Australian GenAI startup Leonardo.Ai raises A$47 million
Leonardo.Ai, an Aussie startup on track to be one of the country’s fastest-growing SaaS companies, today announced it has raised AU$47 million (US$31 million) from investors including Blackbird, Side Stage Ventures, Smash Capital, TIRTA Ventures, Gaorong Capital and Samsung Next to accelerate creativity with its Generative AI (GenAI) content production platform.
Leonardo.Ai launched late last year providing creators with a new way to ideate, conceptualise and create anything from gaming characters to entire gaming worlds, advertising media, fashion lines, architectural designs and beyond. Since December, it has amassed 7 million users worldwide, who are creating 4.5 million images a day and have generated over 700 million images in total, as creators look to GenAI to accelerate creativity. Leonardo.Ai is the third most popular Discord channel, growing its Discord community to almost 2 million members.
Leonardo.Ai allows creators to build entire ecosystems of hyper-realistic art so creators can save, edit and build multiple assets in the same style and feature set, and the concepts can be used again and again, not just one-off images.
Creators can also custom-build and finetune their own AI models for image generation with over 470,000 models already trained.
“Our mission is to empower creativity — whether you’re a novice who loves art or a professional who creates every day. Leonardo.Ai helps fuel both. We’re helping democratise creativity by lowering the barrier to entry, and we’re also accelerating creative productivity for professionals,” commented JJ Fiasson (pictured), CEO and co-founder of Leonardo.Ai.
”For creators in video production for example, Leonardo.Ai can help storyboard a scene or an entire short film; if you’re a game designer, you can mock up gaming characters in seconds; brands use it to brief ad agencies. Its uses are endless, and ultimately we’re reducing the friction between ideation and creation – something we feel is really powerful. By simplifying exploring new ideas, this helps spark creativity and leads to more captivating creative output.”
“From our initial uptake, it’s clear that creators see the power of our platform to support the creative process. This new funding round will help us continue to build out our tech and team to empower creativity for millions around the world,” commented Fiasson.
The startup is already working with creators across industries such as entertainment, fashion design, advertising and architecture, and is currently being used by some of the leading AAA gaming studios, as well as Razer Axon.
Leonardo.Ai recently launched a new creation tool, Realtime Canvas, the first in its suite of real-time generative AI features. This allows for user input onto a painting canvas that is transformed by AI in real-time into polished illustrations, designs, photography and more. This marks a paradigm shift in generative AI to more real-time capabilities, as model speeds improve. It is a culmination of Leonardo’s focus on keeping the creator at the center of the equation while augmenting their creative ability.
The company is also launching its primary Enterprise offering, introducing collaborative tools for teams and private cloud infrastructure. Enterprise users have access to their production APIs, allowing companies to easily build infrastructure on top of Leonardo.Ai’s platform. It also allows users to build purpose-driven AI models that cater to specific needs, such as the brand and style guidelines of an advertising agency’s client. Leonardo.Ai is establishing a copyright shield to provide indemnity to commercial clients.
Leonardo.Ai has also welcomed two new senior hires with Donna Thomas (ex. AWS, Antler), as Chief of Staff and Ellie Miller (ex.Depop, Oodle) as Chief People Officer. Both have extensive backgrounds working in high-growth startups in Australia and abroad and will help Leonardo.Ai grow its team as it continues to scale rapidly.
“Leonardo.Ai has enjoyed an unprecedented beginning to its life, from a few thousand users when we first met the team ten months ago to over six million now. Even more impressive has been the speed in which the product has been expanded to serve a wide variety of industries, showcasing their growing ambition,” commented Niki Scevak, Partner at Blackbird. “The most impressive gene of JJ and the team is the speed in which they have expanded the product. Compounded over a decade, and Leonardo.Ai will have the ability to transform how industries go about their working lives. They’re true wild hearts with huge ambitions, and we’re proud to be able to back them.”
Leonardo.Ai investor, Ben Grabiner, Co-Founder and General Partner of Side Stage Ventures said, “Leonardo.Ai is building a whole new type of AI-powered paintbrush that empowers and accelerates a new generation of creative talent. In just a short time, they have built an exceptional product and an enormous community of engaged users who are streamlining their workflows and discovering new use cases for it every day. We’re excited to be part of Leonardo.Ai’s journey and we can’t wait to see the creativity that it unleashes.”
Leonardo.Ai investor, Evan Richter, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Smash Capital said, “We’re entering into a golden age for human creativity, where barriers are lowered and tools are democratized. What can be imagined can be created — and the quality and scale of entertainment enabled by Leonardo.Ai will be unprecedented. As impressed as we are by the extraordinary momentum that this team has built already, we are even more excited by JJ’s huge vision and we are thrilled to be partners in executing against such an ambitious roadmap.”
Leonardo.Ai investor, Ben Feder, Managing Partner of TIRTA Ventures said, “Generative AI is transforming creative workflows from advertising to TV and film to video games. Having followed Leonardo since the early days, we have been impressed with the team’s exceptional execution over the past year. TIRTA Ventures is proud to support JJ and the Leonardo team in their vision to democratize creativity.”