While augmented reality has been around for a while, Augment is trying to monetize it with its platform. The company just released its Business Catalog feature, targeted toward salespeople. For $30 per month and per user, you can carry around all your catalog on your iPad and show how it would look like to your client. It makes sense for furniture, merchandising displays or even art prints.
“Our biggest competitor is choosing not to use augmented reality,” co-founder and CEO Jean-François Chianetta told me in a phone interview. “Thanks to our platform, you can upload and visualize your 3D models as augmented reality objects in minutes,” he continued.
With the business catalog, everybody on the sales team has the same 3D portfolio on their tablets and phones. Everything is downloaded to the devices so that they don’t have to worry about connectivity. Comparatively, the free account is much more limited as you can only see a few test models and upload your own models to your own account for testing purposes — you cannot deliver your models to your team and you need to be always connected.
The premium offering was already available in beta for a few months. More than 3,000 users tried it out. But, starting this week, they now have to pay the subscription fee.
When asked who Augment’s potential clients were, the answer was very straightforward. “We work with companies who already use 3D models,” co-founder and CMO Mickaël Jordan said. “We support 3ds Max, Maya or even SketchUp files,” he continued. So far, 8,000 users have uploaded 3D models to the platform.
Companies like Curioos use Augment for its digital art marketplace. Before buying an art print, you can figure out what print size you should order for your living room, and how it would look like over the fireplace.
There’s another part to Augment’s business. The company also creates advertising campaigns using augmented reality. For example, clients can create a booth to promote DVD sales in a supermarket and let anyone take a picture of his or her friend with a famous movie character. The character will be in 3D thanks to the Augment app. In many cases, companies need to hire an agency to create a special app — when you work with Augment it’s easier as you can build your campaign on top of its existing platform.
Back in April, the French startup raised $300,000 (€220,000) from multiple angels. It plans to raise more funding in the coming months. Now that the company generates revenue, it will be a compelling argument to convince VCs.