CGTrader started as a scrappy startup for buying and selling 3D files in 2011. The company pushed hard against established competitors to win for attention in the space. Working harder than others in PR and marketing they started to make a name for themselves and grow. The company recently announced that it has “1.5 million users in July 2018” and that the site had over “680,000 3D models.” In 3D printing, Thingiverse is better known for file exchange while TurboSquid and others have traditionally dominated the space for buying 3D assets. The Lithuanian startup with gumption, CGTrader has been giving everyone a run for its money. We interviewed Dalia Lasaite the CGTrader CEO to find out more.
How did your business come to begin?
“CGTrader was founded in 2011 by Marius Kalytis, who worked as a 3D designer and owned a 3D design studio for 15 years prior to starting CGTrader. He saw a lack of a fair and community-focused marketplace that would empower 3D designers. In 2013 I joined the company as a co-founder and we’ve grown from 10,000 users to over 1.5 million in five years.We noticed a niche in the industry which we could fill. 3D designers were not happy with the options they had back then, and we saw the opportunity to create a designer-friendly marketplace.”
What have been key developments in your history?
We have been growing every year since 2011 when CGTrader was founded. The last several years were particularly exciting, as we reached 1 million users a year later, and now we’re at a bit over 1.5 million users and 700,000 3D models on CGTrader. During this time, our team has grown to almost 50 people, as we started really strengthening our position in the industry.
We are proud to have strong partners in growing the business – CGTrader has raised funding from Practica Capital, Intel Capital, and Karma Ventures, which provided a significant boost to our growth.
How do you make money?
“Anyone can join CGTrader and use our services for free. Our business model is based on commissions from successful sales, and we receive 20-30% fee for each sale, which is the lowest rate in the industry.”
Has your business changed significantly over the years?
“Our core business value has not changed in essence, but our projects, ideas and features grow and change a lot as we adapt to the dynamic trends in the 3D industry. Recently, we have been focused on developing 3D technology and introducing new features that make the work of 3D designers easier and save their time. Our marketplace is very responsive to the 3D industry and accommodates new technologies quickly. We built a 3D printing model infrastructure early on, and, more recently, we focused on providing content for VR/AR developers.”
How do most people use your site?
“The most obvious use of our platform is to either sell or buy 3D assets, including software scripts, textures and 3D designs, but our platform has many other uses, among them: the ability to share and download 3D models for free, to showcase works in our gallery, learn and educate others through our tutorials section, chat in the forum and communicate directly with anyone on CGTrader. We also have a freelance 3D Projects section for custom 3D modeling orders.”
How do companies use your site?
“Enterprise customers from various industries including design studios, advertisement agencies, movie producers, AI or game developers buy stock models for their projects. Those that need large numbers of 3D assets can contact our team and get help sourcing whatever they need, including custom orders or freelance 3D design works. We also have an API which makes it possible to easily integrate our assets in to the customer’s software.”
What are your long-term goals?
“CGTrader aims to be the best source of 3D models in the coming 3D era, both in terms of stock 3D assets, and in custom 3D modeling projects.”
Do you see Thingiverse as a competitor?
“Thingiverse has a strong design community, but it mostly covers hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts, which makes it difficult for professional 3D designers to monetize their works. Our user base is more diverse and makes it easier for 3D professionals and paying customers to find each other.”
What new features will you develop as a site?
“We have recently introduced an industry leading marketplace Analytics tool, which lets designers see the demand and supply data on a keyword level. This makes market research a lot easier, so designers can focus on creating assets that are in demand. Last month, we launched a the Batch upload tool, which allows designers to upload their entire library in one sitting, and we’re looking into ways to simplify the publishing process even more. Two other major updates to our platform are coming in the end of 2018, but I cannot reveal them yet.”
Why should I use CGTrader?
“Our fair royalty structure allows designers on CGTrader to offer the best prices to their customers. We also give anyone the ability to directly contact each designer and ask for model adjustments. If you can’t find a 3D model you like on CGTrader, you can create a freelance project and find designers in our community. As you browse through our model database, you can also offer a private project to most designers.”