Sydney-based generative AI startup Leonardo.Ai, a platform that has grown to host seven million users worldwide in the space of a year, is armed with a total of $47 million in fresh capital from two rounds from investors who have forecast an even bigger ride ahead for the company.
Leonardo.Ai has just completed a US$23.5 million ($35.8 million) Series A, backed by Blackbird, Side Stage Ventures and Samsung Next.
Combined with an earlier seed round of US$7.5 million ($11.4 million), Leonardo.Ai has raised more than $47 million from venture capitalists who have hitched a ride on one of Australia’s fastest-growing Software as a Service (SaaS) companies.
Leonardo.Ai’s popularity has been buoyed by its ability to provide creators with scope to ‘build entire ecosystems of hyper-realistic art’ that helps in the production of games, video productions and marketing campaigns at a novice or professional level.
Creators can save, edit and build multiple assets in the same style and feature set with the concepts able to be used multiple times, rather than a as one-off images.
“Our mission is to empower creativity — whether you’re a novice who loves art or a professional who creates every day,” says JJ Fiasson, CEO and co-founder of Leonardo.Ai.
“Leonardo.Ai helps fuel both. We’re helping democratise creativity by lowering the barrier to entry, and we’re also accelerating creative productivity for professionals.”
Fiasson, who co-founded Leonardo.Ai with Chris Gillis and Jachin Bhasme at the end of last year, says the platform has been adopted by a broad range of users across the world who are creating 4.5 million images a day.
The company is currently working with creators in entertainment, fashion design, advertising and architecture, with the platform also being used AAA gaming studios and wallpaper designer Razer Axon.
”For creators in video production, for example, Leonardo.Ai can help storyboard a scene or an entire short film; if you’re a game designer, you can mock up gaming characters in seconds; brands use it to brief ad agencies,” he says.
“Its uses are endless, and ultimately we’re reducing the friction between ideation and creation - something we feel is really powerful. By simplifying exploring new ideas, this helps spark creativity and leads to more captivating creative output.
“From our initial uptake, it’s clear that creators see the power of our platform to support the creative process. This new funding round will help us continue to build out our tech and team to empower creativity for millions around the world.”
In the space of a year, Leonardo.Ai has become the most popular Discord channel with almost two million members.
The company is also launching its primary Enterprise offering, allowing users to build purpose-driven AI models that cater to brand and style guidelines of an advertising agency’s client. Leonardo.Ai sys it is also establishing a copyright shield to protect commercial clients.
“Leonardo.Ai has enjoyed an unprecedented beginning to its life, from a few thousand users when we first met the team 10 months ago to over six million now,” says Niki Scevak, Partner at Blackbird.
“Even more impressive has been the speed in which the product has been expanded to serve a wide variety of industries, showcasing their growing ambition.
“The most impressive gene of JJ and the team is the speed in which they have expanded the product. Compounded over a decade, and Leonardo.Ai will have the ability to transform how industries go about their working lives. They’re true wild hearts with huge ambitions, and we’re proud to be able to back them.”
Side Stage Ventures co-founder Ben Grabiner describes Leonardo.Ai platform as a ‘new type of AI-powered paintbrush that empowers and accelerates a new generation of creative talent’.
“In just a short time, they have built an exceptional product and an enormous community of engaged users who are streamlining their workflows and discovering new use cases for it every day,” Grabiner says.
Smash Capital and TIRTA Ventures have also participated in the capital raise rounds.
“As impressed as we are by the extraordinary momentum that this team has built already, we are even more excited by JJ’s huge vision and we are thrilled to be partners in executing against such an ambitious roadmap,” says Evan Richter, co-founder and managing partner of Smash Capital.
“We’re entering into a golden age for human creativity, where barriers are lowered and tools are democratised. What can be imagined can be created - and the quality and scale of entertainment enabled by Leonardo.Ai will be unprecedented.”
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