Triple unicorn status: Lucid reaches $3 billion value in just over a year, brings in $500 million in new investment

Lucid co-founder and CEO Karl Sun speaks to new employees at the company’s offices in South Jordan on Friday, May 24, 2019. On Thursday, Lucid announced $500 million in new investment and a $3 billion valuation.

Lucid co-founder and CEO Karl Sun speaks to new employees at the company’s offices in South Jordan on Friday, May 24, 2019. On Thursday, Lucid announced $500 million in new investment and a $3 billion valuation. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)



In a year that's driven companies to innovate new ways to keep workers connected and productive amid pandemic-induced remote working assignments, Utah collaboration software innovator Lucid has found a slew of new business and on Thursday announced $500 million in new investments and a $3 billion valuation for the privately held company.

The secondary market investments of a half-billion dollars are a whopper, but Lucid's new valuation is a breathtaking vault from the $1 billion "unicorn" status the company announced just over a year ago. That ascension has been driven by an annual revenue growth rate north of 100% for products that are proving to be very well suited in helping companies navigate the unique challenges wrought by COVID-19 and the changing world of work.

"Last year was certainly an interesting and challenging one for everyone," said Lucid co-founder and CEO Karl Sun. "Going into COVID-19, none of us knew what to expect. Almost every knowledge worker went remote ... and began looking for better software tools to stay connected and be productive."

Lucid's cloud-based suite of visual workplace software applications includes the core product, Lucidchart, which mediates collaborative diagramming and workflow charting in a way that had never really been conceived before it launched to the public in 2010. And while the company has been on an enviable success arc since then, including raising over $170 million in venture backing, the past year has been a standout for the South Jordan company.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have experienced unprecedented growth over the last year," Sun said in the statement. "The need for visual collaboration is increasing as companies seek out sustainable, efficient practices that will help hybrid teams over the long term.

"Our visual collaboration suite is a critical element in the future of work, and we're excited for the opportunity ahead as visual collaboration becomes an even more important part of how teams in every department, and across every industry, get work done."

Lucid's business approach has also proved to be both nimble and responsive, as evidenced by a new product that was conceived, developed and launched amid the public health crisis and in response to what the company was hearing from customers facing unprecedented circumstances. And it was all done in four months time.

Lucidspark is the company's new virtual whiteboarding solution that launched last October. The company reports the product has experienced "incredible market receptivity and growth" and attracted more than one million users in just eight months.

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New investor Deepak Ravichandran, general partner at New York City-based Alkeon Capital, said Lucid's visual collaboration tools are transformative and why the company is a leader in its category.

"Lucid's whiteboarding and diagramming capabilities are unrivaled," said Ravichandran in a statement. "The ability to simply ideate, design and communicate the most complex processes while collaborating in real time fundamentally transforms the way that modern organizations work.

"Their impressive growth over the past year is a testament to their category leadership in the broader collaboration space, and we're excited to work with the Lucid team through the next phase of their journey."

In addition to Alkeon Capital, other new investors include Tiger Global and Steadfast Capital Ventures.

Lucid got its start 11 years ago when Sun, who had just left a longtime gig with Google, was looking for investment opportunities after moving to Utah. When 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 2019 business profile. "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 and 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.

And since then Lucid's software has been adopted by some 100,000 companies and 40 million users in over 180 countries. The company says its Lucidchart tools are being used for virtual 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.

Sun noted the modern work environment, almost regardless of business type, is one through which an unprecedented amount of information is flowing. The ability to keep up with, interpret and make productive use of that tidal wave of data can, Sun said, be greatly ameliorated with Lucid's suite of tools.

"You know the simple saying, a picture's worth a thousand words, right?" Sun queried. "Like, if you have something complex and can lay it out and see it visually, it's much easier for you to digest that information. And that's what we're trying to help people do here.

"We're helping people create clarity and understand the complex systems or processes that they're working on."

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly listed Lucid's user count as 20 million. The company currently has 40 million users.

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Art Raymond

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