I was a teacher’s assistant at The International Center of Photography many years ago, helping students learn Adobe Lightroom. I also minored in architectural design in college, where most of my work was done in various Adobe products or AutoCAD. With a market cap of over $230B, Adobe and its products are impressive and unmatched in functionality. That said, I’ve always found them clunky, siloed, and overly complex for most casual users.
Others share this sentiment and we’ve seen dozens of startups emerge to “unbundle” Adobe subproducts and tackle some of these issues — for example, Figma ($2B valuation) and Canva ($6B). Lately, I have been particularly excited about the growth of the “Creator Economy”, an investment thesis I am working on at Flybridge and blogged about here. Consequently, I’ve been on the lookout for new tools that serve this emerging market. After all, the creative software market is estimated to be ~$7B and is growing quickly. Photo and video editing software were previously reserved for professional, full-time creatives (that likely got an Adobe license through an employer). Now, independent creators making everything from instagram GIFs to YouTube vlogs need lightweight, cloud-native, user-friendly editing tools.
COVID-19 has only accelerated the need for lightweight, easy to use, video editing tools, as more people are both creating and consuming original content. For example, Gia Fey — a popular YouTube fitness creator — saw her views during the pandemic increase “by about 40% and watch time…[go up] by as much as 50 percent.” (source) Other photo and video sharing apps, such as Instagram and TikTok, have seen similar surges in traffic and engagement.
COVID-19, and working from home, has also illuminated challenges with remote collaboration in the creative space. Figma has tackled collaboration and joint file editing for static graphics and prototypes, and many creative leads at enterprises now swear by its software. Zoom’s head of design, for example, highlights how Figma’s communication and collaboration functionality enables its lean design team to work in tandem with an engineering group that is 10x its size. Adobe has also been working to bring more collaborative functionality to their offerings. The company’s 2020 Q2 earnings call highlights plans to roll out “new capabilities designed to facilitate collaboration between creators” and to focus more on “social creators” versus hard-core professionals.
Given all of this, I was thrilled to meet Chris Boardman and to learn more about Fable, a web-based, motion design software tool for designers and creators. Much like Figma did for the design and prototype space, Fable aims to build a community-driven, cloud-native, and collaborative editing tool for the motion graphics space. Beyond the large and growing market size, and timeliness given the rise of the creator economy, Chris has an incredible background for building a company in this space. He has experience in engineering, interactive design, and product, and intimately understands the need for collaborative tools for motion graphics. Finally, Chris is a big believer in leveraging community as a competitive advantage and is planning on leaning into pulling together this motion-based designer community and executing on the Community Playbook that we at Flybridge are so passionate about.
In short, we are excited to invest in Fable and support Chris in building an important, groundbreaking company alongside our friends at Collaborative Fund, Chad Hurley (Co-Founder and former CEO, YouTube), Harrison Metal, Third Kind Venture Capital, Sumeet Gajri (Original Capital), and SIP Global Partners (s/o for the intro!).