ThreeKit, a startup that helps ecommerce clients turn static images into interactive 3D presentations, raises $10M seed round (Kyle Wiggers/VentureBeat)

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A picture’s worth a thousand words, but what about a three-dimensional rendering? Ask ThreeKit — it’s in the business of creating 3D renderings for clients such as Crate and Barrel, Steelcase, and CIROC. The Chicago startup’s product configuration and visualization platform enable brands to create interactive three-dimensional “experiences,” such as product tours and comparison tools. And in just a few short months the company has attracted the attention of investors.

ThreeKit today announced that it has raised $10 million in seed capital from serial entrepreneur Godard Abel, who previously cofounded BigMachines (which was acquired by Oracle in 2013) and SteelBrick (which Salesforce snatched up in 2015). CTO Ben Houston, a 15-year Hollywood veteran who created visual effects software that has been used in the Harry Potter franchise, The Avengers, Titanic, and over 100 other films, said the cash would be used to fund talent acquisition and product and business development.

“Traditionally, visualization technologies have been clunky and difficult to use, but ThreeKit is a holistic platform that allows sellers to create their own interactive product experiences for their web stores,” Houston said. “[Though they were] originally built for Hollywood, we saw a major opportunity to bring this technology to ecommerce, and are leading a new standard of product experience in the industry.”

ThreeKit’s platform basically takes the grunt work out of computer modeling. Customers load their products in and tap a dashboard of options to create, edit, and optimize display content for use in product configurators, sales aids, or augmented reality and virtual reality apps. One use case ThreeKit touts pretty heavily is photorealistic images: With no more than a 3D model of a product, it says, brands can add colors, textures, and lighting; set camera angles; and generate images and thumbnails of “all product permutations.”

To display that and other generated content, ThreeKit makes use of WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 2D and 3D graphics within compatible web browsers, without the use of plugins. It hosts assets on its servers and offers access to them through an API and embed code.

ThreeKit claims that a few of its ecommerce clients have experienced a 40 percent increase in conversions, an 80 percent reduction in returns, and 20 percent higher order value after trading out static product images for 3D visuals.

“There has been a critical gap in the ability of brands to provide engaging product experiences in their web stores, but ThreeKit is solving for this by fulfilling the touch and feel needs consumers have when shopping online,” Abel said. “It’s clear the company is leading a new generation of immersive and experiential commerce, and I look forward to accelerating its momentum to be a world market leader in 3D visualization technology.”

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