Augmented reality (AR) can help customers shop for preview products online before making a purchase, and is a growing area of investment for e-commerce companies. According to a recent survey of 16,000 Snapchat users in 16 markets, 92% of Gen Z’s want to use AR and VR for online shopping.
Now, a South Korean augmented reality (AR) startup called RECON Labs, which allows e-commerce customers to create 3D models in hours by creating a short video of products through the platform PlicAR, has raised $4.4 million. The company will use its Series A funding to increase its workforce and improve its platform PlicAR, which helps automatically convert a 2D image into a 3D representation of its products without special 3D modeling skills.
Seong-hoon Ban, CEO of RECON Labs, told MovieUpdates that the company is working with a number of ecommerce marketplaces and retailers, including furniture companies that want to help their customers visualize products in full-size 3D models in augmented reality.
The company currently offers its services to more than 22 small and medium-sized businesses in South Korea and is in talks with potential clients in the fashion, toy and food sectors, Ban said. Retailers can save time and costs by using PlicAR without having to build their own 3D modeling platform, he added.
RECON Labs claims to have over 10,000 products that convert 2D to 3D content. The platform will allow users to download, upload, view, sell and buy 3D assets in the future through its web-based service, such as Sketchfab, which was acquired by Epic Games in 2021, Ban said.
The startup also recently teamed up with The Sandbox, a San Francisco-based game company, to develop a tool that allows users to create 3D characters and items. RECON Labs says it plans to roll out a 3D creators app next year.
It also aims to open a Silicon Valley office in the fourth quarter of 2022 for expansion in the US.
Previous backers, including Kakao Ventures, Shinhan Capital, Lotte Ventures and Naver D2SF, participated in the latest round, bringing the total to $4.8 million since its founding in 2019. New investors Korea Investment Partners, Hanwha Techwin and Kakao Brain also participated in the Ronde.
“We will create a service that can easily and easily create and use 3D content, just as easily as anyone creating images or video content. Our vision is to grow to provide all types of 3D assets for AR and metaverse environments,” said Ban.