Snap quietly took over the Amsterdam-based 3D scanning studio third in the second quarter of last year, at a time when the company was looking to bolster its AR-powered trading ambitions. A company spokesperson confirmed to gotechbusiness.com that four team members from Th3rd, who are based in the Netherlands, have joined Snap as part of the acquisition. The company has not disclosed the financial terms of the deal.
Founded in 2014, Th3rd specializes in creating high-performance digital twins of people and products to provide a way for brands and retailers to digitize their product catalog at scale. After being selected for Adidas’ Accelerator in Europe, the company worked with the shopkeeper to digitize more than 2,500 shoes.
Snap declined to share how it integrated Th3rd’s capabilities into its business, but we understand that the startup’s technology has been used to enhance Snap’s AR projects, including its recently launched offerings for brands. Snap announced yesterday that it will be offering its AR tools to enterprise customers. The new SaaS product offers a range of features, such as AR try-on and fit and size recommendation technology, to help brands leverage AR technology. Brands can integrate these AR features directly into their apps or websites, Snap said.
The company has invested in AR-powered commerce in recent years and is building out its platform to leverage the technology. In April 2022, the company introduced tools that convert retailer photos into 3D assets and launched an in-app destination for AR fashion and virtual fitting called ‘Dress Up’.
A few months prior, Snap rolled out a number of upgrades to better appeal to retailers and brands, including the ability to update product information and prices in real time, access better analytics, and make AR shopping lenses easier, among other things. At the same time, Snap had updated its Lens Web Builder, which allowed brands to create shopping lenses in minutes.
In addition, Snap recently found a noteworthy partner for its AR-powered commercial ambitions when it announced it was partnering with Amazon for its Virtual Try-On shopping experience. Other brands using Snapchat’s AR store lenses include MAC Cosmetics, Ulta Beauty, American Eagle, Puma, Chanel, Walmart, and LVMH.
Th3rd is one of several AR companies acquired by Snap in recent years.
In May 2021, Snap AR startup WaveOptics, a company that provides the technology that powers Snap’s Spectacles AR glasses, acquired for $500 million. In March 2021, Snap Fit acquired Analytics to advance its AR-based move into e-commerce. In July 2021 it is Acquired 3D and AR trading company Vertebrae. And last year, Snap announced it AR company Forma acquired.
Given the recent investments, it is clear that the company sees potential in AR-powered commerce. A combined study by Publicis media and Snap suggests the AR Retail market will have that a project value of $1.2 trillion by 2030.
Snap says 250 million Snapchat users have engaged with AR retail lenses more than 5 billion times since January 2021. For context, Snapchat has 375 million daily active users. The company also recently said in an email that it conducted a survey with consulting firm Ipsos and found that 92% of Gen Z users are interested in using AR to shop.
Snap isn’t the only company to invest in AR-powered commerce, though, as Pinterest and Google have also leveraged AR to let customers try on makeup, clothing, and accessories. Amazon also launched a virtual shoe trial experience in June 2022, available to consumers in the US and Canada in the Amazon iOS app.