Gizmoz, the animation company that lets people create lifelike avatars for sharing across social networks and virtual worlds, has merged with DAZ 3D, an animation technology provider, and online artists’ community. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the merger comes with round of funding led by Benchmark Capital, Highway 12 Ventures and Columbia Capital; DoCoMo (NYSE: DCM) Capital and Village Ventures also participated.
Tel Aviv-based Gizmoz previously raised around $13 million over two rounds of funding from DoCoMo, Columbia, Benchmark, and others; its last round came in May 2008. Utah-based DAZ 3D raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Highway 12, Village Ventures and the University of Utah Venture Fund early this year.
The teams haven’t decided what the newly-merged company will be called, but the goal is to create a one-stop-shop for game developers and animators that want quick access to character-creation technology. The marketplace will combine DAZ 3D’s self-serve 3D modeling tools, which are applicable for use in mobile and social games, as well as PC and console titles, with Gizmoz’s consumer-facing technology.
The company will also continue to offer free and premium avatar-creation tools for consumers. (People that go to the Gizmoz site, for example, can upload a picture and morph themselves into demons, panthers, rock stars, et al, and then upload that avatar to their social networks for free). It will keep both websites functioning in the interim, with plans to launch a new combined site and services in Q1 2010. Dan Farr, co-founder and president of DAZ 3D will serve as the newly-merged company’s CEO; Gizmoz founder and CEO Eyal Gever is the company’s president. Release.