Visual collaboration goes global

Written by 
Mariano Battan
August 25, 2020

With a $118M Series B investment, MURAL continues to transform imagination work for teams.

We have some news. MURAL closed a $118 million Series B funding round, bringing on new investors, including lead investor Insight Partners as well as Tiger Global, Slack Fund, and World Innovation Lab. Our existing investor Gradient Ventures participated, too.

The teams at these firms are some of the best in the business. In addition, Ryan Smith, CEO of Qualtrics; Bill Veghte, CEO of AthenePartners (formerly a Microsoft SVP and HP COO); and Allison Pickens, former COO of Gainsight have also joined the group as investors and advisors.

We are so excited and thankful to have them with us as MURAL enters this next chapter.

In particular, I’m very thankful to our team. We were able to meet our yearly goals by June. Everybody worked very hard amidst a pandemic. We showed up for our community and made it possible for teams to keep working and imagining solutions to their business problems.

Thank you, also, to our leadership team — a team that keeps getting better. Bill Veghte joined as my partner six months ago. Peter Herbert joined as CMO in March. And most recently, Adriana Roche came on as Head of People. Our experienced squad of leaders has the know-how we need to succeed.

My amazing co-founders and I started this company nine years ago. Since then, we’ve watched as team after team realized the power of visual collaboration. With each team, awareness grew, and what was slow at first is now unstoppable.

There’s no turning back — and we are ready.

Now is the time

This funding signals a change. To some of you, it probably feels like you have been talking about visual collaboration forever. As design thinkers, facilitators, imagination workers that understood the power of digital-first collaboration, you were early to the party.

Now everybody is invited.

Every day, new teams discover that once you have the space to make ideas visual, the methods to make ideas clear, and the freedom to collaborate, you speed up the process of innovation. You transform work.

2020 has seen visual thinking and remote collaboration go mainstream. For example, just a few weeks back I talked with a senior director at a Fortune 100 company who said he’d never considered doing a workshop remotely. Now, he shares that, “This piece of software has helped us survive. In one week we were able to do seven workshops instead of one. When we get back to the office, we don’t see the ‘virtual’ aspect ever going away.”

We see transformations like this every day with MURAL members. As more and more global enterprise companies, consultancies, universities, and nonprofit organizations adopt MURAL’s digital workspace for visual collaboration, our community will extend to millions of new people.

Powering up imagination workers globally with visual collaboration

How did all of this get started? Six years ago Agustin, Celeste, Pato and I spent time at IDEO in their Startup in Residence program in San Francisco. We realized then that global enterprise teams wanted to work like the great people at IDEO. These would be the people that needed us most.

Then we saw IBM lead the way. Teams at IBM realized the value of design thinking and visual collaboration. They also learned they didn’t need to be in the same room to imagine with each other. Equipped with the right methods and the digital workspace to visualize together from anywhere, they could workshop products, improve processes, and engage customers remotely. Before long, IBM went from a small team collaborating this way to tens of thousands collaborating visually. Today, this is just how collaboration at IBM happens.

The word is out. And now we not only have built a digital workspace to help, we have a vision we’ve built a thriving community around:

» Make space for imagination.
Today, when people think “remote,” they think video calls, chat, and email. Something’s missing — and it’s imagination. When you connect and collaborate visually, you create new possibilities. You combine ideas, concepts, and pictures in new ways. You play. You explore. Free to imagine, you take what’s inside your head and put it out into the world. Getting ideas into a visual space allows you to shape those ideas. In time, you can share those ideas with others.

You must make space for imagination.

» Use guided methods to facilitate imagination. Imagination brings possibility, but creativity thrives on constraints. That’s why we turn to methods to focus. Using tried-and-true techniques, methods, and proven frameworks, you focus the work. Once methods are digital, they’re easy to copy and repeat, and everyone becomes familiar. You get at the insights you need to move forward together faster.

Methods guide imagination — they make ideas clear.

Design thinking and other guided, visual methods help bring focus to imagination.

» Make collaboration from anywhere easy. You have space for imagination. You have methods to make ideas clear. How do you share those ideas and make them better? Today’s remote workforce is learning fast. They’re finding ways to use technology to make working together more engaging, even when you can’t be in the same place. Teams that are able to connect with each other in a digital workspace can imagine together freely. Ideas can be shared and improved.

Make collaboration from anywhere, easy. With a shared visual space, you can.

» (Remote) Facilitation is your new core competence. When it comes to teams, a bigger team is only better so long as everyone works together. World-class teams recognize the need for a catalyst — someone who calls forth the best in everyone. Someone who makes meetings interactive and engaging, rather than just talking or listening. We call these unsung heroes facilitators. And it’s time to sing their praises! Because now this type of leadership is needed at every level of the team.

Being an exceptional digital or remote facilitator is the new core competence.

Bring it all together and watch the magic happen. Watch your ideas come to life as you gather your team around you. Work together visually to get things done.

Cross the chasm to visual collaboration

Many have “crossed the chasm” to this new way of working visually. More are discovering it just recently. Together, you will adapt and learn. You’ll lead a design sprint for a new product feature, have a journey mapping session with your customer, or hold a strategy workshop with your leadership team and do it all while remote. Then, you'll help others learn so they cross over too.

Early adopters crossed the chasm to visual collaboration, leading the way for others to follow. In this moment when so many must work remotely, others have been brute-forced across the chasm - and now they’re discovering for the first time what’s possible with visual collaboration.

As for us, we help teams cross the chasm. For example, MURAL has supported the largest visual collaboration transformations in the world at companies such as IBM, Autodesk, Intuit, GitHub, and Atlassian. With the advantage of investors who know how to scale up the world’s best companies, our resources, and the growing MURAL team, we will help teams cross the chasm to visual collaboration at even greater scale.

It’s not just for businesses. This way of working can help teams of all types. Research teams have leveraged our platform to work with coronavirus relief organizations. Hackathon-like events in locations like Brasil have used MURAL with over 600 students to develop new products and solutions in response to COVID-19.  Professors and educators have embraced MURAL as a must-have digital workspace for distance learning. Maybe we can help you. Learn more about our nonprofit and education programs. Please reach out and let us know how we can support you. We’ve been helping thousands, and you should be next.

To support newcomers everywhere - and bring others across the chasm - MURAL will get even better. We plan to:

  • Simplify the product experience even more and add the features you need. You'll be able to make your team's visual work fit them, their roles, and their workflows.
  • Bring on even more people in customer success and sales who care about this new way of working. They will be powerful allies to your teams throughout your transformation journey.
  • Continue to meet our most-regulated enterprise customers’ exceptionally high standards. And evolve with you in partnership.
  • Deepen our community engagement together with our partners. Our programs will support facilitators in all types of roles as they work to improve how teams around the world collaborate.

To do all this, the MURAL team will grow. We plan to hire some 80 people in product, engineering, and IT alone by the end of the year.

As more cross the chasm, we will be ready for them.

Here to help the community

MURAL is a platform that extends out to an incredible community of members and facilitators. The MURAL Consultant Network, Playmakers, customer communities, and many programs such as MURAL Imagine, which has over 35,000 participants so far, will continue to grow.

We’re committed to serving the community of imagination workers by building a robust library of education, content, and inspiration. We want to give you what you need when you need it. We will serve newcomers and seasoned pros alike.

We’re here to help you. Are you ready to power up your team? Start collaborating visually today and try us on a free trial. If your company is undergoing a digital transformation, you can talk to our expert team.

Transforming work together

In 2020, some companies were prepared to continue collaboration and innovation, even in difficult circumstances. Even more are adapting and accelerating now. This is a big moment for all of us.

To the community that has led the way and the tireless MURAL team for making this vision a reality, thank you.

Together, we will transform work.

Read our official press release

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About the author

About the authors

Mariano Battan

Mariano Battan

I co-founded Mural, where we are making creative teams become better design thinkers through our collaboration software. We started Mural because of a game we were designing. Ask me about that.