Business at the 3D BIM platform is “booming”, according to CEO Dr Jozef Doboš, having done more in two months than the previous two quarters.
The move to remote working opened many new doors of opportunity for the London-based tech start-up, Doboš says. His team of 12, many of them holding PhDs, are passionate about open collaboration.
This means giving the technology to other tech firms to use the 3D Repo software for their own means. The move to remote working caused an increase in the number of tech companies contacting 3D Repo to develop their tools using its powerful platform.
Doboš is fiercely opposed to vendor lock in. The open source way 3D Repo is built means it can pull data between any two systems more easily than other more restricted systems. “We want as many integrations as possible.”
The intellectual property and monetisation are protected whilst sharing it openly because it is “not easy to replicate and set up”. There are a dozen integrations listed on the company’s website already building on top of 3D Repo to make their own products for managing projects, suppliers, construction in different ways.
At the start of this year, the company raised £2.3m from London-based VC fund Ingenious. For now, it is still loss-making with the aim to reach break-even in next 12 months.
The features 3D Repo offers, beyond integration, are all contained in one subscription, which starts at free. The patent-pending 3D Diff feature allows users to compare the geometry of a 3D model in real-time and display the changes graphically to the user. This flags differences between different versions in the same way as a red tracking text in Word.
3D Repo started in 2010 as a doctoral research funded by Arup Foresight and span out in 2014 Since then, the business has raised nearly £4m in venture funding.
The principles of ‘tech for good’ are evident when Doboš talks about wanting to “make the world a better place” and being driven by open data rather than by profit. His investors take the same long-term view, and want to build scale rather than cash out quickly.
3D Repo is certainly getting noticed. It has subscribers in the “thousands” and works with influential construction groups like i3P and the Health & Safety Executive, and is on its sixth grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
The team moved to working from home in February and will stay that way throughout the summer.
“We are working round the clock and have always been cloud first,” Doboš explained. “We are working on a solution to help home workers with poor internet.” His team has come up with a theory that could reduce bandwidth latency during screen sharing of 3D models– the load time – by up to a million times, and will start coding it shortly.