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Jan 11

The Story Behind The DAZ3D - Gizmoz Merger

Posted by: Phil Reed        

About 3 years ago, we made an investment in DAZ3D, a very interesting company that markets 3D creation software and content to digital artists, including a family of very high quality 3D avatars that quickly became a standard. The company’s founders, Chris Creek and Dan Farr had successfully bootstrapped DAZ to profitability and had built a strong community of digital artists, many of whom were creating 3D art and content that DAZ3D remarketed on their website to other artists. While DAZ3D could continue to self-fund its growth, Chris and Dan decided the time was right to add some outside resources and capital to the Company and expand its reach and, at that time, Highway 12 Ventures joined their team. Since its inception, DAZ3D had focused on high quality rendered 3D art, or portrait art, which are really digital portraits. While the rendered digital art market was growing steadily, the “real-time” market for digital art in games and virtual worlds was about to explode. DAZ3D thought if they could open these new “real-time” markets up to their digital artist community it would greatly increase the demand for the digital art they were marketing for the Company and their artists community. Game and Virtual World companies began to see value in allowing players and inhabitants to personalize their characters in these “real-time” environments, in essence to create digital versions of themselves; “digital me’s”.


At the same time, over in Israel, Eyal Gever and his team were developing technology that would allow users to take a single digital picture front shot of themselves or others, and then transpose their face onto characters already in pictures or videos. Their company, Gizmoz, also had the capability of developing the advanced technology that would make DAZ3D high-definition rendered avatars and content transportable into the real-time environment of games and virtual worlds. To the management of both companies (and their investors), it made strategic sense to bring the two organizations together to become the leader in providing a growing market a way to personalize and use high-quality digital avatars and content in a full range of environments from high-definition digital art to games, virtual worlds, and animated creations. The combined technologies would allow beginner and professional artists alike to create 3D digital art and animations that are personalized and transportable between a wide range of social networks and digital environments.


The end goal of the merger was a powerful enough vision to drive the founders, management, and investors through months of difficult deal point discussions and the legal challenges involved in bringing two companies a half a world apart, together. Finally, in November of ’09, the merger and an associated financing were completed. But even as negotiations were taking place, the management of both companies were merging their ideas and technologies, and building their friendships and respect for each other. Working on this has been incredibly rewarding for me. Expect to see some very exciting products and technologies introduced to an eager market in the first half of this year.



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