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The myth and reality of startup “slumdog millionaire” Ambarish Mitra

In a few months, Ambarish Mitra will arrive in Monaco as a contender in Ernst & Young’s global ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ awards.The chief executive and co-founder of augmented reality app Blippar, one of Britain’s few technology “unicorns”, the name for billion dollar startups, will be there to represent the UK against 60 other countries.When he was nominated last October, EY’s judges called him “a man with big vision” whose social conscience is “driven at least in part by his own early life experiences”, a reference to Mitra’s frequently told tale of triumph over adversity in the slums of Delhi, which prompted the BBC to dub him a “real life slumdog multi-millionaire”.It won’t be the first time Mitra has flown the flag for Britain abroad. Championed by the UK government as one of the finest minds in British technology, he accompanied former prime minister David Cameron on trade trips, and was tapped “to promote British innovation around the world” with the government’s GREAT Britain campaign.Investors have embraced him too. Mitra has raised over 0m for Blippar from the likes of Qualcomm, Lansdowne Partners, Nick Candy and a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. The startup has built an app that recognises real world objects and overlays relevant information; CNBC placed it ninth in its top 50 “disruptors” in the world.

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Kadhim Shubber
He is a freelance journalist who first bought bitcoins so that he could buy a beer at The Pembury Tavern, Hackney’s bitcoin pub. He has reported for Slate, Wired, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times and Ampp3d. He is currently studying for a Masters in Journalism at City University London.

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