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September 08, 2016 | Tom Ballard

“The Works” Participant #3: ImmersaCAD

The Works Demo Day(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third in a series of articles profiling the teams participating in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s inaugural “The Works” accelerator. The teams will pitch their ideas on September 21 during a “Demo Day” at Scripps Networks Interactive. For more details, click here. Registration deadline is September 16.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

Have you ever worked with an architect to design a new building, whether commercial or residential, and wanted to be able to have a better visual image of the final concept before construction started?

If the answer is yes, one of the companies in the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center’s inaugural “The Works” accelerator has just the product that will enable your architect to meet that need. And, the same technology can be used to help your contractor make the estimating process more exact to avoid those infamous change orders that add cost and time to the project.

ImmersaCAD is a new “business to business” (B2B) company, targeted at the design community – architects, interior designers and engineers – by utilizing the emerging area of virtual reality (VR) to literally add a new dimension to what people normally see in designs.

We sat down recently with Jesse McCrary, Vice President for Business Development, to learn more about the company. ImmersaCAD’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer is Lee Martin, a long-time player in the Knoxville entrepreneurial scene. We profiled him in this two-part series on several years ago (Part 1 and Part 2).

Other members of the eight-person team include Kyle Leinart, Vice President of Software Development and a co-inventor of the One-touch Navigation™ software that is at the core of ImmersaCAD’s value proposition for clients. He was one of the students that worked with Martin to design the software.

For anyone who has built a house, you sometimes wonder how a specific design feature will look. Taking the “guess” out of the process – from design to actual construction – is the goal of ImmersaCAD.

“We can take the CAD (computer-aided design) files and convert them into a VR file in under 10 minutes,” McCrary explained. “Then, we provide a one-touch navigation capability that eliminates the motion sickness that many people feel with VR systems that are driven by joy sticks.”

The company’s proprietary system is enabled by two complementary technologies. One is its conversion process which is a trade secret. The other is the one-touch navigation system for which ImmersaCAD has applied for a patent.

McCrary experienced many of the challenges that ImmersaCAD is addressing in a position where he was routinely preparing 20 bids a week for various construction projects.

“Estimators don’t see in 3D,” he said. The result is a frequent disconnect between what the designers saw and what the estimators saw. ImmersaCAD’s OneTouch NavigationTM product solves that challenge.

The company’s app is available for both Google Cardboard (ImmersaCAD Cardboard Version 1.0) and Samsung GearVR (ImmersaCAD GearVR Version 1.0).

McCrary, who is the company’s representative in “The Works,” had nothing but good things to say about his experience and the team with which he has been working – Jim Biggs, Jonathan Sexton, and Shawn Carson.

“It’s a great program,” he said. “It has been a good education for me not being an entrepreneur. I came from an environment where core processes were already established.”

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