Autodesk acquires extended reality software startup The Wild

Engineering software giant Autodesk Inc. is acquiring The Wild, a startup with tools that enable architects to review the design for a new building using a virtual reality headset. 

Autodesk announced the deal today without disclosing financial details. The Wild, incorporated as Wild Technologies Inc., earlier raised about $3.1 million in venture funding. 

Publicly traded Autodesk makes software that engineers use to design buildings, vehicles and other complex systems. Autodesk’s software products make it possible to create a three-dimensional model of a system and explore ways to optimize its design. The company also provides applications that help with other tasks, such as managing construction projects.

The architecture, engineering and construction segment is one of Autodesk’s main focus areas. The acquisition of The Wild will enable the company to offer a broader set of software features to organizations in this segment.

The Wild’s flagship product is a software platform that enables the architects, engineers and other professionals involved in a construction project to view the 3D model of a building using VR headsets. The platform works with popular headsets such as Meta Platform Inc.’s Meta Quest. Users can also review 3D models on their desktops or using an iOS device. 

According to the Wild, the ability to interact with the 3D model of a building in a VR environment can streamline construction projects. The Wild enables architects to explore the interior of a building from the perspective of visitors to find areas for improvement. A user can select an object, such as the elevator, to bring up detailed construction-related technical data. 

The Wild’s other product is called IrisVR. It enables companies to generate a virtual tour of an upcoming building and make it accessible through VR headsets. IrisVR automatically generates VR tours from the 3D model for a structure without requiring users to create any custom code or make complex file modifications, which saves time.

Alongside The Wild’s technology and talent, Autodesk will gain the startup’s more than 700 customer accounts. The startup’s customer base includes several major construction companies and architecture firms.

“A convergence of events makes this the right time for Autodesk’s acquisition of The Wild’s talent and technology as the foundation of Autodesk’s XR journey,” said Nic Fonta, the general manager of extended reality at Autodesk. “Accessibility, affordability, as well as the future of digital twins and metaverse, create the right environment and business rationale for advancing XR technology within the AEC [architecture, engineering and construction] industry.”

Autodesk’s architecture, engineering and construction business is its biggest revenue segment. The business accounted for $527.5 million of the $1.21 billion in sales that the company generated last quarter. 

For construction industry customers, Autodesk provides not only building design tools but also other products such as its Autodesk BIM 360 Platform, which can be used to fix errors in blueprints and carry out project management tasks. The company has significantly expanded this part of its portfolio in recent quarters. Last year, Autodesk introduced three new tools designed to simplify project management tasks in the construction sector.

Autodesk’s acquisition of The Wild’s VR tools for reviewing building designs is an extension of its recent push to expand its construction software portfolio with more products. Last year, the company told investors that construction projects related to transportation and water infrastructure represent a particularly significant growth opportunity. Any future acquisitions that Autodesk makes following the purchase of The Wild could focus on expanding its capabilities in those areas. 

Photo: Unsplash

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