Box Gains 3D Viewing With Verold Purchase

Box announced today in a blog post by CEO Aaron Levie, that the company had purchased Verold, makers of 3D viewer technology

“With Verold’s technology, we’re extending our world-class content previewing and collaboration platform to interactive 3D content, opening all new-use cases across manufacturing, engineering, consumer products, and media and entertainment,” Levie said in a statement.

Verold lets companies embed 3D animation into web pages using technology based on WebGL. The technology is based on OpenGL ES 2.0, and gets displayed using HTML 5. All of this sounds like technology that Box would want a piece of.

As Levie wrote in his blog post, being able to share renderings in 3D for many industries like construction and retail could be a game changer for them and providing a way to expose this technology on the Box platform through its API could eventually produce some interesting results.

“Together with Verold’s innovative 3D conversion and viewing technology, we’re going to unlock powerful, new approaches for previewing, annotating, and collaborating on mission-critical information,” Levie wrote in his post.

Very likely, the roots of this purchase have much to do with Box For Industries, the initiative that it has been building since announcing it last Fall at the BoxWorks user conference. Box is creating a series of industry verticals and it’s looking for a particular set of tools to apply for each one.

This approach gives the company access to industries such as healthcare, government and financial services where it previously might have had trouble gaining a foothold. By working with partners, who can build industry-specific tools on top of the Box development platform, it’s opening up whole new areas of opportunity.

At the end of February, it announced a new Financial Services vertical, which has been designed to lure financial services companies to the cloud, companies which might have been reluctant to do so previously.

The 3D tool it bought today is another way to lure reluctant companies across different verticals. It should fit nicely into that approach as it could enable Box to approach certain industries such as construction and offer a unique set of capabilities for online viewing whether in the office or at a site.

For retailers, it could change the way it sells merchandise by offering an interactive 3D view of the product that even lets you zoom in or out to get a better look.

In an interview with TechCrunch last month, Levie hinted Box would making these kinds of purchases, but wouldn’t get specific.

“You will continue to see investment in those long term technologies that open new doors for us,” he said. “There’s a lot of technology that we [still] have to build around the content management and collaboration.”

Box went public in January, pocketing $175M in the process, and that cash, enables Box to make just these types of strategic purchases.

The Verold employees will join Box as soon as the deal closes, and begin working on ways to incorporate their company’s technology into the Box workflow. No terms were disclosed. Verold has raised $1.6M.