Another dimension: Why we invested in Omi
When it comes to online selling, the devil’s in the details. While the online sales boom — nearly 20% of retail sales worldwide in 2021 — is great news for brands, it’s putting huge pressure on the individuals who market and sell these products.
Imagine you’re a content manager presenting a range of products. Whereas once a few photos and a ‘Buy Now’ button would do the job, now customers are demanding more. Especially when it comes to imagery.
The number of images we expect to see before making a decision has increased substantially over the last few years — from three to eight images per product, from 2016 to 2019. Social media has only increased the pace required for new content production, with visual assets on social media live for less than two days on average.
Online merchants and creators, then, are scrambling to meet the ever-growing demand for product imagery, video and other visual content. But traditional production methods can’t keep up.
Most original visual content is still created through photo and video shoots, which are time consuming and expensive. Photographers, stylists, lighting technicians, studios, the transportation of products — these shoots can cost between €1k to €10k+ for six to 30 photos, which may not even deliver a suitable result. And the end-product is only ever a one-off piece of content.
3D product models, however, can be reused again and again across a wide range of media — from photos, to videos to VR and AR experiences. They allow businesses to forego the shoots and, instead, digitally produce new content themselves, increasing the speed of new content production and iteration, while reducing the cost.
What’s more, it converts. Merchants who add 3D and augmented reality content to their stores see, on average, a 94% higher conversion rate — customers can see products “live”, simulating an in-store experience while sitting in the comfort of their home.
Because this is still a relatively new technology, however, few tools exist today that are self-service, easy-to-use and of sufficiently high quality to create production-ready, enterprise-grade content.
Our latest investment, Omi, aims to fill this gap. Omi is building the Canva for 3D digital content production: an end-to-end solution allowing marketing teams to create photo-realistic 3D product models, store and manage these assets, and build content around them. Customers can then use these models to create everything from social media ads to subway advertising to AR and VR experiences through a collaborative, in-browser editing interface.
In short, Omi is helping digitally-native businesses produce and manage engaging, cost-effective 3D content at the speed of modern ecommerce.
The platform launched in September of last year with a range of pricing to fit the needs of any business selling online, from big logos like Nestlé, Facebook and 900.care to SMEs and side-hustle creators. And with the growth of Web3 and the metaverse, the market for 3D content is only expanding.
Luxury and apparel brands have already started making their first moves in the digital world, with Nike creating “Nikeland” in collaboration with Roblox and Gucci buying up virtual land on The Sandbox, which lets people buy and develop virtual real estate. Omi is currently developing an NFT-minting and distribution solution for its 3D assets, creating the foundations to benefit from these trends as the demand for a broader range of 3D products and experiences grows. Meanwhile, smaller businesses can access self-service imagery to quickly populate small stores without the need to engage a professional photographer.
It’s all backed by an ambitious team who have a deep affinity with the problems faced by their customers. CEO Hugo comes from Facebook, where he was co-leading operations in Southern Europe, and his brother and CTO Paul was previously an engineer at French automated payroll management unicorn PayFit.
So we’re delighted to be leading their €6m seed round, alongside alongside a range of angel investors including Founders Future’s Marc Ménasé, Zenly Co-founder Alexis Bonillo, Deezer founder Daniel Marhely and Voodoo cofounder Laurent Ritter.
Product imagery and 3D modelling is a big greenfield market, with future growth fuelled by the increasing adoption and development of 3D technology as Web3 and the metaverse emerge. Omi is poised to become the first scale player in this digital-first, borderless world, and we’re excited to start building with them.