Sydney-based startup Leonardo.Ai is using generative AI tools to unleash human creativity. The AI-powered art and design platform announced today that it has raised $31 million USD in a funding round led by Blackbird with participation from Side Stage Ventures, Smash Capital and others.
Leonardo.Ai launched just last year, but has already amassed an impressive seven million users who have created over 700 million images using the company's generative AI tools. The platform allows anyone to create original AI-generated art, characters, designs, and more.
What sets Leonardo.Ai apart is the fine-grained control it provides over the AI image generation process, enabling new levels of human-AI collaboration. The recently launched Live Canvas feature is a prime example, allowing users to sketch an idea and see AI-generated interpretations evolve in real-time. This positions Leonardo.Ai more as an AI-powered creativity augmentation tool rather than just another AI art generator.
"We think control means utility," said Leonardo.Ai CEO and co-founder J.J. Fiasson. "If you don't have as much control, you're just making pretty pictures, so that's key to us."
Applications span gaming, advertising, fashion, architecture and more. For instance, video producers can quickly storyboard scenes, while character designers can iterate on protagonists for graphic novels or video games. What once took days or weeks can now happen in minutes or hours.
Leonardo.Ai also caters to enterprise users with recent additions like collaboration tools, private cloud hosting, and APIs for building custom solutions. The new funding will help expand the startup's sales, marketing and engineering teams as it scales up the enterprise product.
Fiasson has been fascinated with AI's creative potential since Google's Deep Dream experiments. Now with Leonardo.Ai, he wants to usher in the next phase of the generative AI revolution - where AI becomes an integral part of the creative process rather than just a passive tool.
The funding round, which included participation from Samsung Next, signals investors are taking notice of Leonardo.Ai's mission to humanize AI. As generative models continue to advance at a rapid pace, the goal is to augment - not replace - human creativity. With its focus on inventive control features, Leonardo.Ai seems well-positioned to explore this middle ground.
The key now will be nurturing the synergistic creative potential between humans and AI. As Leonardo.Ai's catchphrase puts it: "We bring imagination to life." This latest funding infusion means we should expect even more imagination-fueled AI creativity from Leonardo.Ai soon.