Paris company, Brooklyn outpost: meet Sketchfab cofounder Alban Denoyel - Brooklyn

Paris company, Brooklyn outpost: meet Sketchfab cofounder Alban Denoyel

Sketchfab makes it easy to give people a way to look at every aspect of your 3D model, digitally.

Alban Denoyel, cofounder of Sketchfab, in Fort Greene.

(Photo by Brady Dale)

If you’re looking for Sketchfab cofounder Alban Denoyel, the company’s business lead, a good place to find him is at the Bluegrass, Folk & Country Jam at Sunny’s in Red Hook on Saturday nights.

Denoyel discovered bluegrass after coming to America and now, if he’s free on the weekend, he walks from his home in Fort Greene over to Brooklyn’s peninsula to attend a show that, he says, usually has more musicians than spectators.

Denoyel first arrived in the U.S., from France, for Techstars NYC with his other two cofounders in Spring 2013. He’s been here since, though his other cofounders went back to France after the program ended, to lead the dev team, which is all based there.

We first introduced you to Denoyel in our post about French entrepreneurs in Brooklyn.

Sketchfab is a platform for hosting and embed explorable 3D designs anywhere on the web.

“Our goal is to be the central point between 3D tools and the rest of the web,” Denoyel told us when we spoke to him at Fort Green’s Lola last week. We’ll include some examples from Brooklyn creators below, but, basically, users can put any 3D model they want in there, spin it all around, and even move through the inside of it.

M3 Hulk
by Dave Cortes
on Sketchfab

Denoyel finished the equivalent of undergrad and a master’s in business in France. He then worked for several years at a new publishing venture that turned high quality photojournalistic images into artworks for sale. He did that for several years and took the lead on the company’s web presence, though at the time he knew very little about the Internet or social media.


Denoyel learned enough that, when he left, he started his own, one-person creative agency to pay the bills, putting together websites. He met the first of his two fellow cofounders at a party in Paris in 2012. In the year before that, his interest in sculpture had led him to additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, and Denoyel was talking it up to everyone he met.

His cofounder had built the essence of Sketchfab’s technology at that point, without telling many people about it. Denoyel convinced him to see if they could make a business of it. Once it launched, they had 1,000 users in three weeks.

Christina at Cafe in Brooklyn, early 2014
by lookingglass
on Sketchfab

Subsequent to that, the trio got into Le Camping, in the same accelerator class as what’s now called Voice, based in Williamsburg. Techstars came after. He and his cofounders and their wives spent the Techstars months in a tiny, expensive apartment in Soho. Once TechStars was over, Denoyel and his wife moved to Brooklyn. She had lived in New York before and knew enough to know that Brooklyn was worth a try.

“Born and raised Parisians,” Denoyel said, “you have the idea that Manhattan is Paris. Whereas, all of New York is Paris.”

Sketchfab recently released two new features: annotations and virtual reality support (such as for the Oculus Rift). The company is now working on making it possible to download designs from a Sketchfab embed.

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