expansion, with a US launch on the horizon.

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