Technology has undoubtedly transformed itself in the past decade or so. It’s where AI and ML have bootstrapped the way we use technology and made it user-friendly in the best possible scenario. But when it comes to effective communication and interacting with other people through social media, we have Snapchat with its media sharing facilities, Tiktok with its video-making abilities, and Highavenue, creating a 3D rendering of yourself has become a seamless process.
Highavenue is a company that deals with the creation of 3D renderings to convert yourself into 3D animated short videos. It’s where users can upload a few images of themselves and have them converted to a 3D animation with plenty of animations and other gestures that you wish to add. Moreover, users can easily share them through different social media platforms. Speaking with the CEO and Co-founder of Highavenue, Pradeep Baskaran, Venture Mirror had the opportunity to learn more about the budding startup and what more they had to offer in the coming future. Learn more from the excerpts given below.
What is the startup / product / venture about? Give us a brief description of it.
Highavenue is a mobile app where users can generate a 3D model that looks similar to them, within a minute or so, by uploading a few images. The user can then apply various augmented reality animations to the 3D model and record attractive videos, which he/she can share externally or post within the platform.
Here are some of the links to check out:
Demo video: https://youtu.be/dCEGx-thXD4
App store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/highavenue/id1470937706?ls=1
Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.highavenuear.android
We are a small bootstrapped startup from a tiny town called Anupuram(603127) in south India, Tamilnadu. We are a team of four members hailing from small towns & tier2/3 cities like Anupuram, Bhavani, Kanya Kumari, Thoothukudi (You might not have heard about these places before). During Covid, we rented a small apartment & converted the living space to our Office. We bootstrapped our way here after providing IT services to clients in the US and India for the last 2 years.
Our vision is to democratize the creation of 3D animated scenes, unlike other AR/Avatar based consumer platforms. Anybody should be able to create a short 3D animation of length 15 to 30 seconds and even be a part of it.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
We are three co-founders and one full-time employee.
Pradeep Baskaran [CEO & Founder]
I, take care of the product, design, pre-production & customer acquisition.
Soorya Sankar [Tech Lead]
Soorya is a Full-stack developer with 2+ years of developing products in multiple technologies from Mobile apps to AR to the web.
Terrance Abilan [3D Generalist, Co-founder]
Terrance is a master of tools. He works with a wide range of 3D tools from Maya, Blender to Realflow.
Renold Jebarson [3D Generalist, full-time employee]
Renold is a creative person, who works with both 2D & 3D tools. He comes up with attractive ideas when it comes to animations.
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
I’ve always been a huge fan of games, anime and cartoons. I’m 29 and I still watch cartoons, play PUBG. It was a natural pull towards augmented reality for me. Animations have always excited me and but like any other kid in my town I had to go and get an engineering degree.
As we started working on AR, we understood the difficulty behind the creation of 3D animations. It has been alienistic to common consumers when it comes to 3D animations. Usually, we need big tools to produce animations, months or weeks to learn those tools and hours or days to create a few seconds of a 3D animated scene.
So this idea sparked – “what if we can automate the whole process of modelling, rigging, texturing & animating” so that a user can create an animate scene within a few minutes. With animations, there is always a lead 3D character. So as a first step we automated these three pillars (modelling, rigging & texturing), now you can create a 3D character with just a few images – the model is fully rigged, & textured – ready for animation. We launched the above functionality as an MVP out to the market and received a great response from our users. Finally, with technologies like depth detection, body tracking we are working on to fix the last leg of the puzzle.
To put this in a perspective,
Tiktok lowered the barrier to creating videos.
Clubhouse lowered the barrier to creating audio content.
Snapchat did it for communication.
At Highavenue we would like to lower the barrier for creating short 3D animated scenes.
Who is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to them?
Eventually, Highavenue will be a social media platform where users will create, share & watch short 3D animated scenes. Think of a social product as a marketplace, where there are two aspects such as – supply and demand. For us, its creators and audience. We have to prioritise the creators first.
As of now, we are looking for creators from the US & India, within the age group 18 – 26.
We believe people from animation industry or fans who love anime or animation movies like storyboard artists, dubbing artists, cosplayers would be our early adopters. Our first job is to make sure we create value for these creators by
1. Support them to create 3D animated scenes using our tool
2. Help them to get a huge response in the existing platforms.
3. And slowly transport them to our platform with their followers (Who are going to be our audience).
Who are your competitors? How are you different from them?
There are plenty of players in the avatar generation category: from Genies, Pinscreen, to even Zepeto, but the use-cases are totally different. While Zepeto does offer minor features, none of these players is trying to lower the barrier for creating 3D scenes.
That said, even though we are working on the animation and AR side, end of the day our output is a short video. And we already know who the huge players in the short format vertical video content.
Our core competitors would be apps like Plotagon, Toontastic 3D, Prisma 3D who are making it comfortable to create 3D models and animation in a smartphone. Even then the overall process for creating 3D scenes is a time-consuming effort.
In Highavenue things are extremely easy:
1. You create the avatar.
2. Select any 3D scene (Pre-built)
3. Hop in front of the camera, start acting. and record it.
4. Our app will capture your actions automatically and apply them to the avatar.
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
Our first goal now is to get a considerable amount of traction for our existing product in the market and raise our pre-seed from angels or VCs. We are in touch with some investors and started our initial conversations. As we work on fundraising, we are simultaneously working on a few stuff like:
– improving our ML system’s efficiency which automates the avatar generation.
– Add some essential components like watermarks, linking other social accounts to our platform, making it super easy to share the current AR content to external platforms.
– Bring in more animation effects.
– Also, finishing up the body tracking feature.
The future seems bright, interesting and we are excited about it.