Matterport’s CEO on the future of digital twins and the metaverse

RJ Pittman tells us why the $2B+ company is a tech leader in 3D technology and how it will help merge physical and digital spaces.

Have you ever done a digital 3D home tour?

There’s a high likelihood that the camera tech used to make the visual was created by Matterport.

Founded in 2011, Matterport is now a $2B+ leader in camera technology that creates “digital twins”, which is a virtual representation of physical spaces.

How it works:

  1. Scan a room with a Matterport camera or smartphone (with the Matterport app)
  2. Matterport’s AI platform helps stitch together the scans to create an immersive, dimensionally-accurate 3D model of any space
“Say Cheese!” (Source: Matterport)

The company’s main market is real estate. Other key sectors include retail, hospitality and insurance firms.

By straddling the digital and physical world, Matterport is often mentioned as a player in the development of the metaverse. To find out more, The Hustle spoke with Matterport’s CEO RJ Pittman.

***

How would you describe Matterport to someone who has never heard of it?

Matterport is on a mission to digitize every space to make them more valuable and accessible. With both our own camera technology for both professionals and anyone with a smartphone, and sophisticated software and artificial intelligence technology, we enable people to capture digital twins—3D digital replicas—of any physical space.

With digital twins, anyone can view and collaborate anywhere, anytime, virtually, in that space. When we started out 10 years ago, real estate was the most practical application for our technology. Prospective buyers and renters could remotely view property to understand the layout and dimensions in a much more detailed way.

Our technology has allowed for thousands of properties to be purchased sight-unseen. As we’ve grown, the number of applications for our technology has surged. Our technology is so accurate that:

  • Architects and engineers use Matterport in the planning and management of construction projects
  • Retailers use Matterport to remotely manage brick and mortar location layouts and inventory
  • Insurance companies use Matterport to assess risk and process claims

Today, we have more than 5m spaces captured digitally in our library and this number continues to grow rapidly.

A 3D model of a home (nice treadmill) (Source: Matterport)

What is the most important trend for Matterport over the next five years and how are you preparing for it?

We expect to see a continued convergence of the physical and digital worlds. People want to be able to access every corner of the globe digitally. More broadly, digital access to the real-world is rapidly changing the game, particularly as Matterport unlocks the power of our spatial data warehouse comprising billions of square feet of rich building data from all types of spaces in 175 countries.

The insights and analysis we can generate from that data creates so much new value for the property manager and the property itself. This is why our mission to make every space more valuable and accessible is so important to the digital-first world of tomorrow.

And today, we are greatly simplifying the process–enabling anyone to create a high fidelity digital twin of any physical space, using just the smartphone in their pocket.  

I know Matterport has a different perspective on the metaverse than some of its peers. What are your thoughts on how Microsoft, Meta, and others are defining the metaverse and the market opportunity?

Matterport has been digitizing the built world, or the physical world, for a decade. We created the category and are the global market leader. We certainly share in the enthusiasm for what the future holds in a digital-first world. It remains to be seen just what the metaverse evolves into, and who is shaping it.

It is early days, and many aspects that describe the promise and scope of the metaverse are still in the discovery and exploration stage at best. It is important that it avoids the trap of becoming a technology in search of a problem to solve.

Recent announcements from other tech companies suggest a complementary approach to a digital-first universe that can integrate and utilize Matterport’s solution to create a digital version of any physical space today, accelerating the creation of the digital universe. 

As the metaverse and related efforts push more businesses and communities into the digital realm, Matterport’s tools make it easy to operate seamlessly between the physical and digital. It appears that some of the large tech companies are approaching the metaverse through simulated virtual worlds or AR layers for gaming, entertainment, social, and meeting.

Matterport by contrast, is built around creating scalable business value through reality capture and connected real-world spaces in the digital realm. We’re excited to continue driving our part of the revolution! 

If you could ask for a startup to address one thing—in any industry—what would it be?

Since I started out in the tech industry as a young entrepreneur many years back, I have grounded my own start-up pursuits on the principles of demystifying complex business processes and democratizing access to all kinds of services and opportunities through disruptive technical solutions and user experiences.

The problem that I discovered along the journey is that for every market disrupted with newco and new experiences comes a new set of challenges and digital complexities brought on by the very breakthrough itself. As such, it is imperative that the next generation of market innovators and disruptors focus on dramatically simplifying the future. While seemingly straightforward, if not altogether obvious, it is far from easy to achieve as evidenced by the majority of new companies that never achieve the tipping point of adoption.

“Question everything generally thought to be obvious.” ― Dieter Rams

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox​

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less​

Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

[email-submission-form button-text="Join Free" include-trends-opt-in="true" success-url="https://thehustle.co/signup" default-source="thehustleco" default-medium="home-exit-popup" default-campaign="home-page" form-id="exit-popup-general" optinmonster-conversion="true"]
<script type="text/javascript"> var onloadCallback = function() { grecaptcha.render('verify-your-humanity', { 'sitekey' : '6LdddrcZAAAAALyttpvOqiwQGwq5BNhgDz4tMQGE' }); }; function getCookieValue(a) { var b = document.cookie.match('(^|[^;]+)\\s*' + a + '\\s*=\\s*([^;]+)'); return b ? atob(decodeURIComponent(b.pop())) : ''; } function getCookie(name) { var cookieArr = document.cookie.split(";"); for(var i = 0; i < cookieArr.length; i++) { var cookiePair = cookieArr[i].split("="); if(name == cookiePair[0].trim()) { return decodeURIComponent(cookiePair[1]); } } return null; } function setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, cookieName, defaultValue) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; var existingVal = el.getAttribute('value'); if (utmName == 'ref') { var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookie(cookieName); } else { var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookieValue(cookieName); } if ((existingVal == null || existingVal == '' || existingVal == defaultValue) && (newVal != null && newVal != '')) { el.setAttribute('value', newVal); } } function setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm( wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, defaultValue ) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; if (el != null) { var existingVal = el.getAttribute("value"); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName); if (newVal != null && newVal != "") { el.setAttribute("value", newVal); } } } function initForm() { var wrappingDivs = document.getElementsByClassName('email-submission'); wrappingDivs.forEach(wrappingDiv => { var sp = new URLSearchParams(window.location.search); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-source', 'utm_source', 'funnel_source', 'thehustleco'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-campaign', 'utm_campaign', 'funnel_campaign', 'home-page'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-medium', 'utm_medium', 'funnel_medium', 'home-exit-popup'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-referral', 'ref', 'funnel_referral', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-a', 'a', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-c', 'c', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-o', 'o', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-oc', 'oc', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-e', 'e', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-f', 'f', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-r', 'r', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-t', 't', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s1', 's1', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s2', 's2', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s3', 's3', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s4', 's4', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s5', 's5', ''); var error_message = getCookieValue('validate-email-message'); if (error_message && error_message.trim() != '') { var error = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('funnel-error')[0]; var prev_email = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); error_message = prev_email + " is not valid. Please try again"; error.innerHTML = error_message; error.style = ''; } }); if (false) { initCaptchaFormV2(); } } function initCaptchaFormV2() { var v3RecaptchaResponseEl = document.getElementById('recaptcha-response-v3'); v3RecaptchaResponseEl.parentNode.removeChild(v3RecaptchaResponseEl); var wrappingDiv = document.getElementById('email-submission'); var subForm = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('email-submission')[0]; var captchaVersion = document.createElement('input'); captchaVersion.class = 'g-recaptcha hidden-input'; captchaVersion.type = 'hidden'; captchaVersion.name = 'g-recaptcha-response-v2'; captchaVersion.value = 'true'; subForm.appendChild(captchaVersion); var captchaEl = document.createElement('div'); captchaEl.id = 'verify-your-humanity'; subForm.prepend(captchaEl); var captchaApiScriptEl = document.createElement('script'); captchaApiScriptEl.src = 'https://www.recaptcha.net/recaptcha/api.js?onload=onloadCallback&render=explicit'; captchaApiScriptEl.async = true; captchaApiScriptEl.defer = true; document.head.appendChild(captchaApiScriptEl); } function appendCheckboxes_email_submission() { var wrappingDiv = document.getElementById('email-submission'); var optInDivs = wrappingDiv.querySelectorAll('.trends-opt-in'); optInDivs.forEach(el => { el.style.display = null; if (el.getElementsByClassName('trends-opt-in-checkbox').length < 1) { var checkbox = document.createElement('input'); checkbox.setAttribute('id', 'trends_opt_in_email_submission'); checkbox.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('type', 'checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('name', 'trends_opt_in'); var label = document.createElement('label'); label.setAttribute('for', 'trends_opt_in_email_submission'); label.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-text'); label.textContent = "Yes, I'd like to receive additional emails on hot business opportunities from Trends, by the Hustle"; el.appendChild(checkbox); el.appendChild(label); checkbox.click(); } }) } window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', (event) => { initForm(); if (true) { appendCheckboxes_email_submission(); } }); </script> <div class="email-signup" id=email-submission> <div class="funnel-error" style="display:none;"></div> <form class="email-submission " id="exit-popup-general" action="https://cms.thehustle.co/api/v1/contacts/wordpress_create" method="post" autocomplete="email"> <div class="email-form-wrap"> <input class="funnel-source hidden-input" type="hidden" name="source" value="thehustleco"> <input class="funnel-campaign hidden-input" type="hidden" name="campaign" value="home-page"> <input class="funnel-medium hidden-input" type="hidden" name="medium" value="home-exit-popup"> <input class="funnel-form-id hidden-input" type="hidden" name="form-id" value="exit-popup-general"> <input class="funnel-referral hidden-input" type="hidden" name="referral_code"> <input class="funnel-fail-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="fail_url" value=""> <input class="funnel-a hidden-input" type="hidden" name="a" value=""> <input class="funnel-c hidden-input" type="hidden" name="c" value=""> <input class="funnel-o hidden-input" type="hidden" name="o" value=""> <input class="funnel-oc hidden-input" type="hidden" name="oc" value=""> <input class="funnel-e hidden-input" type="hidden" name="e" value=""> <input class="funnel-f hidden-input" type="hidden" name="f" value=""> <input class="funnel-r hidden-input" type="hidden" name="r" value=""> <input class="funnel-t hidden-input" type="hidden" name="t" value=""> <input class="funnel-s1 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s1" value=""> <input class="funnel-s2 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s2" value=""> <input class="funnel-s3 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s3" value=""> <input class="funnel-s4 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s4" value=""> <input class="funnel-s5 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s5" value=""> <input class="funnel-success-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="success_url" value="https://thehustle.co/signup"> <input id="recaptcha-response-v3" class="g-recaptcha hidden-input" type="hidden" name="g-recaptcha-response" value=""> <div class="signup-icon" style="display:none;"> <svg width="24" viewBox="0 0 24 24" fill="none" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"><path d="M22 6c0-1.1-.9-2-2-2H4c-1.1 0-2 .9-2 2v12c0 1.1.9 2 2 2h16c1.1 0 2-.9 2-2V6Zm-2 0-8 5-8-5h16Zm0 12H4V8l8 5 8-5v10Z" fill="#848B92"></path></svg> </div> <input class="signup-email" type="email" name="email" placeholder="Your email address" required autocomplete="email"> <input class="email-submit om-trigger-conversion" type="submit" value="Join Free"> </div> <div class="validate-mistake-emails-message" style="display:none;"></div> <div class="trends-opt-in" style="display:none;"></div> <div submit-success> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--success">Thank you for subscribing.</p> </template> </div> <div submit-error> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--failed">Your submission failed. Please try again!</p> </template> </div> </form> </div>