AR, graphic design, and 3D model provider CGTrader is “gearing up for a high-growth stage” after raising $9.5 million in Series B funding.
The investment, provided by VC firm Evli Growth Partners, returning investors Karma Ventures, and the LVV Group, will be used to boost the performance of CGTrader’s online marketplace. As part of the deal, Angry Birds maker Rovio’s ex-CEO Mikael Hed will also join the company’s board, with the aim of scaling its business into new markets.
“I’m grateful for every member of the CGTrader community who put their trust in us and was part of this fantastic growth ride,” said Marius Kalytis, Co-founder and COO of CGTrader. “Our focus remains dedicated to further improving our marketplace and ARsenal enterprise platform to create new opportunities for our community.”
CGTrader’s 3D modelling offering
With a database of 1.1 million models and a community of 3.65 million users, CGTrader claims to be the world’s largest 3D content provider. While the firm does market some 3D printing files, its core business revolves around the sale of models uploaded by professional designers to clients needing them for graphics, VR/AR, and gaming applications.
Essentially, the company’s platform allows designers to showcase and gain royalties from their work, while enabling enterprises to access models that shorten product lead times. However, given that the files listed on CG’s marketplace aren’t specifically designed to be 3D printed, they’re not checked for printability, often leading to incompatibility-based returns.
In an attempt to secure its platform against potential refund abuses, CGTrader has beefed up its capabilities by integrating PolyPort’s 3D asset prevention. The feature is designed to prevent buyers from either reusing or reselling models after returning them, providing Intellectual Property (IP) protection for the firm’s seller network.
CG’s AR $7.5m funding boost
Elsewhere in CGTrader’s offering, its ARsenal software is becoming central to its platform, as it allows users to turn products into realistic interactive 3D models, that can ‘transported’ into the homes of potential clients. The feature is already used by over 370,000 businesses including Nike and Microsoft, and has raised $7.5 million, the company now sees it as one of its key drivers of future growth.
“3D visualizations and AR-powered product experiences allow us to present our products and engage with customers in a completely new way,” explained Alex Hamilton, Head of Technology Innovation at ARsenal customer Made.com. “As we move away from traditional photography to 3D product visualization, CGTrader’s highly photorealistic 3D models allow us to offer compelling brand experiences.”
In addition to expanding on its ARsenal offering, CGTrader intends to utilize its newly-raised capital to improve the performance of its core marketplace, providing users with a better experience. Given that AR technologies are becoming more mainstream, the company is now preparing for rapid growth, thus it considers improving its site’s speed and reliability to be vital to its future success.
Mikael Hed’s decision to join the company’s board is also significant, given that he helped build Rovio from a mobile start-up to a global business. CGTrader will now seek to take advantage of Hed’s experience as a means of scaling its own platform, and providing its catalogue of online assets to clients in new global markets.
3D modelling marketplaces
While CGTrader does market 3D printable models, the 3D printing community is more familiar with dedicated platforms, that offer users files that are tailored to their needs.
London-based marketplace MyMiniFactory (MMF), for instance, lists 3D models that are checked for printability before posting, providing users with a more reliable sourcing solution.
Similarly, companies such as open-source 3D printer manufacturer Prusa Research have opted to launch platforms of their own, to take-on 3D model file sharing sites like MMF. The firm opened its PrusaPrinters marketplace in April 2019, a site dedicated to allowing users to share G-code as well as STL and 3MF files.
Thingiverse is also a popular model repository, and the platform recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. Run by desktop 3D printer producer MakerBot, the marketplace has increasingly become more geared towards educational offerings, especially following the addition of MakerBot Education and Starter Lab.
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Featured image shows CGTrader Co-founders Marius Kalytis and Dalia Lasaite. Photo via CGTrader.