Our MiraclePlus (formerly Y Combinator China) S2024 Application

March 28, 2024

A few months back, a VC firm reached out to me, inviting us to join their Spring 2024 program. I quickly brought a couple of friends into the fold as co-founders. Together, we applied for MiraclePlus, led by Lu Qi, which you might (but probably not) know as the former Y Combinator China. I’m working on an upcoming blog post about our entire journey. Spoiler alert: we made it to the final interview round! For the time being, I'm here to share our application with you (but I'll keep my co-founders' details under wraps).

Company name Cubic Inc.

Company URL, if any
10 Millions 3D Models and a Cubic World

Product name
Cubic

If you have a demo, what's the URL? For non-software, demo can be a video. cubic.mov
(… Can’t share with y’all at this moment, sorry!)

Describe your product in 50 characters or less.
Generative AI, datasets, and tools for 3D

What is your company going to make?
Cubic’s goal is to enable Generative AI for 3D. We achieve this by 1) Creating a photogrammetry tool set and APIs that allows companies to scan objects to get 3D models. This process could be automated too. People can download their 3D models for free if they allow us to upload them to our platform. 2) Create a platform that allows people to open source their models — like GitHub for 3D. 3) Train generative AI based on our data. A GAI for 3D that enables possibilities of creating tailored made experiences to each individual user on scale unheard of. We outlined this vision and philosophy in our URL.

What categories best apply to your company?
B2B, Community, Artificial Intelligence, Developer Tools, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Open Source

Which city are you currently living and working in?
4

What is the current career stage of the main founder?
Student

Please record an 1-minute video introducing the founder(s), and briefly describe the startup project. This video is an important part of the application.
(For privacy reasons won’t share here. But know we are all little embarrassed.)

How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?
We known each other for more than 3 years. We are colleagues and good friends in and outside of the lab. All of us met each other before.

Name
Yuhao Chen

Email
hello@chenyuhao.me

Phone
(No.)

WeChat ID
(Also No.)

Date of Birth
(No.. But I am 23 as of now, and born on New Year eve. You do the math.)

Hometown
Korla, Xinjiang

Educational Background - Schools, Degrees (including field of study), and Years of Graduation
University of Southern California — M.S. Computer Science: Game Development

  • Class of 2023 University of California — B.A. AGPM
  • Class of 2025

Work Experience - Employers, Position / Titles and Dates
UCSC AVIX Research Lab

  • Project Lead, Researcher
  • 2021 - Present
  • Enhanced Photogrammetry with single-view or few-views - FLAME fitting and D3DFACS
  • Deep Learning (specialized in avatars generation) Qing Mang | Readland
  • Web Developer, Software Engineer - 2023 - Present
  • Working on an AI wrapper apps
  • Full-stack web and iOS developer

Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non- computer) system to your advantage.
I hacked my mindset. Increasingly I am realizing the importance of long term thinking and the value of scarcity. In college, people tell you bullshit like don’t read, don’t learn anything deep, don’t be a geek. Pick computer science and learn web dev so you are set for life. But if you think for the long term the only thing that matters is learning as much as you can. Fail as quickly as you can so you learn from mistakes earlier than others (and when risks are lower). Don’t get bogged down by not finding success now. And if you can offer scarcity in an age of abundance. Success finds you. You’d be surprised how many systems you can hack with this mindset. Coming from a rural place meant I needed to walk faster than everyone else. So far, this is my secret sauce.

Please tell us in one or two sentences about the most impressive thing other than this startup that you have built or achieved.
I launched seven quality apps on App Store in the span of a year. Won an award, got many five stars reviews, and more than 10K downloads.

Are you a technical founder? Y/N – Yes

Do you have at least 5% equity in the company you're applying with? Y/N – Yes

Will you come to Beijing to participate in the office hours and events hosted by MiraclePlus Mar through Jun 2024, if we fund you? Y/N – Yes

What is the company's progress for the past 6 months (in terms of tech development, user acquisition, revenue and funding)
Our project borned from a research lab. For the past 6 months, the lab has launched our Photogrammetry app for desktop. Our iPhone version is ready to release. We have some breakthroughs in single-view facial 3D generations via FLAME fitting. We are also actively working on GAI technologies like IADB and other diffusers.

How long have each of you been working on this? How much of that has been full- time startup? Please explain.
So we worked on photogrammetry and 3D GAI tech for about 2 years at this point. But the AVIS lab we are working for are doing this for much much longer. The Phd and the professor who are directing us have many years experience in this field. For us we haven’t founded a company before. But our Professor James Davis, previously co-founded a company around 3D facial scan, and was eventually sold to Meta (Facebook at the time).

Are people using your product? Y/N – Yes

When will you have a prototype or beta? If it's already live, when was it launched?
Like we said, we already have a macOS photogrammetry app launched. The iOS version is ready to launch. The web tool set and api we are proposing could have a prototype in a few weeks. You can download our app here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cubic-photogrammetry/id1632546962?mt=12

Do you have revenue? Y/N – No.

Which group of people are your customers? What problems do you solve for your customers?
1) Companies from virtual reality sector. With the Oculus and launch of Vision Pro, we anticipate growth and new compaines in this area; we would like capture some of that. 2) Game studios. We believe they would be interested in both 3D model dataset and our Generative AI for 3D products. 3) We anticipate our biggest customer early on are other companies working on Generative AI. Our photogrammetry toolsets are extremely useful for generating large amount data for training.

Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know people need what you're making?
So this idea came from our own need at research labs. In research, we worked on many generative AI projects. And the biggest problem are almost always data. Our team is on the young side, but we have a lot of expertise in 3D, generative AI, and photogrammetry. We are also experienced in building and scaling web and mobile applications. I also want to mention, Professor James Davis at AVIS lab, is actively supporting and behind us. He had previously started a successful company in this field.

What's new about what you're making? What substitutes do people resort to because it doesn't exist yet (or they don't know about it)?
We want to be an integrated and comprehensive tech providers in the field of generative AI for 3D. In past, companies and communities relied on sourcing solution from all sorts of companies. Photogrammetry, for example, relied on companies like Agisoft Metashape and 3DF Zephyr for 3D reconstruction. Their software are highly inflexible, difficult to operate, and high license fee. We want to offer better product for almost free because we understand 3D training data for AI are very valuable. This makes us a disruptive force in 3D reconstruction tech. On AI side, 3D data are incredibly difficult to find. Some of the best AI models for 3D are trained on only thousands of models. This because 3D models are incredibly expensive to make. Companies and teams sometime relied on open source dataset of inconsistent quality. Or pays millions of dollars to purchase models. This field is very much overlooked. If you go to hugging face right now, there are literally only 2 datasets for 3D. https://huggingface.co/datasets? task_categories=task_categories:image-to-3d&sort=trending

Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?
Like I said Agisoft Metashape and other companies that provide 3D reconstruction are our direct competitors. We also worry about game companies, they have a big library of 3d models can be used for training. However, we are not particularly worried about them. I believe Microsoft is a company we should fear. They have dozens of game studios. Partnership with OpenAI, and access to computes.

What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?
We understand that data are supremely important to generative AI. We understand 3D for AI will have a big breakthrough if only someone have enough training data. Lastly, we understand how to get those data.