In this edition, we meet Gareth Williams, Founder and Director of YellowDog who provide Cloud & Crowdsourced 3D Rendering for animators and artists.
At YellowDog we believe there is already enough computer power in the world today but there is an imbalance between supply and demand. Our unique technology is able to securely harness and the monetise underutilised compute power. We like to think that we're building the world's fastest supercomputer. What we do with this combined cloud and crowdsourced power today is to make it available to 3D artists and animators, people making computer generated imagery for film, TV and architectural visualisations. This was always going to be our first market and our first application. What we're now focused on is determining how we can expand YellowDog to address other markets and verticals including advanced engineering, banking and broadcasting - essentially anything that involves high CPU and GPU batch job processing.
We are just over two years old, founded in January 2015 by myself. We developed the first version of our product and signed some customers in June of that year. We launched in November 2015 and now have 662 customers across 30 countries.
The problem that we are currently helping to solve, whether a freelance 3D artist doing an architectural visualisation, or a large studio doing the visual effects of the films, is that you never really have enough computing power when it gets to render time. When we were undertaking market research for YellowDog, it showed that 90% of studio’s ran out of computer power at render time. What we do is to help to easily access and book a lot of compute. We have access to 168,000 cores and processing cores from various different sources. We can help solve the problem in an innovative way, which is also very easy to use. We built YellowDog very much from the point of the view of the artist, so it is very easy to use and it looks aesthetically pleasing as well. It abstracts a huge amount of the technical complexity associated with rendering, as it is a technology that was essentially built to run within a local area network. We've built Taccetta [GW1] and essentially manage it through the cloud. We’ve developed lots of additional features to enhance the customer experience, including quality checking and offering a fixed price list for example, which helps customers to control budget.
The area we focus on is quite niche. Our most prestigious customer to date is a studio in London called Blue Zoo, a BAFTA award winning kids animation studio. We work with many smaller studios and other larger studios including Giant Wheel Animation, a large Indian CGI animation studio.
In terms of partners, we are very proud of the collaborations we have with the organisations whose technology we use and incorporate, like the render engines and the infrastructure partners. From a software perspective, we are one of only 15 certified AutoDesk render partners that exist in the world. The people who make render engines like Chaos Group, make the market leading render engine, V-Ray, and we have a very close relationship with them. Redshift, who offer a GPU-accelerated, biased renderer along with other similar organisations often give us new features to test before market release, which is testament to our credibility. In terms of infrastructure providers, OVH and Oracle are our main infrastructure partners, and we have a great relationship with both of them.
World domination! We want to continue building the rendering business, to build new applications and ways of using YellowDog in other markets, including banking, telco and advanced engineering. The ultimate aim with the business because we are a start-up and have VC’s, is some form of exit such as IPO post acquisition and funding.
Securing the first big deal, getting a team, and continuing to grow the business. Getting our first member of staff was quite good, the fact that the business is going from strength to strength and building a big customer base. I am quite proud of the first bit of fundraising activity, where through Seedrs the crowdfunding platform, we raised £150,000 in two weeks which was amazing.