Tech

ShapesXR raises funding to expand its XR prototyping platform


ShapesXR, a virtual reality (VR) design and collaboration platform, announced it has secured an $8.6 million seed round led by Supernode Global. Other investors including Triptyq VC, Boost VC, Hartmann Capital and Geek Ventures also participated in this funding round.

The platform’s mission revolves is to simplify 3D content creation and spatial design. The company aims to achieve this by offering an intuitive interface that empowers non-technical users to craft intricate 3D designs and prototype immersive applications, including virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) games, training programs and real-world designs.

ShapesXR says that industry leaders such as Logitech, ByteDance, Qualcomm Technologies, Meta, Accenture, Stanford University and MIT have embraced the platform because of its robust ideation and collaboration capabilities. The company’s aspires to cement a position as the de facto industry standard for user interface/user experience (UI/UX) design in the realm of spatial computing.

“With the new funding, we are aiming to expand ShapesXR’s compatibility with the latest major VR devices, such as Apple Vision Pro, Pico and Magic Leap. We will also be integrating our platform with the most common development pipelines, to enable a smooth transition to and from ShapesXR,” Inga Petryaevskaya, CEO and founder of ShapesXR, told VentureBeat. ”By supporting all types of possible inputs — controllers, hand pinch and eye gaze — we will allow people to build the best experience for the platform.” 

Petryaevskaya stated that one of the platform’s key differentiators is that it enables designers to create at a human scale, directly within the media where they’re constructing their apps. This eliminates the typical time-consuming transition from flat screens to headsets and glasses, which often leads to compromises on ergonomics and design integrity.

“The DNA of ShapesXR is the ability to show the design in motion without any line of code — one can build a storyboard or an interactive prototype that can be tested and interacted with,” said Petryaevskaya. “We give UI/UX XR designers the power to own the design process and iterate on the design, [and] run user tests without the need to involve the developer early on. It saves a ton of time and ends up in better, magical designs.”

In a recent endorsement, Mark Zuckerberg showcased ShapesXR as an exemplar of VR’s ability to nurture creativity and collaborative endeavors.

Streamlining AR/VR creation for developers of all stripes 

Petryaevskaya explains that the platform’s user-friendly interface obviates the need for 3D skills, facilitating early engagement by teams and stakeholders in the design process. 

Logitech, the company says, recently harnessed ShapesXR for incubating collaborative 3D ideas. Marketers and designers collaborated to conceive an entire Berlin conference, sculpting its essence in 3D. 

“It was designed in 3D with all their different stakeholders working together to finalize the look, feel and layout of the venue. They were able to see how participants would interact with booths and features, and showcase the whole design to prospective sponsors,” said Petryaevskaya. 

Likewise, the company said that the design team at Pico, which is part of ByteDance, is exploring the future of user interactions through ShapesXR as it builds various spatial apps and a spatial OS. 

“Accessibility is crucial for 3D content creation. The lower the bar to entry, the more people can leverage the power of VR and AR — whether it is creating new games or videos, [or] designing products and customer experiences. Our platform allows users [to] virtualize themselves in relation to the space or world around them,” explained Petryaevskaya. “You can make changes to [a] house design at real scale or the size of a doll’s house. Also, you can manipulate objects very close to how you do in real life, and if you don’t need something, just throw it away, just like you would do with anything in the real world.”

ShapesXR is currently accessible on Meta Quest 2, Quest Pro and the forthcoming Quest 3. Petryaevskaya highlighted that a substantial funding infusion will extend the platform’s adaptability to other devices, including Apple Vision Pro, Pico and Magic Leap. This caters to visionOS developers’ surging interest, enabling them to prototype eye gaze and hand pinch interactions using ShapesXR.

She emphasized that designing for the specific device and prototyping interactions prior to coding allows for early user testing and iterative experimentation.

“ShapesXR on Vision Pro will accelerate how quickly app developers can create versions of their applications that feel authentic to visionOS. Designers experience dimension, immersion and ergonomics while designing inside Vision Pro, shortening the iteration cycle,” said Petryaevskaya. “Our Figma and Unity plugins integrate Shapes into existing workflows. When teams design in the medium they are able to find the right design faster and communicate it to the rest of the team and stakeholders.”

A future of opportunities in 3D content creation

Petryaevskaya said that facilitating seamless 3D content creation involves striking a delicate equilibrium: melding an intuitive user interface with the requisite functionality and flexibility to address diverse tasks. She said that community feedback propelled the company towards this iterative refinement, culminating in the optimal fusion of form and function.

“3D content creation is one of the most important trends in technology. It has the capacity to revolutionize so many different aspects of life and business. However, to get to that point, there is a need to create the fundamental tools and platforms that will support mass adoption,” Petryaevskaya told VentureBeat. “Also, all of our investors are true believers that spatial computing will change the way people work, learn and entertain and they like our vision as the company that enables apps and experiences for the newer platforms.” 

Petryaevskaya says that the infusion of new investors will augment the company’s wealth of expertise, fostering the evolution of ShapesXR by preemptively catering to industry segments’ distinct requirements.

“Our team accumulates solid experience building VR content. We’ve been experiencing huge limitations of flat screen tools,” she said. “We know a lot about what works and what does not work in VR, and we will work hard to enable XR creators to build truly spatial, truly immersive apps with delightful user experience; we do not want them to take all the legacy of the flat screen into the spatial internet.”

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