Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ) has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding. Round13 Captial investment was led by participation from Rhino Ventures and Harlo Equity Partners. MARZ plans to use the funding to grow its core Visual Effects (VFX) business and accelerate the development of its AI for VFX technology solutions.
The Toronto-based studio launched in 2018 and develops AI solutions aimed at tackling some of the challenges facing the entertainment industry regarding VFX capacity shortages caused by broadcast wars, the corresponding explosion of on-demand content, and the importance of VFX in driving subscriber growth.
“We will use the funds to accelerate research and development of our ‘AI for VFX’ solutions, of which there are two AI products currently in development,” MARZ co-founder and co-chair Jonathan Bronfman told TechCrunch in an email. “In line with this, the funding will be allocated to hire key personnel in our research, engineering and product institutions. The funding will also be used to grow our hardware and infrastructure capabilities, which will help to meaningfully shorten AI research and development, as well as increase capacity efficiency for each of our AI products. our own.”
Bronfman said that while the majority of the funding will be allocated to developing proprietary AI solutions, it will also help the company accelerate its growth in its traditional VFX services business, which he says is synergistic with MARZ’s AI business.
The company has worked on 88 projects in the first three years since its launch, including Marvel’s “WandaVision,” HBO’s “Watchmen,” Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy,” and Apple TV+’s “Invasion.” MARZ completed 13 projects in its first year, 21 in its second year and 54 in its third year.
MARZ has grown from 45 employees in 2019 to 194 employees today, with plans to increase its team to 300 employees over the next year. More than a quarter of current employees focus on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Although the company is headquartered in Toronto, Mars is a premier telecommuting company with a distributed workforce based in cities around the world, including Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, Madrid, Los Angeles, Melbourne, London, Moscow, Mumbai and Mexico City.
“Our mission is to democratize visual effects and, in doing so, empower creators around the world to produce the most ambitious video content — whether it’s for a streaming service, a Hollywood studio, a game studio, a metaverse developer, or the up-and-coming talent who wants Incorporating visual effects into social media content.” Bronfman wrote.
The company plans to create a suite of AI-driven robotic products that are integrated into both VFX and gaming technology. For Hollywood, MARZ Products will aim to allow for the ability to create more ambitious content. In terms of other markets such as the end consumer, Bronfman says MARZ’s solutions will aim to make visual effects available for the first time ever.
“MARZ is one of the fastest growing visual effects studios in the industry with a reputation for leveraging technology to deliver best-in-class product within record timelines,” Braham Klar, partner at Round13 Capital, said in a statement. “By partnering with MARZ, along with some of Canada’s most successful investors, we can work closely with the team to build on the company’s exceptional success to date.”