Artificial Artists (t/a 3dctrl) secures £450k Seed investment led by Mercia

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Duo raise £450k for 3D software that could revolutionise e-commerce

Two advertising executives who quit their jobs to develop their own 3D software have secured over £450,000 in investment to help them launch their product.

Ben Cyzer and Tim Phillips created visual effects for TV commercials for brands such as Sony, Nike and Samsung and were behind the penguin in the John Lewis adverts. They set up London-based Artificial Artists in 2018 to find a way to make quality 3D animation more suited to the faster pace and lower budgets of digital media.

Their software platform 3dctrl reduces production time and costs by up to 80%, and allows marketing managers to make their own 3D video and images for use in digital ads, social media posts and online shopping sites.

3dctrl was developed with support from private investors. The latest funding round, which was led by Mercia’s EIS Fund with backing from Triple Point Ventures and individual investors, will allow the company to further enhance the product and bring it to market.

As 3D allows an item to be viewed from all angles, it is ideal for design-led products such as clothing, cars and electronics. 3dctrl  is currently being piloted by a number of fashion and automotive firms. The company, which employs a team of six, met Mercia after being selected as part of the Digital Catapult Augmentor investment readiness bootcamp.

Ben Cyzer, the company’s co-founder, said:

“3D animation has traditionally been reserved for big budget TV commercials and is 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.”

Chris Kilroy of Mercia added:

“Artificial Artists has built a toolkit that provides content creators with the ability to quickly and easily create professional quality 3D videos and images using their brand assets. 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.”


Press contacts
Alison Dwyer
Head of Marketing & Communications
Mercia Asset Management PLC
+44 (0) 7464 480 137
[email protected] 

Pauline Rawsterne
PR Agent
Turquoise PR
+44 (0) 161 860 6063
+44 (0) 780 163 9816
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About Mercia Asset Management PLC

Mercia is a proactive, specialist asset manager focused on supporting regional SMEs to achieve their growth aspirations. Mercia provides capital across its four asset classes of balance sheet, venture, private equity and debt capital: the Group’s ‘Complete Capital Solution’. The Group initially nurtures businesses via its third-party funds under management, then over time Mercia can provide further funding to the most promising companies, by deploying direct investment follow-on capital from its own balance sheet.

Mercia has a strong UK regional footprint through its eight offices, 19 university partnerships and extensive personal networks, providing it with access to high-quality deal flow. Mercia has almost £0.8billion of assets under management and, since its IPO in December 2014, has invested over £90.0million across its direct investment portfolio.

The Group raises its own Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Funds and details about open offers can be found through Mercia’s website.

Mercia Asset Management PLC is quoted on AIM with the epic “MERC” and includes the following wholly owned subsidiaries –

  • Mercia Fund Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 524856
  • Enterprise Ventures Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 183363
  • EV Business Loans Limited is authorised and regulated by the FCA under firm reference number 443560

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Safiya Marzook

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