Karl Sun, CEO and co-founder of Lucid, wants to make sure that every team member is on the same page, figuratively and literally.
His Utah-based company, which facilitates teamwork and building through its visual collaboration tools, announced it has closed on more than $500 million in a secondary investment and tripled its valuation to $3 billion. Late-stage private investors including Alkeon Capital, Tiger Global and Steadfast Capital Ventures were a part of the secondary financing.
The company’s proprietary visual collaboration software is used by 99% of the Fortune 500 companies comprising Amazon, Starbucks and T-Mobile. But, the company’s products are apt for any knowledge worker who is part of a team that is building something new, Sun says.
Lucid was launched in 2010 by CTO and co-founder Ben Dilts and former Google employee Karl Sun. The entrepreneurs realized that work models and processes have outgrown the tools and platforms that are still used in workplaces today.
“The tools and software that we use, or that most people are using today, are in some ways still rooted from the 50s and 60s,” Sun says.
Long gone are the times when overhead projectors and typewriters were used to explain complex ideas and keep a log of information. Those technologies were replaced by the Microsoft Office Suite of products and the like, including powerpoint slides and word processors, Sun says.
In today’s era, information and systems live on the cloud, and even though software technologies have adapted and been brought to the cloud, there’s room for innovation, he says.
“There are some things that you just can’t describe in words or with spreadsheets,” Sun says. “You need different ways to work with your colleagues, as you’re collaborating to really build something meaningful.”
In an effort to build the virtual infrastructure for the work model of the future, the company launched its main products: Lucidchart, an intelligent diagramming platform and Lucidspark, a virtual whiteboard where teams can plop down ideas and execution pathways. More than 40 million people use Lucid’s visual platforms.
Lucidspark, a customized digital whiteboard equipped with emojis and sticky notes, was built within four months and launched in October 2020 in response to needs created by the pandemic. “It really is like being in a conference room all at the same time, where you can write, and sketch ideas up or put stickies up with ideas on them,” he says.
The software has garnered more than a million users since its launch. It has since been incorporated by customers such as Sonos, Jaguar Land Rover and Hubspot.
The COVID-19 pandemic will, in most cases, create a hybrid work environment where some employees are in the office together, while others are tuning into the conversation virtually, he says. “I think that is more complex than either of the first two: being all together or all remote,” Sun says.
For the company, which is built on the idea that a picture is worth a thousand words, the fresh flow of investment will enhance product development and allow it to expand globally.
“It’s a logical next step for the company; we’re at the scale where we can be a public company and so we’re thinking hard about that,” Sun says. “That’s absolutely why we wanted to bring these investors on board because they have a great track record of helping companies here.”