Global design platform Canva acquires two word class European innovators: Kaleido AI & Smartmockups

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Canva co-founders Cliff Obrecht, Melanie Perkins and Cameron Adams

Online design platform Canva has achieved another milestone today after announcing a strategic investment into its vibrant apps ecosystem through the acquisition of two innovative European startups: Kaleido.ai, a leading visual AI platform (Austria) and Smartmockups, a realistic product mockup generator (Czech Republic).

Together, the companies will capitalize on the significant global reach of Canva’s growing ecosystem of apps and integrations, introducing a range of innovative visual design tools while bolstering those already known and loved by Canva’s design community of more than 40 million people around the world.  

“These acquisitions mark the latest step in our mission to empower the world to design. Both Kaleido and Smartmockups bring with them a huge wealth of talent and product innovation in the visual design space which will now seamlessly integrate into the Canva platform as we double down on expanding our range of tools for creating, editing and publishing all kinds of content,” explained Seb Ruiz, Canva’s Head of Apps and Integrations. 

What was once a complex task requiring expensive software and deep technical knowledge has been made accessible to millions by Austrian-based visual AI startup Kaleido – the creators behind remove.bg and Unscreen which remove backgrounds from photos and videos with the click of a button. The rapidly growing startup boasts customers including Alibaba, Samsung and the New York Times, recently hitting the milestone of more than 100 million monthly background removals as users from around the world seek out simple yet powerful solutions for traditionally inaccessible design tools. With regards to the acquisition, it is expected that the deal is valued somewhere between the high doubledigit millions and the low tripledigit millions.

“Canva and Kaleido are two incredibly rare companies. Looking at our shared vision for making complex things simple, combined with the supercharged growth and jam-packed product roadmaps across both companies, we couldn’t think of a better company to join forces with in accelerating the work we’ve already started. This democratization of design and visual AI is what drives our continued work and innovation in this space and we’re looking forward to doubling down on growing both our team and the product as we bring Kaleido’s technology to Canva’s global design community,” said Kaleido co-founder and CEO, Benjamin Groessing.

Not far from Vienna, also joining Canva’s rapidly growing ecosystem of apps and integrations is Smartmockups based in Librec, Czech Republic. Founded in 2016 by tech-duo Lukáš Zajíc and Andrew Nekvinda, Smartmockups was created with the mission of empowering anybody to quickly and easily create realistic design mockups ranging from t-shirts to flyers, mugs, books, magazines and devices. In 2020 alone, more than 3 million mockups have been created by Smartmockups users ranging from aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs to global Fortune 500 brands.

Smartmockups co-founder Andrew Nekvinda said: “With millions of people launching new side hustles and 36% of consumers now shopping online, up from 28% pre-COVID, there has never been a more important time for creating professional and enticing digital products. The acquisition will empower the millions of businesses and content creators using Canva to build engaging digital storefronts with realistic and enticing mockups with the click of a button in response to the dramatic shift towards e-commerce.”

“We created Smartmockups to empower anybody to quickly and easily create mockups to showcase their creative work. By joining forces with Canva, we’re able to multiply that creativity and create new opportunities for all kinds of content creators – from small businesses creating digital storefronts to local sporting teams designing custom merchandise, the power and simplicity of Canva combined with Smartmockups is now unparalleled to any other design platform on the market,” he added.

Since their inception, Canva, Kaleido and Smartmockups have been driven by the shared mission of turning complex design tasks into simple and accessible solutions for anyone, anywhere – regardless of knowledge, income or experience. Whether you’re a budding artist, a marketing professional, small business owner or individual creator, the acquisition of Kaleido and Smartmockups brings new and disruptive technology at the forefront of visual design directly into Canva’s global platform.

Following in the footsteps of Canva’s acquisition of Pexels and Pixabay in 2019, both Smartmockups and Kaleido will continue to operate autonomously from their existing locations in Europe, bolstering Canva’s global footprint with teams now spanning Berlin, Czech Republic and Austria.

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