Mercia EIS Funds

Penguin ad duo aim to revolutionise e-commerce

Two advertising executives who quit their jobs to develop their own 3D software have secured over £450,000 in investment to help them launch their product.

Ben Cyzer and Tim Phillips created visual effects for TV commercials for brands such as Sony, Nike and Samsung and were behind the penguin in the John Lewis adverts. They set up Artificial Artists in 2018 to find a way to make quality 3D animation more suited to the faster pace and lower budgets of digital media.

Their software platform 3dctrl reduces production time and costs by up to 80%, and allows marketing managers to make their own 3D video and images for use in digital ads, social media posts and online shopping sites.

3dctrl was developed with support from private investors. The latest funding round, which was led by Mercia’s EIS Fund with backing from Triple Point Ventures and individual investors, will allow the company to further enhance the product and bring it to market.

As 3D allows an item to be viewed from all angles, it is ideal for design-led products such as clothing, cars and electronics. 3dctrl  is currently being piloted by a number of fashion and automotive firms. The company, which employs a team of six, met Mercia after being selected as part of the Digital Catapult Augmentor investment readiness bootcamp.

Ben Cyzer, the company’s co-founder, said: “3D animation has traditionally been reserved for big budget TV commercials and is prohibitively expensive for digital channels. Our mission is to make 3D visual effects more accessible and affordable, empowering companies to generate their own 3D animation in-house, at speed and at scale.”

Chris Kilroy of Mercia added: “Artificial Artists has built a toolkit that provides content creators with the ability to quickly and easily create professional quality 3D videos and images using their brand assets. This investment round will enable the company to further develop the product and bolster its core team. I’m looking forward to working with Ben and Tim as they continue to capitalise on the opportunities available to them moving forward.”