Montreal’s 3D Photoreal Rendering Startup Lagoa Raises $5.3 Million Series A Round

Today Boston-based VC, Fred Destin of Atlas Venture Partners, wrote a blog post that I believe was meant to be written in a cool way, announcing that Montreal’s Lagoa has raised over $5 million in funding.

Here’s a quote from the blog post:

“Start with a devilishly smart entrepreneur who’s able to code a multi-physics engine on his own and combines Brazilian cool with business acumen (Thiago)

Combine with co-founders that conveniently include a world class scientist (Arno) and a guy who knows how to run a SaaS infrastructure (Dov)

Let it marinate in the Montreal cold.

Inject $5 million into the oven,” wrote Destin.

(Future news headline: “Journalists Adjudged Too Slow, Tech VCs to Issue Press Releases in New Riddle-Format”)

Anyways, a peruse in the old Google confirmed that the world’s first web-based platform for photoreal 3D visualization and rendering, Lagoa, has indeed raised $5.3 million. JS Cournoyer at Real Ventures and Mike Majors at Seimens also took part in the round led by the VC Destin.

Lagoa enables artists, designers, engineers, architects and advertisers to collaborate while producing spectacular 3D content. In April the company raised a seed round of $1.6 million from Atlas Ventures, Real Ventures, Rho Canada Ventures and 500 Startups. “There’s a rising need to visualize things and it’s an angle that no one talks about yet,” CEO Tiago Costa told me at the time. “The future of the manufacturing industry all together is the ability to design, visualize and build something while not needing the entire infrastructure for building. We hope to be there to help people do that.”

Now the company will open a Boston office, but its CMO had always worked out of the city.

Essentially the company’s cloud-based software makes 3D objects accessible to non-engineers, who only need to use a web browser. The software allows them to add a wide range of skins or surfaces onto rough 3D models, making them look more like a finished product. The Boston Business Journal reported that the funding will go toward development of the firm’s technology and expansion of the company’s customer base. Meanwhile said one forthcoming feature is users will be able to create videos of an object, spinning it around or flying a virtual camera around and through it.

Also announced today by Lagoa, this time the company blog, is a new partnership with GrabCAD, developer of the CAD collaboration tool Workbench. The GrabCAD-Lagoa integration makes it easy for engineers to quickly produce product renderings from within GrabCAD Workbench. This seamless integration with Lagoa eases workflows, with no need for exporting and importing between the programs.

Costa moved to Montreal in 2009 to eventually start the company after working in the television, advertising, motion graphics and gaming industries. Originally from southern Brazil, the CEO spent time in a neighourhood in Rio de Janeiro called Lagoa (the word is loosely translated to “little lake”, “pond” or “stream of water” in Portuguese or Spanish). There’s another meaning behind the name according to Costa though. “I wanted to give it some name to connect it to nature and I wanted to inspire the physical elements you can create with it.”

All three cofounders carry unique experience in their fields of expertise. Aside from Costa’s experience building most of the platform, Arno Zinke serves as the chief scientist and cofounder. He has a PHD in physically based rendering and heads up Lagoa’s research and development of its patent-pending MultiOptics rendering technology. The third cofounder is CTO Dov Amihod, the former engineering lead at Matrox and Bluestreak. Amihod heads the engineering team and is responsible for building a reliable infrastructure for managing complex assets data, patent-pending MultiOptics rendering and real-time collaboration.

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