So you’ve built something revolutionary. Great job. Here’s some bad news: That wasn’t the hard part.
Now you have to find a way to make money off of it.
Backward engineering a cool technological innovation into a lucrative business model is not always easy. Here’s one company doing just that.
Floored has developed an impressive 3D modeling software. The New York-based company launches its service today with plans to sell the software to commercial real estate owners.
Founded by former Accel Entrepreneur-in-Residence Dave Eisenberg, Dustin Byrne and Judy He, Floored is backed by $1 million in seed funding from Lerer Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Red Swan Ventures, Two Sigma Ventures, Dave Vivero, founder of Rentjuice, and Thomas Lehrman, co-founder of Gerson Lehrman Group.
The software works with models generated by Matterport, a 3D scanner built to create digital models of interiors. When Matterport graduated from Y Combinator in the Spring of 2012, its product initially looked like a police radar gun. But the latest iteration of the scanner stands on a tripod and swivels around to view the entire room. The company is working to bring its product to market as quickly as possible, predicting it will be useful to people who need dimensional data in the real estate, photography and home improvement industries. Of course, there are no shortage of possibilities for the product like capturing a 3D image of a houseboat so a child can remember it, or collecting the square footage of leaves on a plant without cutting them off, as Mashable outlined.
The only problem is, for commercial uses, the Matterport 3D models aren’t exactly clean. The company is focused on building the best 3D picturing tool. The software will come later.
That’s where Floored steps in. The startup is the first one to build data on top of Matterport’s 3D models. Floored builds software that makes the 3D models user-friendly and intelligent, emptying the models and allowing them to be manipulated. Floored’s software also collects data, such as dimensions or window space and begins to draw insights based on that. It answers questions such as, “How much additional foot traffic do retail stores with five additional square feet of window space have?”
Perhaps most importantly, the models are viewable to real estate professionals and clients in an iPad app.
Models are an important part of the real estate industry. The problem is that, even in 2013, they’re the kind that humans put together with glue and balsa wood.
Floored will sell its software and services to real estate companies as a way to show off their properties to clients. The difference between Floored’s 3D models and, say, a video walk-through of a space is the data and analytics. Floored allows users to work on the model, removing furniture, walls, or debris and adding windows, sunlight, or different furniture. And users can navigate their way through it. “Once you have a 3D model, you want to see what’s possible with it,” CEO Dave Eisenberg says.
He acknowledges it might take time for real estate owners to adopt such a technology, but this is the direction the industry is going. It’s not unlike the recent battle over e-hailing New York taxis. Even though the TLC members were vocally opposed to approving a pilot program for apps like Hailo for political reasons, they voted in favor of it because they understood that a move in that direction was inevitable.
In beta mode, the company has already done work for 35 companies, including Stonehedge, a commercial and residential real estate company with a $2.2 billion portfolio. Prices range from from $.20-$1.00 per square foot, depending on size and space complexity.
There are parallels between the 3D scanning industry and 3D printing. Once 3D printers go mainstream and become a commonly owned household item, the value of 3D printing will be in the software built around the device and the ways to buy, create or share designs. Floored is predicting the same thing will happen with 3D scanning.
“It’s the first practical application of virtual reality,” he says.