ZVerse, a startup focusing on the conversion of 2D (i.e. flat) content to 3D, is hailing a reseller agreement with imaging giant Konica Minolta that will make its technology available across North America in coming months.

How big is the potential of this deal?

“ZVerse LAYR does for 3D printing what software did for the PC,” says ZVerse CEO John Carrington. “That’s what attracted Konica Minolta and others.”

The 3D market is already growing quickly. “The global 3D printing market is in the progressive phase of its life cycle, valued at $2,811.8 million in 2014, and is anticipated to reach $8,683.7 million by 2020, growing at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 21% during 2015 -2020,” reports Allied Market Research.

Triangle angel investor Scot Wingo is a backer of ZVerse, a three-year-old firm based in Columbia, S.C. that raised $3.5 million in Series A financing last year and is already profitable. Carrington is predicting a six-fold increase in revenue this year.

  • More coverage: Why did Wingo invest in ZVerse?

The deal means that Konica Minolta’s sales force of over 1,500 can begin offering a solution that enables customers to convert 2D content to 3D for 3D printing purposes using ZVerse’s LAYR technology. Konica Minolta, a $9 billion global company, plans to offer 3D printers bundled with ZVerse software or a package of services and training.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” said Gavin Jordan-Smith, vice president of Solutions and Production Planning at Konica Minolta, in the deal announcement.

“We are already successfully selling a line of 3D printers, but the LAYR platform takes the opportunity to an entirely new level. We are bundling ZVerse services with a 3D printer, or alternatively, we are selling the services platform and sales training to enable them to enter the market without an equipment investment. It’s a key strategic partnership for us.”

In a Q&A, Carrington talks about the deal and its importance to his firm as well as the potential to convert “hundreds of billions” of 2D images.

  • So how big a deal do you believe this is for the company? Can this deal take you mainstream, i.e. really raise public awareness?

This would be the biggest and most important deal we’ve had in our 3 years of business.

ZVerse LAYR will be sold by over 1500 Konica Minolta sales reps in USA, Canada and Mexico to start with. Konica Minolta has over 90,000 business customers in the US alone. They have been selling 2D content technology to mature businesses for a very long time.

  • Do you see this as helping to accelerate printable 3D content sales?

Absolutely. The world of 3D content is just a drop of water compared to the ocean 2D content.

Our technology unlocks 2D content so that it can be made 3D printable.

[In the announcement, Carrington noted: The biggest challenge to widespread adoption of 3D printing, is that you need a 3D file. And creating these files can be a very inefficient and expensive process,.

We designed the ZVerse LAYR platform to solve the challenge of 3D printable content creation. ZVerse LAYR is a turnkey suite of software applications that make any 2D content 3D printable. Simply put, We 3D 2D.]

Hundreds of billions of 2D image files are created every day. Each one of flat images can now be experienced as a full color 3D printed object.

It’s hard to overstate how large the opportunity is.

ZVerse LAYR does for 3D printing what software did for the PC. That’s what attracted Konica Minolta and others.

  • So since this is a reseller agreement I assume you share in sales revenue, correct?

Yes, ZVerse LAYR is being sold as a SaaS application. Customers pay for access to our 3D content creation applications on a subscription basis. Konica Minolta shares in the revenue from their sales.

We have built out our own inside sales team as well. So, Konica Minolta is a hugely important channel, but we have been selling on our own with great success and will continue to do so.

  • Did Konica Minolta pay anything up front? Are they an investor?

They did not pay anything up front and we did not offer an exclusive agreement. We are free to partner with anyone. They are not an investor today.

  • Are you raising any further funding at this point?

We closed our Series A funding eight months ago. We have been making money for the last year and our revenue this year will be six times that of 2015. We are not raising right now.

We may consider raising a Series B round in the future. We are doing something that has never been done and have interest from very big fish, so we will seek to capitalize on the opportunities in front of us!