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Playbook, where ‘Pinterest meets Dropbox’ for designers, closes on $18M in funding – TechCrunch

Playbook, a startup that bills itself as “Creative file manager for designers” where “Pinterest meets Dropboxhas raised $18 million in a Series A funding round led by Bain Capital Ventures.

CEO Jessica Ko was inspired to start the company after her experiences as a designer at Google and Opendoor. She realized that her teams spent about 90% of their time searching for assets in Dropbox.

The process was a waste of time and money, she said. So in 2018, Ko left Opendoor to solve the problem she was tired of dealing with creating file storage for modern design workflows and processes. Or put more simply, she wanted to build a new kind of cloud storage that would serve as an alternative to Dropbox and Google Drive, “built by and for creative people.”

“Traditional cloud storage companies have failed brand design teams and freelancers – sharing is confusing and people get lost in nested folders. In my previous jobs, designers quit because they were so scared of file management,” Ko said. “We spent a lot of money on photoshoots because we couldn’t find things in Dropbox or Google Drive or had to create designs from scratch.”

In early 2020, Ko (CEO) had partnered with Alex Zirbel (CTO) to officially launch an office in San Francisco playbook. The company emerged from covert last August when it announced it had raised $4 million in a seed round leded by Founders Fund, which valued it at $20 million. Ko declined to disclose what rating this round was raised to, but said it was “preemptive” funding.

The Founders Fund doubled its investment and also put money into the final round Abstract Ventures, Maple VC, Hyphen Capital, Blank Ventures and angel investor Elad Gil.

Describing Playbook as an “easy-to-use” cloud storage and sharing tool for freelancers and designers, Ko applies technologies like image tagging to photos and videos “to transform a normally dry view of files into an expressive Pinterest-like gallery.” .

It also has what it describes as a “suite of features” focused on collaboration and quick sharing. Built-in publishing tools allow users to turn a set of assets into a live shared page with a variety of templates. Playbook uses its custom machine learning system to search through image content, extracted text, and similar images.

Since we last reported on the company, Ko says it has grown to more than 50,000 users, including freelance designers and creative agency clients worldwide. That’s an increase from 1,000 over the last year. Each user starts with a free plan that gives them 4TB of free storage “forever” as Playbook believes that “creativity should never be limited by storage size”.

“A lot of people outside of the US use the product,” Ko told TechCrunch. “It doesn’t need language translation and is very intuitive. That’s why we believe things are happening more globally.”

Photo credit: playbook

Interestingly, Ko said the company is about a quarter away from figuring out its revenue model and that its mission is for users to derive value from the product.

“We don’t want to make money with cloud storage. Others are already doing it,” she told TechCrunch. “We want to find a way that we make money when our users make money – so that our incentives are aligned. There are many ways to make money from media files.

The company plans to use its new capital to iterate on its product and, of course, hire some employees as well. Playbook currently has 14 employees, including 9 full-time employees and 5 contractors.

Kevin Zhang, a partner at Bain Capital Ventures, said that for decades, companies have relied on digital asset management (DAM) tools to control access, ensure licensing compliance and solve other image and video-related challenges that they use in their business.

“They’re slow, cumbersome, and often imposed on teams by leaders in a way that slows their work and encourages workarounds that are counterproductive for everyone,” he told TechCrunch. “Playbook approaches this problem from a fresh angle, based on first solving the everyday pain points of designers and their teams. This has led us to focus on both important and subtle features around search, tagging and organization to create an enjoyable experience that creatives want to use.”

Playbook, where ‘Pinterest meets Dropbox’ for designers, closes on $18M in funding – TechCrunch Source link Playbook, where ‘Pinterest meets Dropbox’ for designers, closes on $18M in funding – TechCrunch

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