December 11, 2013
Lagoa Raises $5.3M, Will Revolutionize 3D Design and Maybe Even E-Commerce

On Tuesday, Lagoa, the web-based 3D cloud rendering platform, announced that it raised a $5.3M Series A Round of funding. The company, started by Thiago Costa and originally based in Montreal, allows fast manipulation and rendering of 3D objects on the cloud. Talking to lead investor Atlas Venture, Lagoa may have an enormous opportunity not just with professional design and rendering folks, but as the easy-to-use design tool for almost anything imaginable.

Atlas led the Series A, which was also joined by Real Ventures and Siemens. Earlier this year, Lagoa raised a $1.6M Seed Round from Atlas and Real Ventures, as well as Rho Ventures and 500 Startups. The company is planning on using the latest funding to advance its 3D cloud technology and expand its sales and marketing efforts.

In the press release announcing the deal, Atlas's Fred Destin said of the company, "Everything you see around you has been designed in 3D using CAD software. With Lagoa, we're bringing it all to the cloud with an amazing collaborative realtime cloud engine that runs right in your browser and can be used by teams in engineering and design, and [can be] extended all in the way into an e-commerce or 3D printing experience."

I had the opportunity to catch up with Destin (who also wrote a great little blog post about the deal) at our VentureFizz SaaS event on the night that the deal was announced. He explained to me what attracted him to the company.

"If you look at everything around you," he said, "it's been designed by CAD; from the glass you're holding, to a bottle of beer, to that table right there. So you look at the world of 3D and CAD design and most of it is still 'old school' desktop tools."

"Now we are looking at a company where the founder [Costa] has managed a way to take all these CAD models and make them manipulatable online, inside a browser. Which means you can view them, you can render them, you can choose the color, whether its glass or metal or wood, and you can share that with whoever you want," Destin said.

"We are taking the end of the pipeline of design in general and making that incredibly flexible, web-based, shareable, and accessible to any user. Which I think is a very big deal."

When I asked him about the differences/relationship between Lagoa and GrabCAD, the Boston-based CAD sharing platform, Destin explained how Lagoa is being used by GrabCAD, "powering the rendering engine that is inside of GrabCAD."

As for the vision of what Lagoa could be capable of in the near future, he explained, "I think you start with 3D designers and professional users (designers, architects, CAD engineers, and so forth), and you help these guys do their jobs better, which is blazingly fast rendering and photorealistic images. Then, they can show that to their buyers and clients and team members," Destin explained.

"From there, you can take that all the way down to 3D printing and on-demand manufacturing."

Destin gave me a possible scenario of how Lagoa could be used in e-commerce in the NEAR future. "Here is a scenario: you go to the Adidas website, and you want to buy a pair of sneakers, and you want the sole to be blue and you want the top to be gold or leather. [With Lagoa's design platform powering the process] you can be in the browser designing your own shoe, getting some custom encryption, and instead of being in a stupid configurator that has terrible colors, you can be looking at a photorealistic version of the shoe that you can manipulate right in the browser and say 'I like this one, I'm going to order it'."

When I asked about the ceiling for this concept/scenario, Destin said, "I think you can expand this to car showrooms, the Adidas website, etc., and basically bring design and customization all the way down to end users."

When I asked how far away from this becoming a reality for Lagoa, Destin just smiled.

Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.