LucidChart Nabs $1 Million From 500 Startups, 2M Companies, And K9 Ventures

LucidChart, a web-based diagramming application, announced today that it has raised $1 million in seed funding from 500 Startups, 2M Companies, K9 Ventures, as well as several angel investors. The startup will use its new capital to ramp up hiring efforts and to begin positioning its app as a viable alternative to desktop software.

On a basic level, LucidChart combines elements of Excel, Photoshop, and Google Apps all in one clean, easy to use application. Whether you’re a developer, a web designer, or just an average web user, LucidChart allows the creatively-minded to create sexy, yet sophisticated graphs, mockups for websites or mobile apps, flowcharts, diagrams, etc. The startup’s application was built on open standards like HTML5 and javascript, and doesn’t require plugins — all the user needs is the love of a good browser. (Here’s a look at LucidChart on the iPad, for an example.)

LucidCharts CEO Karl Sun said that he wants the application to be an example of what HTML5 is capable of today, in that the standard is starting to get to a place in its development in which its rendering and display of visual and graphical applications is on par with desktop software. He hopes LucidCharts can help hammer that point home, visually speaking.

But, aside from those who are proponents of HTML5, perhaps one of LucidChart’s coolest features is its realtime collaboration functionality. Any number of users can work together simultaneously on creating a diagram or a mockup, with each user’s additions reflected on partner screens in realtime. There’s also a group chat feature to allow users to easily discuss the project in realtime, while saving a few dollars on those phone bills.

Much in the same way Google Apps does for text, LucidCharts is making a play at realtime visual collaboration, and in this way, Sun thinks that LucidCharts can distinguish itself from similar applications, like Visio and Omnigraffle.

That being said, compatibility is key, and as the LucidChart team is aware of Visio’s popularity, the application allows users to import their existing Visio documents without losing their place — and continue to update and edit in LucidChart. The team is also in the process of adding compatibility with other applications, including Omnigraffle.

From mind maps and organizational charts to website wireframes and UML diagrams, LucidChart has been designed as an application to be used anywhere, any device, and, for users just starting, the application is free. The free version allows two collaborators, 25MB of storage, and 60 objects per document. There are also personal, professional, and team versions, which scale in price up to $25 a month. You can read more about LucidChart’s pricing here.

LucidChart also comes with a few nifty features that add some enhancements to the typical user experience one finds in graph and diagram creation tools. Check the video out below for an example: