Lithuania-based 3D model marketplace CGTrader has been around since 2011, doubling its user population in 2014 and 2015, thanks to its popular contests and fun designs, along with the important partnerships it’s formed. Last year, CGTrader was named the largest 3D model marketplace in the world – it currently boasts more than 600,000 3D models for computer graphics, video production, advertising, virtual and augmented reality, gaming, and other industries. The marketplace is backed by a professional designer community, and gives 3D artists, design studios, and businesses a friendly place to share and sell their models, and earn the highest royalties in the market.
But while CGTrader is leading in 3D model supply, there are a lot of other popular 3D model marketplaces out there, and CGTrader needs to make sure it stays on top of its game. Today the company is announcing that it has raised €2 million ($2.34 million) in investment funding, which will be used to scale the business in order to serve the always-growing demand for quality 3D models.
“From our point of view, though it may seem a bit slower than in the past years, 3D printing is still steadily growing and finding its way into various industries from manufacturing to healthcare. CGTrader also has a strong and very loyal 3D designers base specializing in printable 3D assets, which remains the second most popular type of assets available on CGTrader. With the new investment round, CGTrader is looking forward to ease workflows for designers shortening time needed to upload models to the marketplace and start selling faster, so we truly believe this will benefit 3D artist community, including the 3D printing enthusiasts,” the company tells 3DPrint.com.
“While humans experience the world in three dimensions, most of technology apps today still require interaction with a flat screen in 2D. This is about to change,” said Dalia Lasaite, CEO and Co-Founder of CGTrader. “Enabled by technologies such as spatial computing, augmented reality (ARKit, ARCore, AR Studio), virtual reality and WebGL, 3D is becoming the next wave of content towards interactivity and immersion – moving from text to images to video to 3D. By far, the biggest bottleneck in this market is the high cost of 3D content creation. CGTrader is playing a significant role in reducing the cost as well as empowering developers to create 3D applications much faster and more efficiently.”
The investment round was led by venture capital (VC) firm Karma Ventures, which was launched in 2016 and invests in European early stage startups that develop unique technologies.
“Karma Ventures decided to invest in CGTrader as we believe that the importance of 3D content is going to grow significantly in the coming years and there is a great opportunity for CGTrader to become the largest provider of 3D models in the world. We have been following the company for a number of years and think that the team has done excellent job in establishing the company as one of the major sources of 3D models,” said Kristjan Laanemaa, partner at Karma Ventures. “Their track record convinced us that by having more resources they can scale the business and become the global leader in this space.”
Two of CGTrader’s existing investors, Baltic VC firm Practica Capital and Intel’s strategic investment organization Intel Capital, also participated in the funding round, which is necessary to strengthen the company’s presence in the US, currently the largest market for 3D content. In addition, CGTrader needs to accelerate its marketplace growth, as well as build an infrastructure that will make workflows easier for the over 1.1 million professionals using the platform.
The CGTrader platform lets designers communicate directly with their customers, and it only takes a 20-30% commission on 3D models, which the company notes are “the best terms in the market.” So, customers who are sourcing its 3D models to use in their own projects are actually participating in lowering the cost, but increasing the creation, of 3D content, which is the biggest bottleneck issue when it comes to market growth for 3D technologies.
Donatas Keras, a partner at Practica Capital, said, “We are very happy that Karma Ventures is joining CGTrader as investor. We have been with the company from early days and the journey was very interesting. Now, with additional resources and experience brought by Karma, we see even more possibilities for the company.”
Before this investment round, CGTrader was self-sustainable, but it will now be able to use this funding to grow more quickly, as well as, the company says, “capitalize on the opportunity in the rapidly growing 3D market.”
Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[This article updated 12/13/17 to include messaging from CGTrader]