Snap quietly acquired Amsterdam-based 3D scanning studio Th3rd in the second quarter of last year, at a time when the company was looking to bolster its AR-powered commerce ambitions. A spokesperson for the company confirmed to TechCrunch that four team members from Th3rd, who are based in the Netherlands, joined Snap as part of the acquisition. The company did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
Founded in 2014, Th3rd specializes in creating high-quality digital twins of people and products to give brands and retailers a way to digitize their product catalog at scale. After being selected for Adidas’ Accelerator in Europe, the company worked with the retailer to digitize more than 2,500 shoes.
Snap declined to share how it incorporated Th3rd’s capabilities into its company, but we understand the startup’s technology has been used to enhance Snap’s AR projects, including its newly launched offering for brands. Yesterday, Snap announced it would start offering its AR tools to enterprise customers. The new SaaS product offers a suite of features, like AR try-on and fit and sizing recommendation tech, to help brands leverage AR technology. Brands can integrate these AR features directly into their apps or websites, Snap had said.
The company has been investing 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 turn retailers’ photos into 3D assets and launched an in-app destination for AR fashion and virtual try-on called “Dress Up.”
A few months before that, Snap rolled out a number of upgrades to better appeal to retailers and brands, including the ability to update product information and pricing in real-time, access better analytics, and more easily create AR Shopping Lenses, among other things. At the same time, Snap had updated its Lens Web Builder that allowed brands to create shopping Lenses in a matter of minutes.
In addition, Snap recently landed a notable partner for its AR-powered commerce ambitions when it announced that it partnered with Amazon for its Virtual Try-On shopping experience. Other brands that have leveraged Snapchat’s AR Shopping Lenses include MAC Cosmetics, Ulta Beauty, American Eagle, Puma, Chanel, Walmart and LVMH.
Th3rd is one of the several AR companies that have been acquired by Snap over the last few years.
In May 2021, Snap acquired AR startup WaveOptics, a company that supplied the technology that powers Snap’s Spectacles AR glasses, for $500 million. In March 2021, Snap acquired Fit Analytics to further its AR-fuelled move into e-commerce. In July 2021, it acquired 3D and AR commerce company Vertebrae. And last year, Snap disclosed it acquired AR company Forma.
Given its recent investments, it’s clear that the company sees potential in AR-powered commerce. A combined study from Publicis media and Snap suggests that the AR Retail market will have a project value of $1.2 trillion by 2030.
Snap says 250 million Snapchat users have engaged with AR shopping 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 study with consulting firm Ipsos and found that 92% of Gen Z users are interested in using AR for shopping.
Snap isn’t the only company that has been investing in AR-powered commerce, however, as Pinterest and Google have also leveraged AR to allow shoppers to try on makeup, apparel, and accessories. Amazon also launched a virtual try-on experience for shoes in June 2022, available to consumers in the U.S. and Canada in the Amazon iOS app.