3D visualization technology has been around for some time, so Real5D closing a $1.2 million Seria A rund from the U.S. venture fund DoubleRock might look out of place to some. But San Francisco-based startup Real5D has taken 3D visualization to an interesting level of interactivity by applying it to the needs of the commercial real estate industry.
Founded by the Hungarian Balazs Farago, Real5D received funds in its bank account within days after winning the competition at the Funders and Founders event Life 3.0 – Augmented Reality and New Media, and meeting its new investor Suraj Kumar Rajwani, the co-founder and general partner of DoubleRock Venture Capital, shortly afterwards.
The swiftness of the transaction (in less than 10 days) which, according to Farago is rather unusual even by Silicon Valley standards, goes hand-in-hand with the property development problems Real5D appears to have solved.
Usually, real estate projects have to be sold or rented out before the construction of the building is completed. Even before the construction begins, architects and property developers struggle to agree on the final design for the same problem: difficulties of visualization. Typically, architects or sales agents use floor plans, 3D models and videos, which are supposed to help prospective buyers or tenants visualize the end result.
However, according to Farago, who held C-level positions in the commercial real estate industry in Hungary until founding the company in 2007, photos and videos are not good enough. This is where Real5D technology can help. Based on the floor plans, the Real5D team uses its 3D engine and visualization technology to create an interactive 3D model of a building. The viewer can then “walk through” the virtual model of the building, look at it from every angle, get a perception of the space from within the property, but most importantly, interact with the sales person within the virtual property.
This video shows how it works in more details.
In addition to having to sell a property before it has been built, real estate agents have a problem with the viewings of the completed project. When the real estate agents introduce the property on the market, they typically spend too much time arranging meetings to present it to the interested parties. So a lot of time is being wasted on the meetings, which do not result in closed deals.
Real5D visualization allows anyone visit the property of interest in a virtual environment, before taking time to schedule and attend a proper viewing. The agent can show the prospective client the property via the “follow me” function, use “laser” to point at and discuss particular elements within the property, and choose different finishing materials (e.g., texture of the floor or color of the furniture). Users can play around with different materials by themselves, and even measure the distance between, say, two walls.
Once the real estate object is created by Real5D engineers, the property developer is provided with a widget for the website that any website visitor can use without special training or technical skills.
Not everything in this world is cloud-based just yet, so the viewers have to download a client application to use it. Once the app is installed, the visitor and the agent can have a meeting in the virtual environment where they are represented by avatars, use voice chat to discuss it, and walk through the property together. For the viewers, the service is free.
In addition to offering visualization service to the property developers, Real5D’s own 3D engine will also be licensed to architects, who will use it to build their own 3D models and then show them to their client base.
The company already has reference customers such as TriGranit, Skanska, and others. While some 3D modeling technologies allow basic interactive functions such as object rotation, I did not find anything close to the interactive virtual reality experience offered by Real5D.
The technology was developed in Hungary, but the executive team is US-based. DoubleRock’s Rajvani joins Real5D’s board of advisors.