LucidLink, a startup offering a platform that enables teams to work on files without having to download or sync them, today announced that it raised $75 million in a Series C round led by Brighton Park Capital with participation from Headline, Adobe Ventures and Baseline Ventures. The tranche brings LucidLink’s total raised to $90 million — a respectable sum for a company founded around seven years ago.
How, you might be asking (like this writer), did a storage startup raise nearly $100 million — and for what? Well, 5x growth in annual recurring revenue over the past two years might have something to do with it. As for how it plans to spend the money, LucidLink will “accelerate” its product and engineering development, customer acquisition and vertical expansion efforts, CEO and co-founder Peter Thompson told TechCrunch in an email interview.
“LucidLink didn’t need to raise capital, but rather, investors sought us out for investment due to our top-of-class KPIs and metrics for software-as-a-service companies,” he said. “In a sea of flat and down rounds, the significant increase in valuation over our Series B in 2022 is a testament to our strong performance, despite the market conditions.” (Thompson declined to disclose the exact valuation, unfortunately.)
Thompson co-launched LucidLink in 2016 with George Dochev, whom he met while working at DataCore Software, a software-defined storage developer based in Florida. While at DataCore, Dochev, a principal member of the engineering team, often encountered challenges accessing files distributed among various physical locations. He built a solution, and, with Thompson, sought to commercialize the tech.
“LucidLink is designed to help remote and hybrid teams of creative professionals tackle a variety of complex use cases by enabling immediate access to huge files and secure real-time collaboration,” Thompson said. “LucidLink has broad applications across creative industries where collaborating on large files is an issue and has seen success in media and entertainment, gaming, architecture, design, advertising and marketing.”
LucidLink allows users to stream data directly from the cloud — or, more accurately, stream file segments on demand as needed by an app, like Adobe Premiere or Photoshop — meaning that they can use files and folders the moment a teammate saves or updates them in a shared filespace. A single source of truth is kept in the cloud, while frequently accessed data is cached locally.
Periodically, LucidLink takes “snapshots” of the filespace, which allows users to restore previous versions of either individual files or revert the entire filespace to an earlier point. The snapshots don’t require a complete copy of all the data, but only what’s changed — resulting in what Thompson describes as “very efficient” space utilization.
“The new hybrid workplace requires solutions designed for today’s reality,” Thompson said. “Every other solution on the market focuses on moving data around faster or preemptively through syncing, replication and creating multiple copies … Our customers in the creative industries face especially difficult problems because their workforce is more prone than others to be remote and hybrid, coupled with the fact that they’re dealing with the largest file sizes — making collaboration extremely unwieldy. The fact that LucidLink solves the problem so elegantly is the reason for our rapid growth.”
LucidLink’s customers include the U.S. federal government as well as big-name brands like Adobe (hence, presumably, Adobe Ventures’ investment), A&E Networks, Whirlpool, Shopify, BuzzFeed and Spotify. Asked whether he was concerned about potential macroeconomic headwinds, Thompson said that San Francisco-based LucidLink, which has 123 employees, expects to reach profitability with the latest cash infusion. (I take that as a “no.”)