The world of phone-based AR has involved a lot of promises, but the future that’s developed has so far been more iterative and less platform shift-y. For startups exclusively focused on mobile AR, there’s been some soul-searching to find ways to bring more lightweight experiences to life that don’t require as much friction or commitment from users.
8th Wall is a team focused on building developer tools for mobile AR experiences. The startup has raised more than $10 million to usher developers into the augmented world.
The company announced this week that they’ve built a one-stop shop authoring platform that will help its customers create and ship AR experiences that will be hosted by 8th Wall. It’s a step forward in what they’ve been trying to build and a further sign that marketing activations are probably the most buoyant money-makers in the rather flat phone-based AR space at the moment.
The editor supports popular immersive web frameworks like A-Frame, three.js and Babylon.js. It’s a development platform, but while game engine tools like Unity have features focused on heavy rendering, 8th Wall is more interested in “very fast, lightweight projects that can be built up to any scale,” the startup’s CEO Erik Murphy tells TechCrunch.
8th Wall’s initial sell was an augmented reality platform akin to ARKit and ARCore that allowed developers to build content that supported a wider breadth of smartphones. Today, 8th Wall’s team of 14 is focused on a technology called WebAR that allows mobile phones to call up web experiences inside the browser.
The main sell of WebAR is the same appeal of web apps; users don’t need to download anything and they can access the experience with just a link. This is great for branded marketing interactions, where expecting users to download an app is pretty laughable; moving this process to the web with a link or a QR code makes life much easier.
The startup’s cloud-based authoring and hosting platform is available now for its agency and