Four creative entrepreneurs at the Lead incubator in Linköping had developed a new piece of software for automatic 3D-model optimization. This is the background to Simplygon, which was established in 2007 and bought by Microsoft ten years later in one of Almi Invest’s best ever business deals.
Simplygon is now at the forefront of 3D optimization for games. The product can be integrated into the most commonly used game development programs to automatically optimize advanced 3D graphics, saving a great deal of work and computer power. It speeds up the whole process of developing games.
Unlike most new technology start-ups, Simplygon was already earning money in the early years. But not enough to be able to maintain the right pace of development without the help of external capital as well. Almi Invest was the first investor back in 2008.
“We could see that the technology was world class and the team had a global vision right from the start,” says Fredrik Malmström, Investment Manager at Almi Invest. The journey with Simplygon wasn’t always an easy one, but it was definitely worth all the effort.”
A few years ago the company entered into a partnership with Microsoft, one that would lead to Microsoft buying the whole company in 2017. At the time, Simplygon had a turnover of around SEK 50 million and 30 employees, and customers included a number of gaming companies as well as Audi and Ikea.
Incorporating 3D objects into Office
Simplygon is now part of Microsoft but continues to operate from Linköping, and the software is only used in Microsoft’s products. The idea is to incorporate 3D objects into the Office programs.
“Simplygon’s technology will consolidate our position within 3D and make it easier to make use of, create and share 3D products,” explains Kudo Tsunoda, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.
Simplygon will continue to develop as part of Microsoft. Microsoft is investing in the company and planning to grow in Linköping.
“We’re delighted that Microsoft has bought Simplygon, both for Almi Invest and for Linköping,” says Fredrik Malmström, Investment Manager at Almi Invest. "This was one of Almi Invest’s best business deals ever and great for Linköping that Microsoft is getting established here.”
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