May 15, 2018
Savannah Dowling is a reporter at Crunchbase News.
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There are very few work and school-related tasks more frustrating than the minutiae of adjusting the size of a photo, realigning text boxes, or animating content in Powerpoint or Google Slides. It probably doesn’t surprise you that this is a pain point for a lot of people.

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Beautiful.AI, which announced an $11 million Series B today, leverages AI-powered design technology to allow users to build effective and well-designed presentations. The round was led by Trinity Ventures. Shasta Ventures and First Round Capital, previous investors into the startup, also participated in Beautiful.AI’s Series B.

CEO and founder of Beautiful.AI, Mitch Grasso, who has a background in design, created Beautiful.AI after his previous startup, Sliderocket, which also deals with presentation software, was acquired by VMWare in 2011.

“At the end of the day, you know, [Sliderocket] grew to about 2 million users. But they were still creating kind of crappy presentations, and we always struggled with how could we make this easier,” Grasso explained.

He began with the goal to improve upon the template system idea, creating smart templates. Using Beautiful.AI, users choose between templates based on the subject matter of their presentation. The design of each slide is then modified depending on its embedded content.

“This was all about putting that power into the hands of people who just didn’t have the time or the resources to bring in professional designers,” Grasso explained.

Since Beautiful.AI’s launch in February 2018, its free smart-template platform has attracted about 50,000 individuals, according to Grasso.

In the future, the company plans to monetize the app with a pro service for businesses and teams. For now, the team is focused on refining its design and technology, taking into consideration user feedback.

“This is a new take on authoring. It’s opinionated software, and we need to make sure that people buy into those opinions and don’t feel constrained,” Grasso said. “Clearly we’re a business, and we need to make money at some point, so we’ll figure out exactly what levers we want to push and pull to monetize down the road.”

With its latest funding, the company will expand the Beautiful.AI team, increase product development, and introduce sales and marketing strategies to scale.

“How many people are coming into the product, how many different presentations they’re building, what types of templates they’re interested in—those are the things that we’re keeping as our North Star metrics,” Karan Mehandru of Trinity Ventures told Crunchbase News in an interview.

With SaaS companies increasingly attempting to make everyday collaboration, authoring, and communication tools more accessible and less time consuming to the average user, the potential for Beautiful.AI to disrupt the presentation market is timely.

 

Editorial Update: A previous version of this article stated that the company launched in February 2017, it has since been updated.