Start-up gets animated after just three months

Ambitious Cork start-up Rendicity has set out to disrupt the global animation industry and achieve revenues of €25m within five years.

Employing a staff of two, it launched on the market three months ago offering cloud-based services which give animation studios the necessary processing power to create realistic and visually rich movies.

Rendicity’s software is used to convert 3D animation models to the 2D images required to create a moving picture in a process called rendering. Rendicity chief executive Theo Lynn, who is also a professor, says its cloud-rendering service is “quicker, more cost-effective, easier to use, and more secure than traditional rendering”.

Serving an industry which requires ever greater processing capacity to produce ever more realistic special effects, Rendicity anticipates a growing global demand for its services.

The immensity of the requirements for animation is illustrated by the fact that Pixar’s Monster University, required 100m hours of processing power just for the final edit.

Mr Lynn says Rendicity offers small and medium-sized studios, on a pay-per-use basis, the processing power and infrastructure to deliver world-class special effects competitively.

“Until now, only major studios could afford the upfront investment required for such infrastructure. For larger studios with pent–up demand we offer extra capacity, quickly and easily,” he says.

Since the launch in August, Rendicity has sold to 30 customers of varying sizes worldwide. These include a US customer spending just $5 on rendering one 3D image, but another customer in New Zealand who spent $12,000 purchasing 6,500 virtual machine hours.

Starting by selling online through its website, Rendicity is building up a network of channel partners to develop sales. “We are targeting over 3,800 specialist animation and visual FX studios around the world at the top 4% of architectural firms,” says Mr Lynn, who adds that the company has started selling to some of the smaller studios as well as seeking out business at the major players in the industry.

In order to fund its ambitious global plans, Rendicity plans to raise €1m in funding. This will allow it to employ developers and sales and marketing staff, and increase its staff size to 21 by the end of 2016.

Rendicity was founded in 2010 by cloud computing and distributed computing experts James Kennedy and Philip Healy, who developed the initial software and applied for patents in 2011.

Mr Lynn, an associate professor at Dublin City University and serial entrepreneur who previously set up three software companies, joined the company as chief executive in 2013. Mr Healy is now chief technical officer and Mr Kennedy is a director of Rendicity.

To date, the company has received €175,000 in funding, including €50,000 in competitive start-up funding from Enterprise Ireland. It proposed to raise the additional €1m through a seed round by early 2016.

Initially set up at the Rubicon Centre in Cork Institute of Technology, Rendicity temporarily moved to Dublin this year to participate in the Ryan Academy Propeller Venture Accelerator. It is in the process of moving to new premises in Cork.

In October this year it was named Propeller Venture Accelerator Company of the Year and has also been shortlisted in this year’s Munster regional finals of the Intertrade Ireland Seedcorn competition.

Future plans include expanding the company’s reach beyond animation and offering high-performance computing solutions to a range of companies requiring large processing capacity for complex simulations. These will include industrial and mechanical designers and industries such as the automotive and aeromotive sectors.

In offering processing power to the animation industry, Rendicity is addressing a market with an estimated value of $578m. Mr Lynn says that the opportunity which is offered by the adjacent market segment involving computer-aided design, mechanical design, and electronic design is worth some $3bn.

He says that few companies offer Rendicity’s mix of on-demand infrastructure for rendering using the massive power of multiple cloud providers.

This makes it a potential acquisition target for the future. Rendicity’s two direct competitors, Zync Render and Green Button, were acquired last year by Google and Microsoft, respectively.

Rendicity fact file:

Location: Cork

Set up: 2010

CEO: Professor Theo Lynn

Staff: 2

Business: Cloud-based rendering service for animation companies

Website: rendicity.com

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