In the artificial intelligence world, there’s no shortage of image or text generators that allow users to spur up content with the push of a button. Alpha3D, a generative AI–powered platform, is a participant of the Startup Battlefield 200 cohort at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 hoping to showcase a technology that can hyperscale digital assets.
Its platform aims to help anyone — regardless of 3D modeling knowledge — to generate 3D digital assets from text prompts or uploaded images within minutes. The digital assets can then be used in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), virtual try-on (VTO), gaming, the metaverse or as an NFT.
The company’s proprietary AI technology was developed internally and has gathered millions of data assets over the past years to scale their platform, Madis Alesmaa, CEO of Alpha3D, said.
Instead of scanning or manual modeling content, Alpha3D’s AI takes an existing 2D image, reads the information from it and constructs a 3D image within a few seconds, he added. Customers can then use that asset in their own gaming environments, metaverses, e-commerce platforms or “wherever they want.”
Its co-founders include Alesmaa, Rait-Eino Laarmann, Shahab Anbarjafari and Mariliis Retter. Alesmaa and Laarmann have backgrounds in building startups, Anbarjafari was a team lead for photogrammetry-based 3D model creation at Rakuten and Retter has prior experience in executive marketing roles.
To date, Alpha3D has raised close to $2 million. Investors include venture capitalists and angel investors like Sebastien Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox; Taavi Rõivas, former prime minister of Estonia; and others from Meta, Slack and PwC, to name a few, according to its deck.
As the hype of the metaverse has seemingly slowed down, many big brands are still experimenting with digital collectibles, or NFTs, among other virtual products, in an effort to meet consumers in a new way. Last year, Nike and Starbucks both launched virtual marketplaces and NFT reward loyalty programs, respectively, in an effort to connect with consumers in a new way.
“What triggered us was the content side,” Alesmaa said. “We felt like everyone was trying to do something with AI visualization and that was the biggest bottleneck for the biggest brands, gaming companies.”
So it’s not a huge surprise that demand for 3D-generated content is still prevalent. Not every big business can (or wants to) create an in-house team to build digital assets, as it’s costly, technical and time-consuming, which is where a service like Alpha3D’s could come in.
“Whether we like it or not, this is where the world is going,” Alesmaa said. “Younger generations are spending so much time inside immersive experiences. It’s going to be another world built on top of our existing world and you need a way to create environments and assets easily.”
The startup’s technology provides users a 3D asset in four to five seconds, compared to some platforms that take a few days to generate, Alesmaa said. The cost is also nominal with the first 50 assets free, but models after that are “max one euro” per model, as the company is not focusing on monetization until later this year, he added. “Right now it’s about user acquisition.”
The company launched in mid-March and has close to 100,000 platform users, with a month-over-month growth of about 40% to 45%, Alesmaa shared. It is working with more than 35 companies, including Nvidia, The Sandbox and LVMH. It has 1.4 million contracted ARR and 60,000 MRR, according to its deck.
The next phase of its roadmap will focus on integration and plugging its technology into different infrastructures. “We see ourselves as an infrastructure layer for thousands of businesses out there. . . . They’re struggling with the content side and that’s where we’re stepping in.”