At Rive, we’re working on tools that allow designers and developers to easily add high-quality real-time animation to their apps and games. Rive (previously Flare) eliminates the need to recreate designs and animations in code, greatly simplifying the designer-to-developer handoff that plagues companies today and that remains a problem with even the latest and greatest design tools on the market. This means that designers are free to iterate and make changes at any time while working on real assets. And because Rive isn’t just a band-aid on top of After Effects, or something that outputs mp4 or gifs, Rive allows you to create sophisticated and dynamic interactions, game characters, animated icons, onboarding screens, and more.
Rive is already being used by teams at Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, and more. Philips Hue is using Rive for animations in their mobile app. The Google Assistant team is also using Rive to power animations on Smart Displays once their system UI moves to Flutter early next year.
As software continues to eat the world, applications are becoming richer, more immersive, and more personal. But there has been a vacuum for high quality, dynamic animation since Flash (rightfully) went away. Without Flash, building animations for mobile and web became a major undertaking which requires a dance of designers, animators and engineers to spend hours in polishing an experience. There are lots of reasons to be critical of Flash, but it was an incredible tool for rapid creative expression — from games to art to applications. Without it, creative expression has been limited in the animation world by the weak tools and cumbersome workflows. The twin brothers — Luigi and Guido — observed this challenge first-hand and started Rive to make animation building simple and delightful again. It’s not hard to recognize this is a perfect duo that combines creative experience design with precise engineering execution, who are going to create something truly special that transforms how games and apps are built going forward.
“Today’s consumers expect software to deliver a more entertaining and delightful experience rich with clever interactions, animations, and visual storytelling. Yet, the tools to develop such experiences haven’t improved much over the last 10 years. That’s why most companies and teams continue to underinvest in the polish that brings software from “good” to “great!”, despite consumer’s clear preference for applications that are not only easy to use, but that captivate them along the way. That’s why Rive was created and why it has already been adopted by tens of thousands of designers and developers. Rive is their go-to toolkit for creating next-level applications and games with a 10x increase in “wow!” and a 10x decrease in effort and headache. And there’s no better designer-engineer duo to bring about this step-change in developing interactive software than the twin brother founders of Rive, Guido and Luigi Rosso.”
— Andy Johns, Consumer Partner at Unusual Ventures
Why a Fund Raise and Why Now?
Luigi and I have been working together for more than 20 years. We moved to the Bay Area 14 years ago, right in the heart of the tech industry and tech financing world. During that time, we’ve always bootstrapped our companies and never explored the venture capital opportunities around us. We had always followed what we perceived to be general wisdom: do things on your own if you can.
It wasn’t until earlier this year when our product started growing users significantly (thanks to a number of awesome events such as Flutter Live) that Luigi and I began to realize the opportunity was bigger than what our personal finances could support. A cold outreach from an investor over email piqued our interest. So I started to read various books on the topic, among which was Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things.
We quickly realized that we had many misconceptions about how venture capital works. We also realized that if we were going to be talking to anybody, we wanted it to be Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). If you want to know more, their about page is a good start.
Shortly after our first meeting with a16z, we also met the folks at Unusual Ventures, who loved what we were working on. The feeling was mutual, as we immediately had a great connection with their impressive team, but also their socially conscious model (the money they use to invest in startups comes from non-profits such as historically black colleges, foundations, endowments, and health-related institutions).
We’re thrilled about our new partners and the message it sends to our users: we’re investing in the product in a big way and we’re ready to seriously grow the team. If you know anybody that wants to help us build the future of interactive animation, send them our way!