One-year-old 3D sketch app company uMake announced on Thursday that it has raised $5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by BlueRun Ventures with UpWest Labs, Brian McClendon, and Noam Bardin also participating.
“uMake is a mobile-first 3D solution that empower designers and creators to engage in 3D sketching wherever they are,” said uMake CEO Evi Meyer in a press statement. “We have combined the power of 3D CAD software with the nimbleness and flexibility of a mobile app to provide a simple, powerful and affordable path to 3D design for all types of products.”
The iPad-specific uMake lets designers use an Apple Pencil to make their drawings and purports to streamline workflow with 360 degree perspectives, creating designs for 3D printing. The app is free in the App Store with a premium edition available at $14.99/month or $149.99/year. Free users should know they’re limited to only 10 sketches, while premium versions include more editing tools and enabling photos as references within the app.
The company was featured at the Apple Keynote Event in September. “They really like what we’ve been able to do without funding. I think we had good timing to demonstrate what’s possible on the iPad Pro,” Meyer told Geektime. “We hope that more developers will create new experiences on mobile for professional users.”
CAD software has a long history in the modern computer age, but development toward a fully digitized version of a classical sketchpad has been a long time in coming. AutoCAD has been the staple of the industry for a decade, making commands like OSNAP (object snap mode) a running joke in modern high school shop classes across America. uMake, however, allows for a smoother process that relies on slight of hand rather than command prompts.
“uMake transforms the way designers and engineers approach 3D design,” said John Malloy of BlueRun Ventures in a press statement. “Creativity should be fun, easy and spontaneous, and uMake gives you that power in full 3D from inception to production.”
We're adding support for loft surfaces – significantly reduce the time it takes to create more complex surfaces pic.twitter.com/gWjJcrwaVu
— uMake (@uMakeXYZ) June 4, 2015
This by no means implies that uMake is alone in the 3D etch-a-sketch market. There are a number of other popular sketching apps, though theirs might be one of the more advanced CAD programs to hit the scene. Among their chief direct competitors are GravitySketch and SketchUp. Closely related are Tinkercad and 3Dtin. Still others that might be more relevant for artists include Savage Interactive’s Procreate for drawing and painting, Adobe Photoshop’s spin-off apps Sketch and Draw, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Tayasui Sketches, human form-focused Pose Tool 3D, and many more.
When asked if they were planning to expand to Android or Windows, they said they were seeing the world through iOS glasses for the time being where most of their target audience is.
“It gives us as developers the freedom to create unique experiences for touch interfaces without compromising the experience itself,” Meyer said to Geektime.
CEO Evi Meyer and CTO Erik Sapir founded the company in 2014. Soon after launching, UpWest Labs funded a seed round for an undisclosed sum.