Sketchfab is a website used to display and share 3D content online. The company behind it was launched in France and is today based in Paris and New York City. It provides a 3D model viewer based on the WebGL technology that allows to display 3D models on any mobile, desktop webpage or VR headset. Sketchfab took part in the Spring 2013 TechStars New York City startup accelerator program, raised $2 million in December 2013 and $7 million in June 2015.
The main product of Sketchfab is a 3D model viewer. It enables viewers to move freely around or inside the 3D scene using mouse or touch manipulation. In addition to static 3D models, the viewer is able to play and control 3D animations. Finally, viewers can enable the VR mode to make the model viewable in Virtual Reality headsets.
The 3D viewer is used on the Sketchfab website but can also be embedded on external websites, notably on Facebook or Wordpress. Sketchfab provides a community portal, where visitors can browse, rate and download public user generated 3D models. Users of Sketchfab have profile pages and premium users have a dedicated online portfolio featuring their creations. Sketchfab users can choose to make their 3D model files available for download under Creative Commons licenses, this feature places the Sketchfab website as a 3D printing marketplace since some downloadable models are compatible with 3D printing.
3D models can be uploaded to Sketchfab from its website or directly from various 3D software, using plugins (for example for 3ds Max or SketchUp) or natively (from Blender or Adobe Photoshop).
Sketchfab was initially created by entrepreneur and 3D developer Cédric Pinson under the domain name ShowWebGL in early 2011. He was joined in early 2012 by Alban Denoyel, and they relaunched the site under the name Sketchfab in March 2012. Pierre-Antoine Passet joined as CPO in September 2012.
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The startup was part of the third batch of the French startup accelerator Le Camping in June 2012. It was later selected into Mozilla’s WebFWD accelerator program during that same year. The year after, Sketchfab was selected in the Spring 2013 TechStars class in New York City.
In February 2013, Sketchfab raised an angel round of 370,000 euros. Less than one year after, in December 2013, Sketchfab raised $2 million from Balderton Capital with Partech Ventures, Borealis Ventures, David Cohen and existing angel investors also participated in the funding. In June 2015, Sketchfab raised a $7 Million Series A led by FirstMark Capital.