Please welcome Air, a world-class workplace collaboration tool for creative teams
HQ: New York
Cofounders: Shane Hegde and Tyler Strand
The problem: “Can you send me that photo again?” Creative teams know this problem well. Keeping track of images and videos can break down into digging through your desktop, Dropbox or Google Drive, discussing edits or revisions via Slack or email, and spending more time searching through your visual assets than sharing them. At any given time, marketing managers, content coordinators, and social media managers are juggling campaigns and posting schedules, all the while jumping between tools to get the job done. More than ever, all types of businesses are thinking like brands. But, until now, there hasn’t been an all-in-one solution for streamlining the workflow for organizations that rely on visual assets to tell their story.
Air’s solution: Air aims to deliver the first comprehensive workplace collaboration tool for creative teams to manage their visual assets. Featuring smart search, image recognition, and color filters, Air organizes assets and offers a seamless solution for uploading, collaborating, and commenting on files with internal and external groups. Sports teams (Notre Dame Athletics, Duke Men’s Basketball), digital publishers (The Infatuation, Thrillist), consumer goods and services companies (Smalls, Glamsquad), and more than 100 other businesses have signed up for Air’s closed pilot, which has supported more than 5 million digital assets so far.
Origin story: Working in content-focused roles at digital media and tech companies, Shane and Tyler found themselves frustrated with existing content management tools and cloud storage systems. They left their jobs to create an automated, seamless workflow for the rapidly growing field of creative teams. Air was born in 2017 to offer a “whiteboard” for a company’s visual assets and videos. After launching a closed pilot six months ago, today Air opens to the world.
Why we’re betting on it: Today, users demand amazing customer experiences in both their personal and professional lives. But in the 70% of companies that create and distribute visual content, teams are still reliant on old-school digital asset management (DAM) software or disparate tools. We’ve repeatedly invested in new enterprise solutions that bring a consumer-oriented approach and strongly believe that focus will be central to the future of the sector. But, ultimately, our investment in Air is an investment in the founding team. Shane and Tyler know the problem of creative asset management first-hand and we believe are well-positioned to disrupt the status quo.
Our take: Today’s market of 700 million “communicators” working in fields like marketing, sales, content, and partnerships is growing. By 2025, 60% of agency spend is expected to shift to internal content generation, bringing the total content collaboration market to $16 billion. Yet those communicators don’t have technology solutions that support their day-to-day responsibilities. Within this environment, we believe that Air’s approach is increasingly relevant and we’re excited that they’re opening their platform publicly to the growing world of creators.
Further reading: “Lerer Hippeau leads $6M investment in Pinterest-like digital asset manager Air” via TechCrunch