Canva acquires background removal specialists Kaleido

Kaleido, makers of a drag-and-drop background removal service for images and video, have been acquired by up and coming digital design platform Canva. While the price and terms are not disclosed, it is speculated that this young company may have fetched nearly nine figures.

It’s the right product at the right time, seemingly. In 2019, the Vienna-based Kaleido made remove.bg, a quick, simple, free, and good-enough background removal tool for images. It became a hit among the many people who need to quickly do that kind of work but don’t want to fiddle around in Photoshop.

Then late last year they took the wraps off Unscreen, which did the same thing for video — a similar task conceptually, but far more demanding to actually engineer and deploy. The simplicity and effectiveness of the tool practically begged to be acquired and integrated into a larger framework by the likes of Adobe, but Canva seems to have beaten the others to the punch.

Animated image showing a stack of books on a table in a room, but the table and room get deleted.

Image Credits: Unscreen

The acquisition was announced at the same time as another by Canva: product mockup generator Smartmockups, suggesting a major product expansion by the growing design company.

We completely bootstrapped Kaleido with no investors involved from day one,” said co-founder and CEO of Kaleido, Benjamin Groessing, in a press release. “It has just been two founders and an incredible team. We’ve been profitable from the start — so this acquisition wasn’t essential for our existence. It just made sense on so many levels.”

The company declined to provide any further details on the acquisition beyond that the brand and name are expected to survive — at least Unscreen, which makes perfect sense as a product name even under another company.

German outlets Die Presse and Der Brutkasten cited sources putting the purchase “reiht sich dahinter ein” or in the same rank as the largest Austrian exits (the largest of which was Runtastic at €220M), though still in the two-digit millions — which suggests a price approaching $ 100M.

The team at kaleido celebrating their acquisition - each member has been digitally added.

Image Credits: Kaleido

Whatever the exact amount, it seems to have made the team very happy. And don’t worry – they put that image together using their own product for each person.

Startups – TechCrunch

Global design platform Canva acquires two word class European innovators: Kaleido AI & Smartmockups

Online design platform Canva has achieved another milestone today after announcing a strategic investment into its vibrant apps ecosystem through the acquisition of two innovative European startups: Kaleido.ai, a leading visual AI platform (Austria) and Smartmockups, a realistic product mockup generator (Czech Republic). Together, the companies will capitalize on the significant global reach of Canva’s…

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EU-Startups

Canva raises $60 million on a $6 billion valuation

Sydney-based Canva, the design platform for non-designers, has today announced the close of a $ 60 million funding round, bringing its valuation to $ 6 billion, according to the company.

The startup has raised a total of more than $ 300 million, including this latest round of financing, from investors like Bond, General Catalyst, Sequoia, Felicis Ventures, and Blackbird Ventures .

Canva COO and cofounder Cliff Obrecht explained that the round was 10x oversubscribed with interest from angels and new VCs, but that the company resisted taking extra capital.

“At our stage, investors are looking to deploy $ 50 million+ in capital,” said Obrecht. “Even our existing investors were looking to deploy between $ 50 million and $ 100 million, but we said ‘Oh, gee, we really don’t want to be diluted that much because we have a lot of conviction in the business and we don’t need that much money’.”

He also said that the company wanted to remain with existing investors — Blackbird and Sequoia Capital China led this round — because those investors bet on the company when it was in its infancy, founded by three people in an isolated part of the world with no technical chops.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Canva made a commitment to continue paying all of its contracted workers, but froze hiring. The company also made quick moves to shut down the office and move to remote work. However, Canva is one of the few companies that is getting a boost from the world moving to work from home.

The company has seen a 50 percent uptick in shared designs, and around a 25 percent increase in designs created each month. Overall, Canva is growing 100 percent year over year in both revenue and users, with 30 million monthly active users across 190 countries.

Canva was founded in 2012 with the mission of democratizing design tools. While many non-designers can navigate their way around Google Slides or Powerpoint, or maybe even crop an image, going more in-depth on a design project can be daunting, as the suite of tools provided to designers can be incredibly complex.

The company’s tools are meant to simplify the design process for folks who don’t work in the design department, whether it’s the sales team putting together sales materials, marketers working on content, or other departments working on internal materials to send to the broader organization. The drag-and-drop interface gives folks a way to create something beautiful and impressive without having to learn PhotoShop.

The product started out as a freemium product for individual consumers but eventually started offering enterprise products, as well as a video editing tool that comes complete with video templates, easy-to-use animation tools, and a library of stock video, music, etc.

The company has also launched an educational platform called Canva for Education, which integrates with GSuite and Google Classroom to get students started on design early. Canva also offers a developer platform for startups that want to integrate with the company, which currently includes Dropbox, Google Drive, PhotoMosh and Instagram, among others.

Most recently, Canva partnered with FedEx Office to offer easy design-to-print products that let users pick up print designs from one of more than 2,000 locations in the U.S. as the Sydney-based companies looks to secure a foothold in this market.

Canva plans on using the funding to grow the company, make a push into collaboration, and to continue making acquisitions.

On the heels of the funding, Canva is looking to hire — the company currently has 1,000+ employees, 40+ percent of which are female. (Canva did not disclose the percentage of its workforce that are non-white.)

Obrecht says that one of the greatest challenges for the company and for leadership personally is the burden of not feeling like they’re doing enough to make the world a better place. He explained that the company has a number of initiatives focused on this core tenet, including free access to the platform for over 50,000 non-profit organizations, education initiatives, anti-discrimination policies within its TOS, and more.

“But it just never really feels like enough,” said Obrecht. “You see what’s happening and it’s a bit of a shit show and it’s not aspirational at all. It doesn’t look like it’s getting fixed quickly by the adults who are in government. They’re not doing the right thing, and if they’re not, who will? So we really believe we should have a heavy part in trying our best to make sure the shit show doesn’t continue.”

Startups – TechCrunch

Canva design platform partners with FedEx Office as it pushes further into the U.S.

Canva, the design platform for non-designers, has recently inked a partnership with FedEx Office to help businesses reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic with a design-to-print integration.

Canva declined to disclose the financial terms of the partnership.

With the new partnership, Canva and FedEx customers alike will be able to use Canva’s extensive libraries of templates, images and illustrations to design print materials for their businesses, like disposable restaurant menus, new hours of operation, information around new safety policies in the wake of the pandemic and more.

These customers can send their designs directly to FedEx for printing and pick up from over 2,000 FedEx Office locations across the U.S.

Canva’s target demographic is not hardcore, professional designers but rather non-designers, with a mission of democratizing design across professional organizations and more broadly to amateur designers.

As of October 2019, the Australia-based company was valued at $ 3.2 billion. At the time, Canva introduced enterprise collaboration software that allows sales teams, HR teams and other non-design teams to build out their own decks and materials with a simple drag-and-drop interface.

Since, Canva has complemented its design product with video editing software, as well.

The partnership with FedEx Office marks a big push into the U.S. market with increased brand awareness and distribution via the established print and shipping giant.

Pricing around FedEx Office printing of Canva designs remains the same as FedEx’s usual pricing structure, but FedEx is offering a 25 percent discount on orders of more than $ 50 through August 31.

Startups – TechCrunch