A number of startups are vying to surpass Canva and unseat Adobe’s hegemony in three-dimensional modeling. PixCap, a newly funded participant, is entering the fray with a web-based, no-code 3D design tool.
Singapore-based PixCap, which was established in 2020, recently received $2.8 million from a seed funding round. It was a part of Surge’s seventh cohort, which was led by Sequoia Capital India and Southeast Asia. Along with Michael Gryseels, angel investor Cocoon Capital, Entrepreneur First, and others attended.
PixCap’s CEO CJ Looi is growing the business as the web experience transitions from 2D to 3D, as he put it. The founder noted in an interview that over the past two years, tech companies like Foodpanda, Alibaba, Shopee, TikTok, Meituan, and Lazada have all started to incorporate 3D elements into their logos, advertisements, and landing pages.
Looi, who previously worked on 3D vision and deep learning at robotics startup Dorabot, which is backed by Kai-Fu Lee’s Sinovation Ventures and Jack Ma-founded YF Capital, suggested that these are not special, complex 3D assets created for movies or video games, but rather straightforward designs like a brand mascot that are reusable across a firm’s marketing campaigns to “enhance user engagement.”
The founder continued, “The trend is moving toward interaction. “The advantage of 3D that 2D doesn’t offer is that in 3D, a lot of the content uses 3D animation. Therefore, something that can be used in ads, landing pages, and apps is much more beneficial to a brand than having 2D in some places and 3D in others.
Cyril Nie, co-founder and CTO at PixCap, noted that designers with expertise in 3D animation are “some of the rarest talents you can find.” Many creators are intimidated by the complexity of legacy software like Adobe, even when they want to advance their careers by learning 3D skills. According to a recent conversation Looi had with a Gojek executive, the Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant spent “close to $200,000 on a branding agency just to create 3D icons for their apps, landing pages, and social media.”
For most startups, the costs of adopting 3D are too high. In the same way that Canva made 2D designs more widely available, PixCap wants to make the switch to 3D more affordable. Marketers can quickly create a 3D social media graphic on PixCap using its library of templates instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars hiring a designer for a one-time campaign. It only takes a few clicks for someone without prior 3D experience to rotate, change the color, and adjust the lighting of objects to match their brand’s color scheme.
Approximately a third of the platform’s over 30,000 users are currently located in North America, followed by major markets like India, Indonesia, and the United Kingdom.
The primary way that PixCap differs from established players is through its web-based drag-and-drop interface. In comparison to more recent online solutions, like the Y Combinator-backed Spline, it offers more editable templates and “robust” 3D animation capabilities, which Looi claimed is the logical progression from static 3D images.
PixCap is developing a contributor marketplace to increase its competitive advantage in templates by enabling creators to quickly and easily sell their products. This will help to keep the platform updated with fresh 3D assets.
The 15-person PixCap team is dispersed across five different countries: India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, France, and Russia, which is typical of many SaaS startups today. The new round’s proceeds will be used for product development, community building, global expansion, and hiring for the engineering and marketing teams.