Fyusion has raised $3 million in funding from Japan’s Itochu trading company to expand sales of its technology that combines 3D imaging, computer vision, and machine learning to drive ecommerce.
That’s a new direction for the five-year-old company, which a couple of years ago was focused on taking smartphone pictures and converting them into 3D holographic images. That earlier strategy helped the company gain more than 140 million monthly active users, but it wasn’t as lucrative as the new business, said Radu Rusu, CEO of Fyusion, in an interview with VentureBeat.
“We’ve seen tremendous traction with some of our earlier products,” Rusu said. “Now we can venture into the world of ecommerce and fashion with Itochu as a business partner.”
Itochu, which is a $100 billion company with a big business in textiles, made a strategic investment in Fyusion. The two companies are collaborating to apply Fyusion’s imaging platform to drive ecommerce engagement and sales across Itochu’s own fashion and apparel businesses as well as with partners in Japan and across the world.
With Fyusion, Itochu brings 360-degree interactive viewing capability to any device – from mobile and desktop, to augmented and virtual reality hardware. It lets consumers examine a product like they would in real life, truly seeing the quality and details so they can purchase with confidence. (Check out an example here).
Itochu will benefit from the increased customer engagement and sales that 3D immersive images have proven to generate. Multi-month studies with ecommerce fashion retailers have demonstrated significant uplifts of up to 600% in both click-through rate (CTR) and average basket size vs JPEG control listings.
“As true innovators in the 3D imaging space, Fyusion brings us the type of product and technology that we seek to invest in, support, and partner with, long term,” said Yoshihiro Fukushima, executive officer of Itochu, in a statement. “We are partnering with Fyusion to deliver a unique immersive ecommerce experience that merges Fyusion’s next generation Fyuse 3D imaging and machine learning technology to drive significant gains in ecommerce engagement and sales globally. Using our expertise in developing brands, we are broadening our business foundations by extending our business area from fashion and apparel to include the entire area of lifestyle categories.”
Rusu said that Fyusion has more than 80 patents related to its work in 3D imaging, machine learning, and computer vision. He said that the technology can be used for things like capturing the wear-and-tear on used merchandise so that it can be properly displayed to potential buyers in an online store.
“We saw the really interesting intersection between 3D computer vision and machine learning technology,” said Rusu. “Certain enterprise verticals were digitizing real-world assets, like cars, or fashion items, and it was extremely important for the commercial customer to get it right. And then on top of that, they required a certain level of sophistication with machine learning, extracting condition analysis, for example, like damage analysis on vehicles.”
Rusu said the company worked closely with Cox Automotive, which invested in Fyusion in an earlier $30 million round, to help prove that technology.
Now the tech can be applied to ecommerce, as Fyusion can create 3D images called Fyuses. Consumers and vendors can create these images with any camera or smartphone in 60 seconds or less. Then they can upload that image to a store so that people can view the image of the item before they buy it.
San Francisco-based Fyusion has raised $70 million to date and it has more than 50 employees.