L-R: Ben Cyzer and Tim Phillips.

London-based animation duo behind John Lewis Christmas ad secure six-figure investment

A London based duo has secured a £450k investment for 3D software in a bid to revolutionise e-commerce.

Ben Cyzer and Tim Phillips set up London-based Artificial Artists in 2018 in order to make 3D animation more accessible to digital media.

The firm’s software platform 3dctrl has been boosted by private funding from Mercia’s EIS Fund, with backing from both Triple Point Ventures and individual investors.

Ben and Tim, who are both former advertising executives, quit their jobs to develop the software, which aims to reduce production time and costs by up to 80 per cent.

Previously, the pair created visual effects for TV commercials, such as Monty the Penguin from the 2014 John Lewis Christmas advert.

3dctrl aims to enable marketing managers to make their own 3D video and images for digital ads, social media posts, and online shopping sites. Users will be able to view 3D items from all angles, and it is currently being piloted by several fashion and automotive firms.

Ben Cyzer, co-founder of Artificial Artists, said: “3D animation has traditionally been reserved for big budget TV commercials and it prohibitively expensive for digital channels.

“Our mission is to make 3D visual effects more accessible and affordable, empowering companies to generate their own 3D animation in-house, at speed and at scale.”

Mercia Asset Management, who invested in the project, supports regional support SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations.

Mercia’s Chris Kilroy said, “This investment round will enable the company to further develop the product and bolster its core team.

“I’m looking forward to working with Ben and Tim as they continue to capitalise on the opportunities available to them moving forward”

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