Echo3D raises $5.5M for cloud authoring tools for 3D, AR, and VR content
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Echo3D has raised $5.5 million for cloud storage and streaming of 3D, augmented reality, and virtual reality content for a wide range of applications. Qualcomm Ventures led the round.
The New York company hopes to change the way 3D, AR, and VR content is stored and streamed. The aim is to reduce the file sizes and development times for 3D objects used on websites and apps.
Echo3D focuses on building tools and infrastructure to help developers create lighter and faster 3D games and apps, said Alon Grinshpoon, CEO of Echo3D, in an interview with GamesBeat. That’s a big benefit for the user experience, since no one wants to wait for heavy 3D assets to load after clicking or tapping on something.
“We’ve been heads down business. The last time we spoke, we had around 200 people registered for our platform every week,” Grinshpoon said. “And now we have 400 people registering every week.”
Other investors included Remagine Ventures, Konvoy Ventures, and Space Capital. The announcement comes on the heels of Qualcomm’s previously announced Snapdragon Metaverse Fund and six months after Echo3D’s previous $4 million raise back in October 2021.
“Echo3D’s 3D-first content management platform is redefining how people create 3D, AR and VR experiences,” said Merav Weinryb, vice president of Qualcomm Israel Ltd. and managing director of Qualcomm Ventures Israel and Europe, in a statement. “Their solution helps address the unique challenges of 3D by allowing developers and content creators to easily manage and publish 3D content to their apps in minutes. We’re excited to invest in echo3D to support the creation of next generation content enabled by Snapdragon Spaces technology.”
The investment in Echo3D aligns with Qualcomm Technologies’ efforts to strengthen the XR ecosystem and provide the foundation for the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
Founded in March 2018, Echo3D makes tools and infrastructure to help developers create lighter and faster 3D games and apps. The cross-platform solution stores, manages, and streams 3D content to mobile devices, browsers, game engineers, and smart camera devices anywhere while connecting all of them and extracting analytics.
Before the pandemic, the company had about 300 developers. But once it took hold, lots of companies wanted to develop digital solutions with 3D assets, and so the developer base grew fast into the tens of thousands.
The company found its way to Qualcomm Ventures just in time for the unveiling of its $100 million metaverse fund. Qualcomm jumped on the chance to make Echo3D into its first fund investment. The company didn’t disclose the valuation, but Grinshpoon said it doubled in six months.
“Qualcomm is such a leader when it comes to hardware for AR and VR and their chipset, the Snapdragon,” he said. “The integration between hardware and our software makes total sense. They share the vision that we have that this will be kind of the next iteration of the internet.”
Echo3D is now integrated the Snapdragon Spaces software development kit (SDK). Echo3D has also integrated with Niantic Lighship and 8th Wall to make sure it covers the bases in AR.
The cross-platform cloud solution stores, manages, and streams 3D content to mobile devices, browsers, game engineers, and smart camera devices anywhere while connecting all of them and extracting analytics. The company’s technology also converts, compresses, and optimizes 3D models, animations, and interactive content, and streams them to any smartphone, headset, or browser. Developers using echo3D have built cloud-connected games, AR advertisement campaigns, NFT marketplaces, and more.
Developers using Echo3D have built cloud-connected games, AR advertisement campaigns, NFT marketplaces, and more.
Grinshpoon describes cloud authoring as a kind of Amazon Web Services for 3D.
“It’s a cloud solution that provides tools and network infrastructure for developers and companies who want to build games in the VR experiences, and kind of any metaverse app,” he said. “We handle all the storage and conversion, compression and streaming. Others focus on the graphics or the avatars or whatever. And we actually focus on the invisible stuff, the server setup, conversion, compression, bandwidth, optimization, distributing assets all over the world, on all these different servers.”
Grinshpoon sees progress toward the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, like in novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One.
The metaverse market is set to reach $783.3 billion in 2024 vs. $478.7 billion in 2020, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. But this surge could mean the industry will have a challenge building the backend infrastructure to support the 3D, AR, and VR applications running on these devices, reducing file sizes and development times, and improving usability for developers and users alike.
Echo3D, a Verified Solutions Partner of the Unity game engine, has created a 3D-first content management system (CMS) and delivery network (CDN) that allow developers to build their app backend in minutes, and allow their clients to easily publish content to the 3D games and apps without involving development teams.
Grinshpoon noted that an architecture firm uses Echo3D for its AR models. It uploaded 500 megabytes of assets to the platform for things like 3D models of buildings, and it becomes five megabytes that can be easily streamed to an iOS device.
The company will use the money to expand developer relations efforts and grow our team of developers and marketers. Unity recently named Echo3D a Verified Solutions Partner for the Unity game engine. That will make it easier for devs to use its 3D-first content management system (CMS) and delivery network (CDN) that helps developers build their app backend in minutes, and allow their clients to easily publish content to the 3D games and apps without involving development teams.
The company has 12 employees. The company was started by Ben Pedazur, Alon Grinshpoon, and his twin brother Koren Grinshpoon.
“We are hiring like mad,” Grinshpoon said. “We just want to double down on that and become the go-to cloud solution for 3D and metaverse applications.”
Eze Vidra, managing partner at Remagine Ventures, said in a statement, “3D content usage is skyrocketing, but the infrastructure to create, serve and track 3D content has yet to catch up. There are big opportunities around building an infrastructure layer for the future internet. This is why Remagine Ventures is excited to continue supporting echo3D’s mission to build the cross-platform CMS and CDN for 3D content.”
Echo3D managed to raise money at the right time, just before the economic malaise, fear of inflation, the crypto winter, and other ills took effect.
“Before everyone freaked out, we were able to raise the round,” Grinshpoon said. “But the metaverse isn’t heavily affected. People are still talking about software and doing next-generation apps. So the timing is great.”
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