FiftyThree Raises $30mil to Expand Popular Creativity Tools


FiftyThree, the startup company behind innovative Pencil and Paper creativity tools, has raised $30 million in funding for building digital tools that will be used in education and business.

FiftyThree has raised $30 million from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) investors to expand its product offerings into the realms of education and business through the development of new creativity and productivity toolkits, Ryan Lawler from Tech Crunch reports. Along with the $30m raised, FiftyThree welcome on its board Dayna Grayson, NEA associate.

FiftyThree is mostly known for an iPad app called Paper which is a virtual sketchboard, and Pencil, a stylus that interacts with Paper and lets users unleash their creativity through doodling, painting, and drawing in creative bursts of art and self-expression.

Paper was previously on a freemium model, but recently Fiftythree made it free to download and now users only have to pay for the Stylus which is available both on Amazon and the Apple retail stores. Fiftythree’s Pencil stylus is the top selling stylus internationally, although the company has not revealed its financial figures.

The $30 million in new financing will enable FiftyThree to design and develop productivity tools that will be especially made for the classroom and the office. Already, FiftyThree is to launch in April its Think Kit product, which as the FiftyThree CEO told Mashable:

“… will appeal greatly to people who use white boards. It will appeal to anyone who has needs to sketch out a presentation or diagram a flowchart.”

The focus on education is emphasized by the Fiftythree co-founder Georg Petschnigg who notes:

“We’re excited about the amount of teachers and students who already use Paper and Pencil to give lectures or take notes. Making the tools free will also allow us to offer easier access to classrooms across the world.”

After the Paper virtual sketchboard app became free, its user adaptability in education grew substantially. Petschnigg thinks the new FiftyThree products will overhaul creative thinking in education and business:

“With this investment, we’ve accepted the challenge of bringing a new crop of tools for creative thinking to places where they matter most: education and enterprise.” He added, “it’s about making creativity accessible to all.”

The $30m were raised during the Series B funding round. Previously, FiftyThree raised $15 million with Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey among the people expressing interest in the investing process. The Series B funding round which was led by NEA investors makes FiftyThree confident that the new tools to be developed will be a successful venture given that it will be the brainchild of “an investment firm that understand enterprise, along with a partner who understands designers.”

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