As Facebook and Apple charge headlong into a more 3D future for the consumer web with big plans for mixed reality headsets, most web content out there is still firmly 2D. And while some are pushing for a completely separate "metaverse" where 3D content lives, that's likely going to be a hard sell for existing web platforms that want to invest resources where the users are today.
VNTANA builds a content management system which helps e-commerce retailers show off products on their sites in glorious 3D, while also allowing users to view objects in augmented reality and try on items virtually. The startup, founded back in 2012, has had a central focus on 3D content for years but has shifted its attention from bringing holograms to live events pre-pandemic to bringing 3D content to storefronts across the web.
"It was always about creating this interactive way for consumers to engage with their products in meaningful ways," CEO Ashley Crowder says.
The startup tells TechCrunch it has raised $10.5 million in Series A funding across multiple raises. Backers of the startup's latest fundings include Mark Cuban, former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, Flexport and Anorak Ventures, among others. The company has now raised $12.5 million in total.
The startup's software suite includes products which optimize large 3D files for quicker loading times so consumers can view every angle of a new product while also allowing e-commerce platforms to leverage the 3D files they already own to craft 2D digitally rendered showroom images and videos, saving time and money on marketing. The company has recently partnered with wholesale management platform Joor and software maker PTC to build out its reach.
Consumers can leverage the startup's software to get a sense of an object's size and real-world appearance in their physical space with augmented reality before making a purchase, something that can lead to fewer returned items, Crowder says.
Despite some major announcements from Apple, Google and Facebook, the developer opportunity for augmented reality has been more limited than many investors in the space expected when the wave of interest first kicked off several years ago. Websites have been slow to embrace 3D content for its own sake, but players like VNTANA have found opportunities to ship experiences that use 3D content to solve known issues for e-commerce retailers while setting them up to be ready for an AR/VR future.