Mermaid Chart, a Markdown-like device for creating diagrams, raises $5.5M


Mermaid, the open-source diagramming and charting device, has lengthy been in style with builders for its capability to create diagrams utilizing a Markdown-like language. As is usually the case, Mermaid founder Knut Sveidqvist created the challenge as a result of he noticed a necessity for it in his personal job as a software program architect after which open-sourced it with none instant plans for monetization. Then, in 2022, he was approached by Open Core Ventures (OCV), the enterprise capital agency of GitLab founder Sid Sijbrandij, which later paired him with serial entrepreneur and investor Andrew Firestone as his CEO.

Now, the corporate, which builds hosted companies across the open supply challenge, introduced that it has raised a $5.5 million seed funding spherical from OCV and Microsoft’s M12 fund.

There’s some irony in Microsoft investing in Mermaid now. Sveidqvist tells me that the preliminary impetus for creating Mermaid was a misplaced Microsoft Visio file. “I needed to redraw the whole lot. So on the best way residence, I assumed there needed to be a greater manner of doing this. It was additionally the time when markdown was beginning to kick in. Can’t now we have this as textual content? That was the thought. Later that night time, I sat down in the lounge with my youngsters. They had been watching TV and I began the challenge. They had been watching The Little Mermaid. That’s why I named that eight years in the past.”

Early on Mermaid was principally about flowcharts, however over time Sveidqvist added different diagram sorts — and the neighborhood shortly made it its personal, too. And it’s gotten fairly in style, too. Firestone instructed me that the cloud model of the open supply challenge had 4 million customers final yr.

Picture Credit: Mermaid Chart

The OCV system is to search for in style tasks with good founders and co-found an organization with them to commercialize these tasks. Typically, meaning bringing in a CEO with enterprise expertise to enhance what is often a technical co-founder. What additionally helps, after all, is that these tasks have already got a monitor document, which in flip de-risks the funding fairly a bit.

“Matching the open supply software program with the enterprise studio mannequin, with Sid Sijbrandij’s type of background, with the capital — whenever you stack these issues collectively, you now you’ve gotten these seed-stage firms that seem like they could have been de-risked a lot as a collection A. You get a lot of a view into the longer term on product market match, which was actually particular for me coming in,” Firestone defined.

Firestone added that thousands and thousands of non-technical customers want diagramming and flowchart instruments. That’s a market Mermaid Chart is trying to handle by constructing easier-to-use instruments for this group of customers. However the general imaginative and prescient is considerably bigger and isn’t a lot about disrupting the likes of Lucidchart or Miro. Mermaid Chart needs to go after ServiceNow and comparable workflow automation companies, Firestone instructed me. However that’s nonetheless fairly a methods off.

For now, the workforce is squarely centered on constructing out its service and reaching a broader viewers. As soon as an organization goes all-in on Mermaid Chart, although, the device has the potential to turn out to be an important information base, which might then lay the groundwork to allow the corporate’s broader course of automation imaginative and prescient.

As a text-based device, there’ll at all times be a comparatively excessive barrier to entry, one thing the workforce is kind of conscious of. That’s why the corporate not too long ago added a visual editor as nicely. That’s an opt-in function, although. Customers who need and just like the text-based method can proceed to take action (and change between the 2 interfaces at will).

As well as, to make Mermaid much more accessible, the workforce additionally educated its personal AI mannequin to permit customers to create charts with the assistance of a chat interface, for instance. For paying customers, the AI also can repair a diagram whenever you botch the syntax.

“Mermaid’s open-core is loved by thousands and thousands of software program engineers globally, and its software program is supported natively in GitLab, GitHub, and others,” mentioned Sid Sijbrandij, Co-Founder and CEO of GitLab and Founding father of Open Core Ventures. “Mermaid Chart is increasing the neighborhood by bringing the advantages of Mermaid to all varieties of enterprise customers, leveraging AI as a catalyst. The use circumstances and enterprise alternatives adjoining to the expertise are vital and we’re excited to help the workforce on this subsequent section of development.”



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