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Entrepreneurs find niche for 3D education technology in domestic and foreign markets

Two pioneering Brazilian companies have invested in the development of 3D education software and prove that this market is promising.

Two pioneering Brazilian companies have invested in the development of 3D education software and prove that this market is promising. P3D (www.p3d.com.br), which develops 3D education software, has grown 150% per year and has already developed more than 1,000 interactive models for schools. Its billing in 2010 was R$ 5 million and it has exported to more than 20 countries, including Canada, Spain, India and Switzerland. With an eye on this market, the Nigraph (www.nigraph.com.br), a Rio de Janeiro company, specialized in the development of interactive and multimedia solutions for the Internet, created the start-up Autore 3D (autore3d.com) in 2009, to sell software with the same name focused on distance education. Although it is still in the Beta phase, it has guaranteed the company sales of R$ 85 thousand.

Created by Mervyn Lowe, a business administrator, and Hemerson Hyppolito, a specialist in virtual reality, P3D, based in São Paulo, has some 20 employees. The eight software developers take an average of two weeks to develop content. They are guided by audiovisual consultants so that they can meet the needs of teachers and students. A total of 250 Brazilian schools and more than 2,000 abroad use the technology resources developed by the company.

When the company was only two years old, the partners decided to risk investments in exports. “It was the most innovative initiative we took. The opportunity was very good; we realized that the niche for 3D content for schools was not explored in either the Brazilian or international market,” Lowe affirmed. He guarantees that the “development of this type of technology requires high investments and the constant search for highly trained professionals, but, despite the challenges, the investment is worthwhile.” To prepare the company to export, the partners sought capital from an angel investor. Among the 20 countries that purchase the P3D software, the highest sales are in Spain, Chile and Puerto Rico, indicating that the software is reaching different continents.

Focused on EaD, the Autore 3D software allows any teacher, even those who have no previous knowledge of the technology, to use the 3D resource to produce educational content online. To develop the tool, Nigraph invested R$1,2 million, including its own resources and from financing. “Distance education has gained importance and space in Brazil, for this reason, we decided to produce an interactive option aimed at this segment,” said Hélio Nigri. In 2012, the company will expand the functionalities of the software and release a software version for individual users in the SaaS model. “The plan is to sell this version in the global market. We will begin in the United States, which is a large market and can push us to other regions,” Nigri added.

For P3D, the next step is to reach China and the United States. “In China, we have a local partner, and since 2009, we are implementing a pilot project in 100 public schools. We will begin sales in 2012. This market is promising, given that China has some 700 thousand schools. In the United States, we will make investments in the medium and long term.

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