Atlas, a cutting-edge 3D generative AI platform, has emerged from two years in stealth mode with a robust $6 million in seed funding. This financing comprises two separate rounds: a $4.5 million round spearheaded by 6th Man Ventures (6MV) and an additional $1.5 million round led by Collab+Currency. The platform collaborates with game developers and brands to expedite the creation of virtual worlds, significantly reducing the time traditionally required for this process. Atlas empowers developers to generate intricate 3D models using reference images and textual input.
Founded in Vienna in early 2021 by Ben James, a self-taught coder with a background in architecture, Atlas stands at the intersection of design and technology. James elaborates on his vision, stating, “I’ve worked extensively at the intersection of design and technology. I’m a self-taught coder, and I thought there might be an intriguing way to view architecture through the lens of machine vision. 2D drawings, such as plans, sections, and elevations, inherently contain three-dimensional information through line weights, annotations, and more. At Atlas, we began exploring whether it was possible to leverage machine vision to extract 3D information from 2D imagery and integrate it into the 3D world.”
Atlas received an early research grant from the European Union’s High-Level Expert Group on AI and developed its technology in compliance with the union’s Ethical Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence.
The startup’s proprietary software is an in-house creation, developed by a team with expertise in AI, gaming, and design. Atlas aims to create a technology stack that serves as a collaborative design partner, streamlining workflows for designers and creators. They claim to have achieved a remarkable 200x increase in speed on past projects.
Current partners include Consortium 9, Shrapnel, and Square Enix, who have also invested in the company. Additionally, Atlas collaborates with small and independent game developers. Utilizing custom-built 3D generative AI engines, partners can produce virtual worlds, creative assets, and designs consistent with existing intellectual property, ready for deployment.
Ben James emphasizes the importance of enabling smaller indie game developers to create unique worlds and gameplay experiences. He envisions games evolving into platforms where creation is an integral part of the gameplay.
While Atlas is presently available exclusively for enterprise and commercial use, they plan to initiate alpha testing for a public platform in the near future. Targeted at small and indie developers, this platform will enable users to upload reference images and indicators of their desired game style and aesthetic, receiving a finely tuned AI model that facilitates content generation in that style.
Regarding their business model, Atlas intends to maintain a standard license-based approach.
The funding acquired will be used to accelerate the expansion of their suite of developer solutions and the development of their self-service 3D AI creator platform. Notable participants in the funding rounds include the a16z Scouting Fund via Shrapnel, Contango, Gaingels, GFR Fund, New Renaissance Ventures, Square Enix, and Wagmi Ventures.
Looking ahead, Atlas aspires to collaborate with next-generation content creators who possess innovative visions for virtual worlds but lack 3D modeling or coding expertise. Their goal is to empower these individuals to bring their ideas to life without requiring technical skills, emphasizing the use of text-based or image-based inputs to generate diverse and engaging content. James believes that as Atlas expands its technology stack, it will unlock numerous new creative possibilities.