Alumnus Sergio Solorzano (BSc Economics & Management Studies 1996) is the Founder of Rendergon Ltd, an Augmented Reality studio in London. He speaks to us about his unconventional route to setting up his studio and his new art community app. The iPhone app helps bring together artists and their audiences, in a virtual setting.
Sergio using his augmented reality app
Despite now working in the creative industry, this was not always Sergio’s vision. During his time at Royal Holloway, his year abroad spent at a United States university cemented in him a desire at the time to work in financial markets. After graduating he completed a Masters in Finance in his home country of Spain.
Sergio became a Structured Credit Analyst in an investment bank and he spent the next 17 years working in similar roles across various financial institutions in London. “During this period I also went on a year’s sabbatical kitesurfing across the world that helped me consider what else I wanted from life and opened my eyes on the benefits I would enjoy by offering my services through my own company and as an entrepreneur instead of as an employee,” he says. He then opened a freelancing advisory limited company in 2011.
In 2016 his career aspirations turned a corner. “I was thrilled that terrific experiences in virtual and augmented reality would finally be possible as it has always been an interest of mine and I realised it could have a significant positive impact in our lives,” he says. “I wanted to learn something new and creative, so I quit investment banking in 2017 and went off to study programming, 3D modelling and game engine development. During this time I had the opportunity to develop a mobile augmented reality app for a French artist that launched a new art collection and brand in Paris. Augmented reality is very visual and so this technology is a great fit for art. In 2019 I opened an augmented reality studio in London, Rendergon Ltd. A key driver for my decision to setup the studio was the challenge of managing a small creative company. At each stage throughout the life cycle in the development of an app we need a different skillset, from design to coding or marketing. I am also learning to take a nimble approach to the resources invested in an augmented reality app because it's not a technology yet widely adopted. This helps the studio to quickly pivot and re-steer the app architecture or target market."
At Rendergon, Sergio works with partners to develop and launch mobile apps he is passionate about. Recently he has been working on the free open beta version of Tapgaze, an Art Community app in augmented reality. He developed the app because he “wanted to broaden the capabilities for the app beyond one artist or one collection but to create a community of artists and its audience that could autonomously grow content and share it in augmented reality. It has been so much fun getting different technologies to work together for the Tapgaze app – artificial intelligence used as a filter to automate the moderation of the images shared, Software as a Service (SaaS) which is a method of software delivery that allows data to be accessed from any device with an internet connection, 3D computer graphics, augmented reality, game engine to name a few. The app enables artists and galleries to showcase their catalogues of paintings/canvas art in augmented reality”. Sergio goes on to explain, “Members can create catalogues of wall art with frames in 3D that they design with the Tapgaze app and anyone with a smartphone or iPad can place this artwork around them in their physical space as if it were present. That’s the magic of augmented reality”.
You can watch the app trailer video here.”
Sergio has made the app available for free to use until January 2023. Find out more here.