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Air News

We'll be in New York

September 16, 2020 · 5 min read

Today, the team and I are excited to announce Air's $12M Series A led by Tiger Global.

While I know this is typically a founder's moment to solely talk about strategy and progress, the classic Series A bully pulpit feels wrong and out of touch. Simply put, our update pales in comparison to the global pandemic, record unemployment, climate crisis, presidential election, and fight for racial equality. So this time around, I thought I would forego the Silicon Valley “we’re changing the world!” and share a slightly different story: the sobering reality of how our raise happened and what we learned.

The headlines will unpack our engagement metrics and strategic partners, but with these highs came many lows and uncertainty. We launched on February 28th and kicked off our fundraising process on April 17th. This left 4 months of runway to raise capital in a global recession. It took us 42 days of nonstop work to arrive at a term sheet. In that time period, we laid off 16% of our staff and moved out of our office to conserve cash. We passed on taking a PPP loan because it felt wrong. We took 136 meetings with 57 firms. Air's "data room" was a +7,000 word Notion doc. Our preparation was a far cry from poetic and I'm pretty confident I went outside my apartment less than a dozen times from launch to terms. These factoids aren't meant to sound like a holier-than-thou tweetstorm, they're just an honest window into our lives this summer. It was brutal; I hated it, the team hated it, but we were sharing in the struggle and that's what made this triumph exciting.

There was no playbook for a pandemic launch or a quarantine fundraise...so we structured processes that felt right and made up the rest along the way. After our launch in early March, few wanted to take a risk on a new product...so we found other ways to contribute and fit into the consumer narrative. When we began our fundraise, there was no precedent for pandemic investment decisions...so we cast our net wider and were upfront about deadlines. Our lesson this summer was that it’s difficult, but not impossible, to plan in uncertainty. Focus on your goals and improvise, improvise, improvise. My team found a way to do this time and again, and their creativity and persistence are the only reasons we're still here. Resolve is now an integral part of our story and I hope our journey can help build confidence in your own.

An photo of a person holding a hand drawn image of a person sitting next to a cart that has the words "I heart NY"
An photo of a person holding a hand drawn image of a person sitting next to a cart that has the words "I heart NY"

New York demands a lot of you - energy, attitude, personality - but this sense of resolve is what I cherish most. Many people on our team ditched their apartments post-close, and I'm honestly unsure when we'll have an office again. But if I'm confident about anything, it's that we'll be back in New York. We'll be here when Peter Luger decides to ignore our calls again. And we’ll be here when the bleachers at Yankee Stadium are filled. We'll laugh when it takes 45 minutes to get crosstown again and smile when the house lights flicker back to life on Broadway. I have no idea when or how any of these things will happen, but they will. We'll figure it out. We're New Yorkers. And when they do, I promise we’ll be smarter, faster, and better suited to serve each of you.

Thanks, as always, for your thoughts and support.

We're here. Let us know if we can help in any way.


Our partners

To date, we've have raised $18M from institutional investors including Tiger GlobalLerer HippeauWndrCoSlack VenturesRed Sea Ventures, R&R Venture Partners, and Advancit Capital.

Our angel network of executives has been a critical counsel and each of them is owed a massive thank you for their time and support:

ChenLi Wang (Dropbox), Todd Jackson (Dropbox), Kyle Parrish (Figma), Sean Whitney (Figma), Joe Thomas (Loom), Jack Altman (Lattice), Jenny Fleiss (Rent the Runway), Nic Jammet (Sweetgreen), Brian Lee (Honest), Nick Greenfield (Candid), Payne Brown (NBPA), David Goldweitz (Glamsquad), Oliver Jay (Asana), Kevin Weil (Instagram), and David Lieb (Google Photos).

What matters to us

We have built a vocational training program. Here, we believe our responsibility to our investors and customers, is equally as important as our responsibility to employees and our community. We will continue to invest in our team's development, aiming to become a great place to be from and supporting our team in endeavors in and out of the office. The systems and processes we codify will be open sourced, and we will continue to listen and learn from best practices. There will be no ego within our walls, even if they remain virtual.

In October, we will publish our diversity and inclusion report and we will continue to hold ourselves accountable. New recruiting policies and transparent salary bands is how we have started, but we do not think industry standards are enough. Thoughtful is a word we keep coming back to, and you will see this in everything we do from product to people management.

Where we're going

The new capital will allow us to rapidly expand our team and invest heavily in product development. Today we bring thousands of users together on Air and tomorrow our mission to make creativity easy, fast, and fun will spread to tens of thousands more around the globe.

Over the next 12 months, you will see us add new pricing tiers to support the work of growing teams and individual creators. Over the next 24, you'll see us solidify our position as the new creative cloud, one built for visual communications, the "Notion for visual work."

On Air, instant creative collaboration will be made possible from the first mood board to the final deliverable.

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