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Lucid reveals a $1 billion horn and $52 million in new funding

SHARE Lucid reveals a $1 billion horn and $52 million in new funding

Lucidchart co-founder and CEO Karl Sun speaks to new employees at the company’s offices in South Jordan on Friday, May 24, 2019.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SOUTH JORDAN — Visual communication innovator Lucid announced a new $52 million funding round Thursday with ICONIQ Capital leading a group of national and local investors.

Lucid co-founder and CEO Karl Sun said the company, which created the Lucidchart and Lucidpress software tools, has also breached two significant growth benchmarks, including surpassing $100 million in recurring annual revenues and earning a new valuation north of $1 billion.

While Sun downplayed Lucid achieving mythical creature status as Utah’s latest tech unicorn — a designation reserved for private companies with valuations in excess of $1 billion — he told the Deseret News that the company is continuing its stellar growth arc, following the announcements of new offices in Europe in early 2019 and Australia in January of this year. Sun said Lucid’s visualization tools are also playing a part in helping businesses navigate new challenges created by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

“These are unprecedented tough times for our users and customers,” Sun said. “In any environment and especially where more people are working more from home and more remotely, being able to understand the complexity of your business and being able to collaborate remotely has never been more important.”

Lucid’s software is already in use by some 100,000 companies and 20 million users in over 180 countries. The company says its Lucidchart tools are being used for virtual whiteboarding, collaborating on business processes and visualizing cloud infrastructure, and all in a digital and collaborative workspace that allows teams to work together and understand how to effectively optimize their businesses in real-time. 

Lucid got its start 10 years ago when Sun, who had just left a longtime gig with Google, was looking for investment opportunities after moving to Utah. He crossed paths with then-BYU student Ben Dilts and got a chance to see the collaborative diagramming software Dilts had built for a health services company, his path took a slightly different turn.

“I was trying getting involved in the angel community, which was very nascent at the time, and the seed funding environment, which was virtually nonexistent,” Sun told the Deseret News for a profile story last year. “And then I met my co-founder, Ben. I was looking for something interesting to do and was super impressed by the product he had built.”

That product was the early version of Lucidchart, a novel new piece of software that mediated collaborative diagramming and workflow charting in a way that had never really been conceived. Sun, who had seen a lot of innovation during his seven years with Google, was blown away with Dilts’ concept and immediately recognized that even the early incarnation of the software was already ahead of the field.

Sun jumped in as Lucid’s first investor and not long after joined Dilts and a third founder as CEO for the fledgling effort that began life in a small Utah County office. 

Since that time, Lucid has become a leader in its product category and continues to attract funding — the company’s net investment backing has grown past $160 million with the latest infusion — while growing market share both in the U.S. and globally.

And that vibrant growth and solid innovation track record were attractors for the Bay Area investment firm that led the company’s latest round.

“We look to invest in category leaders that we believe will continue to define the market,” said ICONIQ Capital principal Evan Lintz in a statement. “We are confident in Lucid’s long-standing recipe for success: product innovation, a highly scalable business model, and capital efficiency. We are eager to help Lucid continue to define the market and scale across the globe.”

Lucid said it still has money in the bank from $72 million in Series C funding from 2018 and will put the new capital to work in further product innovation, including the expansion of the Lucidchart visual reasoning engine that powers smart diagrams that are created automatically and incorporate real-time data from external sources.

Sun said the company may also, for the first time, evaluate merger-and-acquisition opportunities that align with its mission and continue its international expansion after opening its second international office and Asia-Pacific headquarters in Melbourne, Australia, earlier this year.

Other participants in the latest funding round include Meritech Capital, Spectrum Equity, and new investor Utah-based Cross Creek Advisors.