Perth-based award-winning startup SpaceDraft has launched its cloud-based SaaS platform that allows users to plan a space in 4D on a digital, shareable canvas – the first of its kind in the world.
Founded by 32-year-old Lucy Cooke – who spent close to a decade in Hollywood working in visual effects for an array of productions including Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean – the idea came about when she realised how much was spent on pre-visualisation and planning of shots.
“It sparked an idea to build a really simple technology to help anyone (without any technical skill) visualise any physical or virtual space and show how characters could interact with these spaces over time,” she said.
Although the idea was conceived with the film industry in mind, the technology can be applied across various sectors including mining, education, oil & gas, physical mapping and events.
One lucrative sector where the platform is set to make an impact is the video game market – which is expected to double in value to $300 billion by the middle of the decade.
“SpaceDraft was initially designed as a virtual collaboration tool that was more efficient and cost-saving for film producers, and enabled virtual and physical spaces to be effectively planned before production,” explained Lucy.
A hit with Curtin
The idea sparked interest with Curtin University, especially given students could use this to design video games. They invested $50,000 of a recent $1.2 million seed round to grow both the team and design the 3D and sound capabilities.
Once the pandemic hit, staff and students at Curtin started using the platform as means of communicating ideas in other disciplines ranging from how to navigate around a submarine to designing hospital evacuation plans.
Along with edtech, the logistics, resources and emergency services are also employing the platform.
Given SpaceDraft now has over 60,000 BETA testers – some paying customers – along with 16 strategic partnerships, a provisional patent filed and growing in-house developers, Lucy believes her platform is poised well for strong growth.
“We know that we have a world-first product that intersects with a whole range of industries,” she said.
“SpaceDraft solves a real problem. We are in a great position to grow and capitalise on our position into the future.”
After working as a child actor in Perth, Lucy was trained as a film and television producer at the WA Screen Academy before moving to Sydney, where she worked on Gods of Egypt.
“I became the director’s assistant for this $140 million film and all of a sudden I was given a car and corner office at Fox studios,” she said.
Later she moved to Hollywood, where she worked on various productions and EA’d for Mel Gibson.
“Being a behavioural scientist also means I see things through a different lens – I can jump between software engineering conversations while being client-facing,” she added.
“I could see problems which needed to be solved, particularly in relation to collaboration and the planning of sets and virtual spaces before production.”
The company, which was last year’s Startup of the Year at the Lateral INCITE awards, is currently raising $1.5M to supercharge growth both in Australia and overseas.
Curtin University is a sponsor of Startup News.
Listen to Lucy’s story on episode 42 of the Startup West podcast (recorded in Sept 2020).