Bringing 3D to Your Customers | Ashley Crowder at Vntana

With so much sales and marketing happening in online spaces, companies more and more are craving to deliver 3D and AR experiences for their customers. Wondering what that couch will look like in your living room? Hold up your phone, and an app will visually place it there.

Want to see that sneaker in a full 360 radius? Just spin it to get a full view. The problem is that software platforms that deliver these experiences need files that aren’t used by most design teams.

Ashley Crowder set out to find a solution, which eventually became her company, Vntana. In this edition of UpTech Report, Ashley discusses the Vntana product, which helps content teams quickly and easily bridge the gap between their product designs and interactive experiences for customers.

More information:

Ashley Crowder is the co-Founder/CEO of VNTANA, the world’s first 3D Collaboration Platform. The platform makes it easy to create 3D web and AR experiences, proven to increase sales and reduce returns. Their patented optimization algorithms automatically reduce file size by up to 95% while maintaining high visual fidelity, allowing all stakeholders to visualize 3D models through a plug and play web viewer and gives marketing teams the 3D files required for e-comm and advertising in seconds instead of days.

Crowder has worked in the mixed-reality space for over 10 years helping Fortune 1000 brands including Adidas, Lexus, AT&T and more launch XR applications to increase sales and improve training. She has 14 patents on mixed reality technology and has given talks on the future of mixed reality at prestigious venues including SXSW, Augmented World Expo, TEDx, World Economic Forum and more.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Ashley Crowder 0:00
Seeing this waste of you know, recreating and recreating these files for like sales and marketing for this team, and just the manual work that went into that. So we ended up writing a lot of software to help automate that process.

Alexander Ferguson 0:21
Ashley, I’m excited to be able to chat with you today. To start off, can you share in five seconds very brief. What does your company do? How does it help people?

Ashley Crowder 0:30
Yeah, Vntana is a 3d collaboration platform that unifies and streamlines 3d workflows. So we make it really easy to manage distribute 3d versions of products at scale,

Alexander Ferguson 0:43
streamlining the 3d asset workflow, we are definitely more into a 3d environment world than we’ve ever been before AR and VR. Talk to me, how did you come across this problem, and then build the solution to solve it?

Ashley Crowder 0:57
Yeah, it was definitely a roundabout way. I think, like any startup journey, I mean, I got my bachelor’s and master’s in engineering from USC, which is where I first got exposed to 3d AR VR, I was like, this is going to change the world. And so when we first started, you know, this was eight years ago, before cellphones could do ar, you know, pre PokemonGo. And so we were doing location based mixed reality experiences. So you know, interactive holograms at Comic Con, and in retail stores, for brands like Adidas, Nike, at&t, you know, really showing off their products and engaging consumers. And it was through building out these experiences, we realized, nobody had the right 3d files of their products. You know, Lexus was a client also in real life. So we need your 3d file, if we don’t have one, I was like, but you designed your cars you do somewhere, you know, and it was just seeing this waste of, you know, recreating and recreating these files for like sales and marketing for this team, and just the manual work that went into that. So we ended up writing a lot of software to help automate that process of taking these existing manufacturing design files, and immediately making them usable across web, mobile, ar, you know, game engine wherever you need them. Which has been really exciting. So today, you know, come COVID, like, overnight, everyone was like, we need a better digital solution. So we’ve been ramping up quickly. And it has been really cool to see like with our software, how quickly people can ramp up and start implementing 3d everywhere. Like, um, you know, Adidas has, you know, over 2000 products on the platform, and you know, what used to take six weeks, our software did it an hour, which is pretty cool.

Alexander Ferguson 3:00
So that’s really, the biggest thing is, as we move into creating more and more 3d assets, for augmented reality, virtual reality, or just different elements, speeding up that workflow of creating the assets. That’s where you really hone in on it sounds like, Who do you generally work with is the marketing department that needs to get these assets online is operations whose best is able to utilize the platform?

Ashley Crowder 3:22
Yeah, we’re often working with the content department, which is, you know, within marketing, but they’re, they cross over that design. So we’re working with brands who, you know, design and manufacture products, so they’re designing in 3d to begin with. And that design team is getting all these asks from sales and marketing, because you need a certain type of file for your website. If you’re wanting to advertise in 3d with Google or create a cool Facebook Instagram filter, you need a different type of 3d file. So we’re kind of solving that pain points that 3d artists have like click a button on Vntana, and you all get it. You get everything you need.

Alexander Ferguson 4:03
And it’s also CMS, effectively, all potential parties that would need it or create it are on the same platform. Is that right? And then they’re taking from it and

Ashley Crowder 4:11
gameplay? Yeah, because the other problem we really saw was, you know, unless you were a 3d artist, you don’t have a program where you can even open the 3d file and look at it. So sales and marketing people were getting these PowerPoint decks of like six screenshots, emailing back notes, and like hundreds of emails back and forth and might have been stored on a Google Drive. And then somebody’s got an Excel file where all them store it was like, nightmare. And so with our cloud platform, anybody can log in. You don’t need to be a 3d artist. Anybody can do it because it’s web. You can see it in 3d, make comments, you know, tag people, this needs to be more blue or whatever you want to say. So yeah, it just makes it easier in that one place everybody can go and the what people have said it’s like that single source of truth. Truth is that 3d assets, like there’s one place everyone can see it. It’s not these, like, multiple files stored on Dropbox or wherever.

Alexander Ferguson 5:08
Is there any other solutions? Similar Do you have are you guys so far?

Ashley Crowder 5:13
So we’re really the true like enterprise solution, when you kind of look at the space there, Sketchfab and CD, G trader, and they looked at this problem and created a marketplace. So you know, where you can hire 3d artists in India is less expensive than 3d artists in LA, but there’s still a lot of manual work being done there. So you know, that could make sense if you have a small number of SKUs. But where we come in is at scale. So you know, companies like Adidas, Hugo Boss, they launched 10s of 1000s of products a year, they need automated software. So we kind of explained it, like we’re like Vimeo, for video where like Sketchfab is YouTube, for video.

Alexander Ferguson 5:58
Love the analogy. So then your business model is based on a yearly subscription type model? How does it work?

Ashley Crowder 6:05
Yeah, it’s a monthly yearly or multi year subscription. And it’s based on a SKU count, number of licenses, or how many logins Do you have? And then product use?

Alexander Ferguson 6:18
What are you most excited about coming up that you guys are working on? Or even just the roadmap going forward? In the long term? Where are you headed, that you can share with those interested?

Ashley Crowder 6:29
Yeah, so I mean, we’re super excited to share that we are providing a free version of our software for 3d designers. Um, you know, we know a lot of freelancers out there, especially with COVID are kind of looking for work. And we thought this would be a great way to help them show off their designs. And so we’re excited to watch that actually next week to a few select, and you kind of apply for the program. But that’s really exciting. And then we’re just continuing to do more integrations. You know, this year, we did integrations with SAP, commerce, cloud and Shopify. We’re starting to watch our Adobe commerce platform. And again, it’s all just to make it easier and easier to distribute these 3d assets everywhere you need them.

Alexander Ferguson 7:16
Where can people go to learn more? And what’s a good first step for them to take?

Ashley Crowder 7:21
Yeah, you can come to our website, Vntana, And I would say the very first step is, do you design products, talk to your design team, see what they do. A lot of design teams have moved to designing in 3d. So you have something to start with. You don’t have to start from scratch. If they don’t design in 3d, that’s also okay. Or if you buy products from somebody else, you can 3d Scan products on we have a 3d scanning partner program, where we vetted and have great partners globally, that we can help you with to kind of get that going.

Alexander Ferguson 8:03
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview you can nominate them at UpTech Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you subscribe to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.



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