This morning, Sketchfab announced that it was joining the Epic Games family.
From inception, Sketchfab has been a visionary company in the creator economy, pioneering the emergence of 3D as a key format on the web. It built the best 3D viewer on the market, and leveraged it to build a remarkable community of 3D creators and enthusiasts all around the world. It navigated the ups and downs of the “VR Winter” and, through entrepreneurial grit and great execution, emerged on the other side a stronger, profitable company – a journey that CEO Alban Denoyel documented with remarkable transparency.
Today, Sketchfab is the center of the 3D world, addressing the need of individual creators and companies alike: a 5M user community, a huge library of models, a marketplace to buy and sell 3D models and a fast-growing enterprise business.
Epic is the perfect partner for Sketchfab. It has epic (yes) plans for building the Metaverse (see Matthew Ball’s excellent essays on the Metaverse here and Epic here). The Metaverse will be a heavy consumer of 3D, AR and VR content, and Sketchfab fits perfectly within that vision. Sketchfab will continue operating largely as an independently branded service, and will be able to access Epic’s resources and distributions capabilities.
My journey with Sketchfab officially began in 2015 when I led the company’s $7m Series A round – here’s my blog post describing my investment thesis at the time. It’s been a really fun ride, and a privilege to watch co-founders Alban Denoyel (CEO), Cedric Pinson (CTO) and Pierre-Antoine (“PA”) Passet (CPO), as well as the entire Sketchfab team, operate with an impressive mix of creativity, business rigor, persistence and pragmatism, in an often treacherous market.
As a side note, Sketchfab is another example of global company with a foot in the US (headquartered in NYC) and a foot in Europe (product and tech in Paris + distributed throughout Europe). The Europe to NYC model really works!
I’m grateful for the experience, as well as the outcome – which delivered a very meaningful financial return for both founders and investors.
I’ll certainly miss working with the team, as well as my co-investors (James Wise from Balderton and Alex Iskold as representative of Techstars, in particular), but I’m excited to see the Sketchfab brand, product and community thrive under the Epic umbrella!