Hexa, a 3D asset visualization and management platform, today announced the closing of a $20.5 million Series A round from Point72 Ventures, Samurai Incubate, Sarona Partners and HTC. According to CEO and co-founder Yehel Attias, the funds will be used for product development and customer acquisition efforts until 2023.
HTC’s participation in the round may seem curious. After all, the company was once one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world – not exactly in the 3D modeling space. But HTC’s focus has shifted more from mobile to VR over the years, and Hexan clearly sees it as a fit with its current — and likely future — business lines.
“The new funding will be used to support the expansion of our existing customers and pursue new customer inflows. We’ve completed an early round to triple our customer base by 2023,” Attias told TechCrunch in an email interview.
Hexa Roots In 2015, Attias was in the retail industry working for brands such as Walmart and H&M. He – like most people – quickly learned that the dressing room experience didn’t translate well to e-commerce. Attias launched Hexa in partnership with Ran Buchnik and Jonathan Clarke as a virtual dressing room platform aimed at streamlining the larger relationship. But he later moved the business into general-purpose technology for VR, AR and 3D-model-viewing experiences.
“Combining AI-powered technology and human ingenuity, Hexa enables brands and retailers to create, manage and distribute 3D models for a variety of use cases including 3D models, AR experiences, lifestyle photos, 360-degree views and promotional videos,” said Attias. They have the ability to develop quality 3D projects in a short amount of time. They can also manage and review their 3D content through our platform.
Lest you think it’s a new idea, there’s a whole bunch of companies developing 3D asset management platforms. Mark Cuban and former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe recently backed VNTANA, whose product allows users to view shoppable items in AR and actually try on items. South Korea’s RECON Labs helps consumers visualize products by creating 3D models in AR. Imperia helps brands like Bloomingdale’s build shopping experiences in virtual reality. Even Snap’s recently gotten in on the game, launching an AR toolkit for turning photos into 3D assets.
So what makes hexane different? Attias said that his service is his competence and strength. Hexa clients can upload an image or use the Hexa API to automatically fetch images from a website. The company’s engineers then create 3D assets and models from the images using AI-powered tools.
In the process, customers can provide live feedback on the model, query Hexa engineers, and prepare the models for use on the web or in AR and VR experiences. Hexa provides a variety of 3D viewing applications for customers to use, including for web and AR, as well as code for embedding models into social media posts and video games.
“We need to invest a lot of manpower to restore Hexan’s production volume as we need to meet customer server requirements and ensure our 3D assets are identical to the source image provided,” Clark said in an email. . “Many efforts have been made to solve this aspect, and today, Hexa can align the 3D property with the source images to ensure that the property is present at the pixel and voxel level.”
AR and VR shopping experiences may be out of reach for most people (at least according to one survey), but Attias believes there’s a huge market to conquer. Already, he says, the 60-employee Hexa has more than 40 brands, including Amazon, Macy’s, Logitech and Crate & Barrel — and has raised $27.2 million in total capital.
Interest in virtual retail spaces, especially of the AR variety, may be growing. 48% of respondents to a McKinsey survey said they are interested in using “metaverse” technology (ie AR and VR) for shopping in the next five years. In turn, 38% of marketer respondents said they are using AR by 2022, up 15% from 23% in 2017.
“Our main competition is animation and graphics studios that use manual and outdated technology stacks,” said Attias. “Like the entire gaming industry, the 3D and e-commerce space has enjoyed a strong tailwind, a must-have for any organization…hundreds of millions of users use our technology and engage with our content every day.”