Physna tops $86M funding for 3D geometric search tech

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Physna and its geometric search and AI technology has seen venture capital financing of $56M led by Tiger Global, along with participation from GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Sequoia Capital.

Thangs Physna
Physna Founder and CEO, Paul Powers

The current financing round, which now totals $86M, will be used to scale and develop Physna’s geometric deep-learning platform, as well as its free public geometric search engine, Thangs.

Physna’s growth is driven largely by Thangs, which hosts millions of 3D models and is compatible with the vast majority of formats and file types. Users can search, store, share and collaborate on models, as well as use them cross-discipline, such as viewing 3D printing models or mechanical designs in AR.

In 2020 we spoke with Physna founder and CEO Paul Powers about what the platform is capable of and how it expects it and the Enterprise version to evolve – you can read it here.

The site currently has 250,000 registered users and indexes more than 2.5 million 3D models, a million of which it says were added in the last six weeks.

Long-term, Powers wants the wider public to use Thangs to explore the 3D world without needing to learn a CAD software package.

“We took an approach that was purely mathematical and that allowed us to take any kind of file, from any kind of format, and understand every possible relationship – all existing relationships – regardless of whether it’s a part within a part, or a similar part, or a modification of a part, it doesn’t matter,” he explains.

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This method lends itself to many other applications. Powers cites use cases like identifying tumours at an earlier stage with 3D artificial intelligence (AI) versus 2D AI, and the automation of mobile phone tower inspection.

In addition to the funding, Physna announced Instant AR, a major update to Thangs. With Instant AR, Thangs users can instantly convert 3D models on Thangs.com into AR formats, allowing them to ‘place’ any 3D model into a real world environment using a smartphone camera.

Instant AR can be used with both Android and iOS native browsers, and does not require special hardware or apps, and is available to Thangs users today.

“Thangs is an integral piece of Physna’s growth and future,” said Physna CEO Paul Powers. “As we work toward our mission of indexing the physical world, Thangs will be our connection to the millions of professional and hobbyist 3D engineers and designers who will help grow and develop spatial computing alongside us.”

Physna’s technology searches, compares, and analyses 3D models, creating more efficient engineering, industrial design and procurement processes for enterprises. Using Physna’s enterprise platform, an engineer can find a model by searching for an object, including components contained in assemblies, alternative components, and alternative uses of those components. For example, a procurement manager can use a picture – or take a scan – of any part a company uses and see where it’s being used throughout the organisation, in what quantities, and if the company is buying redundant parts.

“As the physical and digital worlds continue to merge and computing interfaces evolve, the ability to standardise data and search across the 3D digital world will become more critical,” said Brian Bendett, Partner at GV. “I’m excited to work with the Physna team as they continue building a new standard for 3D search.”

Thangs 3D looks to transform how we search for parts