I was thrilled to hear last week that Sketchfab, which aims at becoming YouTube for 3D design ("the world is in 3D. the web is in 2D. we bring 3D to the web," with obvious, enormous implications for retailers and anyone who is trying to sell a product online or display a 3D online portfolio, among others), had raised $2 million in its latest round of funding. This brings its total funding to $2.62 million. I like the company not only because it offers a unique service that could change the way objects are displayed on the Internet, but also because it was co-founded by the husband of my visiting doctoral student, both French expats like me.
In only 1 1/2 year of operations (it all started in May 2012 in Paris), Sketchfab has won several business plan competitions and was selected to be part of the Spring 2013 batch of the TechStars NYC startup accelerator program. It is also an alumnus of the Le Camping and WebFWD accelerators. Because the product is web-based, it requires no special plugin. It now has almost 100,000 users and is said to generate more than 3 million page views a month.
You can watch Alban Denoyel - Victoire's husband and Sketchfab's CEO - discuss his company in the YouTube video below, which also displays some stunning examples of what Sketchfab can do. (The two other founders are Cedric Pinson, Sketchfab's CTO and Pierre-Antoine Passet, Sketchfab's CPO [Chief Product Officer].)
You can also read his blog post to Sketchfab users - not only videogame designers but architects, engineers, archeologists and artists - after the company raised its latest new round of funding. (It even has a 3D picture of an Amazon Prime Air drone, uploaded to Sketchfab by user Mestaty.) In Denoyel's words: "We are now a vibrant community of fantastic talents from widespread industries. The models you uploaded have travelled the web, showing it was possible to bring 3D content to a new audience, and establish it as a legitimate media format next to photos and videos."