Product visualisation software platform Threekit has announced that it has raised $20m in a Series A funding round to expand its augmented reality and 3D services for brands.

The funding round was led by Shasta Ventures, with additional investment coming from Salesforce Ventures, former pro American footballer Steve Young, Marketo co-founder Phil Fernandex and software as a service entrepreneur Godard Abel.

The startup’s main offering is a software platform that enables brands and retailers to easily create, manage and scale interactive ecommerce experiences, including 3D and augmented reality experiences. These are designed to enhance interaction with customers and drive sales.

The startup was founded in 2005 by Ben Houston, a visual effects software developer whose technology has been used on films including the Harry Potter, Star Wars and Avengers franchises.

How Threekit is taking on ecommerce

Threekit enables businesses to upload product information and design files, which are automatically, turned into 3D visuals or interactive augmented reality experiences.

Brands are able to adjust colours, materials and other configurations as required, with the end results being far cheaper and quicker to reach than through the traditional approach of commissioning a design studio to create custom projects.

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“Buying online takes away the ability to touch and feel a product, so interactive product visuals are critical, especially for highly configurable and sophisticated products,” said Joachim Klein, President of Threekit.

“Commercial photography falls far short of online buyer expectations, and current ecommerce experiences don’t capture how consumers engage with product listing before buying. Threekit overcomes these challenges by enabling incredible virtual product experiences.”

According to Threekit, it reduces marketing costs by almost 90%, while increasing conversion by up to 40% and cutting product returns by up to 90%.

The Threekit platform is already in use by a number of brands, including Crate & Barrel, CIROC and Modarri. In the case of Crate & Barrel, the platform is being used to create photorealistic images of their sofas.

“Poised to fundamentally change” brands’ visual content

The investment will enable Threekit to expand its offering and increase its market reach, with investors seeing significant potential in its platform.

“We look for passionate, entrepreneurial teams who understand what it takes to bring their vision to life, and that describes Threekit perfectly,” said Jacob Mullins, partner of Shasta Ventures.

“Beyond that, Threekit’s product is poised to fundamentally change the way retailers and brands create and manage visual content.”

The backing of Salesforce Ventures also comes with integration into Salesforce Commerce Cloud, increasing the ease with which brands can use the platform.

“Threekit’s integration with Salesforce Commerce Cloud enables companies to seamlessly embed interactive 3D models into their websites, providing customers with unparalleled immersive commerce experiences,” said Matt Garratt, managing partner at Salesforce Ventures.

“We’re thrilled to invest in the Threekit team as they bring their vision for 3D visual configuration and augmented reality to companies around the world.”

Read more: Retail AR friction point removed with online augmented reality launch