Splinea no-code design tool for creating 3D assets, announced today it has raised $15 million in a seed round led by Gradient Ventures with participation from First Round Capital, NXTP, Chapter One, Vercel CEO Guillermo Rauch, Y Combinator, Webflow CEO Vlad Magdalin and Backend Capital.
Co-founder and CEO Alejandro Leon said the proceeds, which took Spline’s total up to $16 million, will go toward R&D and expanding the size of the startup’s 20-person team.
“Early in 2020, prior to launching Spline, our conversations with investors about investing in 3D were met with mixed reactions,” Leon told Zero2Billions in an email interview. “A lot has changed since then, and we have grown a lot too. 3D is now the default content format, alongside Image, audio and video.”
Leon — who claims to have loved 3D as a child, even learning to code for it — launched Spline in 2020, inspired to make the 3D design process simpler and easier to learn. Spline was accepted as part of the Y Combinator 2021 batch and launched in beta last March.
Spline lets users create 3D objects, edit content, add interactivity (including game controls) and animation, and export them — all from a web browser, whether from scratch or ready-made objects. The platform’s collaboration features allow users to work together to refine and comment on assets, and create real-time physics simulations and interactions between those assets.
Designs can be exported as image files, GIFs and more, or embedded in web pages using multiple sets of code.
“Web technologies are now capable of even higher levels of quality. AI is also evolving into 3D, and now we have a new technology coming up that builds on 3D and spatial foundations,” said Leon.
Leon sees generative AI as the logical next step for the Spline platform, which competes with legacy tools like Blender and Cinema 4D. Spline recently added AI style transfer and AI texture tools to its suite, and is exploring how to use prompts for content creation using the big language model — following in the footsteps of companies such as OpenAI and Meta.
“We believe that AI can empower more designers to get started easily by reducing the friction and complexity of the 3D creation process,” added Leon. “There’s a lot of complexity to the 3D creation process, so it’s an ongoing effort and an overall challenge, but we think AI will be an important part of making 3D creation more accessible to everyone.”
To date, over 1 million creators have joined Spline — a number that has impressed Darian Shirazi of Gradient Ventures.
“We are blown away by the product Alejandro and the Spline team have created,” said Shirazi, general partner at Gradient, via email. “And the community of creators who have discovered Spline and fallen in love with its capabilities are equally impressive. The future of computing and communications is driven by 3D, and we believe Spline is at the intersection of creativity … and AI.”