Alban here, CEO and Co-founder of Sketchfab. I’m happy to share that the Sketchfab community has reached 5,000,000 members this week! Today we are also celebrating our 9th anniversary, and I’m really proud of how far we’ve gotten together.
I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight a few of the driving forces behind our ever-growing community.
The adoption of 3D has accelerated along with the shift to remote work and many companies realizing “overnight” the power of 3D. The shift to digital workflows was started long ago, but 3D is becoming the backbone of many of those workflows when it comes to things like product development or modern creative productions. Be it for virtual photography, product design iteration, virtual showrooms, or to replace physical samples, 3D gives you superpowers, saving you time and money while allowing you to do things not possible before.
What is particularly rewarding for me is that nine years in, we are seeing the beauty and value of the Sketchfab community unfold in new ways. Many Fortune 500s are now hiring 3D artists to get up-to-speed on end-to-end digital solutions. A lot of those artists have been using Sketchfab for years as their personal 3D portfolio.
And today, in at least half of the meetings we have with large companies, there is a huge Sketchfab advocate in the discussion, who perfectly knows our tools and gives a thumb up to their team. Those artists are bringing the power of Sketchfab to their 10 or 100 teammates. You know who you are, and I want to thank you!
Another paradigm shift is the evolution of 3D creation tools, making their way into mass-market use cases and adoption. VR creation tools like Medium, Tilt Brush, Gravity Sketch, and Masterpiece mean that 5-year-old kids can express themselves in 3 dimensions without any prior training. And with LiDAR sensors coming to our smartphones—most notably in the latest iPhones—eventually, everyone will have a 3D camera in their pocket.
This shift to easy 3D creation was one of the key elements of our thesis when we started Sketchfab, and, while it did take longer than expected, it’s awesome to see it come to life. Since the iPhone 12 launch five months ago, roughly a dozen 3D capture apps have been released in the App Store. Sketchfab is already natively integrated with 90% of these apps and is already the de facto place for sharing the content created with them.
The reality is that there are even more people who need 3D content than people who create 3D content. Today there are many more people signing up to download free content or buy content from the Sketchfab Store than to upload content on Sketchfab. This is a validation of our ambition to make 3D accessible and to be the best place to both publish and find 3D content.
While there are many places where you can find 3D content, we’ve taken this mission a step further:
- We are the only place where you can thoroughly inspect 3D models before downloading or buying them.
- We are the only place automatically converting every upload to standard formats like USDZ and glTF.
- We are the only place offering a robust API that lets you easily integrate a 3D content search bar with any 3D, VR, or AR application. This search bar for the 3D world is already live in production with great partners like Facebook, Adobe, and Mozilla, a growing list of 3D tools, game engines like Unity and Unreal, VR and AR apps, and even volumetric displays.
It’s been an amazing adventure so far, and I’m looking forward to celebrating 10 years and other meaningful milestones soon.