The latest addition to the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund’s growing portfolio: InVision, a design-centric UI prototyping tool. The company will receive $200,000 in order to staff up, which will in turn allow the polishing up of version two of its software, which will incorporating richer collaboration and a full suite of project management tools.
Said EDC president Seth Pinsky in a statement released earlier today: “This investment is another example of the Bloomberg Administration’s strong commitment to supporting our City’s talented entrepreneurs and creating conditions that will allow for continued growth within our emerging technology sector.”
This isn’t InVision’s first injection of seed capital. The company has already raised $1.5 million in VC funding. Most of the money comes from local firm FirstMark Capital (which also manages the NYC Entrepreneurial Fund), though $600,000 comes from others.
InVision CEO Clark Valberg explained to Betabeat that the company’s big idea is that there’s been a shift in who makes stuff, from engineers to designers: “So if design is not only of great importance, but of primary value, how do we get the next generation of software to match what people expect and what people need?” The answer, he believes, is that, “we have to put the reigns in the hands of the designers, not the engineers.” InVision’s platform allows designers to build interactive web and mobile prototypes without relying on coders.
Asked how his team will use the money, Valberg mentioned staffing up. “The whole idea is just making sure we have the right people to get to that big hairy goal,” he said.
But he’s not ignoring the intangible upsides of being associated with the city, either. “There’s obviously also a great strategic benefit in having New York City involved in the conversation. The mayor’s office is extremely supportive of the local tech community, which means you go the right functions, getting introduced to the right designers, the right developers.”
“When you’re in the club, there’s definitely benefits,” he added.
The next step for the company is releasing version two of its platform, which will emphasize richer commenting and collaboration, as well as a suite of general project management tools and user testing. Valberg sees a competitor in Balsamiq, but argues InVision’s designer focus is a differentiator. He believes InVision’s technology is a generation ahead of the newly released Adobe Creative Cloud.
Valberg told us they’ve just crossed 26,000 total signups, and as of today, 19,942 projects have been created on the platform. That’s since launching last July. Their website boasts users at Google, Twilio, Whole Foods, Zappos, Kickstarter, and IDEO.