Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies (MARZ), the technology and visual effects (VFX) startup helping Hollywood studios deliver feature-film quality visual effects on television timelines, today announced that it has raised CAD$6.5 million in Series A funding. The investment was led by Round13 Capital with participation from Rhino Ventures and Harlo Equity Partners, digital transformation company Torinit, and strategic angel investors John Cassaday, former founding president and CEO of Corus Entertainment, and Jake Cassaday.
MARZ will use the injection of capital to grow its core VFX services business and to accelerate the research and development (R&D) of its AI for VFX technology solutions, which adds a high level of automation to address the significant and growing VFX capacity shortage that is plaguing the entertainment industry. In beta since Q1 2021, MARZ’s first AI for VFX solution has been used on 17 Hollywood productions to date, with that number expected to double in 2022. The funding will also enable MARZ to hire key personnel across research, engineering, and product; and to build out its technology infrastructure to increase production capacity and improve the efficiency of its artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.
Bootstrapped since its inception in 2018, MARZ is on a rapid growth trajectory. The company completed 13 projects in its first year, 21 in its second year, and 54 in its third year for notable clients such as Marvel, HBO, Netflix, and Apple TV. MARZ anticipates this rapid growth to continue after being named a primary vendor on a slate of significant future projects to be released later this year and in 2022; and following the launch of its end-to-end Character & Creature division geared to television timelines and budgets.
MARZ has grown from 45 people in 2019 to 194 today, with plans to grow the team to 300 over the next year. Of its current employees, more than 25% are focused on R&D, machine learning (ML), and AI. While MARZ maintains an office in Toronto, it is a remote-first company with a distributed workforce based in cities around the world, including Vancouver, Winnipeg, Montreal, Madrid, Los Angeles, Melbourne, London, Moscow, Mumbai, and Mexico City.