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German rival of Canva: Kittl secures $11.6M funding to bring professional design to everyone


Kittl, a design platform that democratises creativity, has closed a €10.8 million Series A round. New York-based venture capital firm investing in high-growth consumer and internet technology companies, Left Lane Capital led the round, with participation by Speedinvest and several notable angel investors including the Intercom co-founder Des Traynor and Bebo’s former CEO Shaan Puri. They were joined by others from well-known brands and platforms like Calm, Amazon, and Instagram.

The Berlin startup has already won fans with its tools that make advanced design more accessible. Further, the Canva competitor plans to use the investment to further expand the product and grow their team.

Making professional tools simple

For those involved in graphic design, there has never been a shortage of tools. However, they tend to exist at opposite ends of the spectrum: at one end are tools like Adobe’s software suite that are complex, with a steep learning curve and a hefty cost, and at the other are web tools like Canva, which are simpler and more affordable, but also more limited. Kittl claims to hit a sweet spot between those extremes, empowering users to create advanced designs simply on its web platform.

The team behind Kittl mix entrepreneurial experience and design expertise. Co-founders Nicolas Heymann and Philip Rukin were both founders previously and have joined with design expert Tobias Saul, who is well-known for his creative lettering. Starting as Heritage Type in Berlin in 2020, they rebranded as Kittl following a €1.6 million seed round in 2021.

Co-founder and CEO Heymann highlights the difficulties that were inherent in design previously. “Creating advanced designs can be a long and painful process,” says Heymann. The aim of Kittl is to improve that process. “Kittl lets a user easily create products on a professional level,” Heymann continued, “we’re going to be building new tools to unlock new possibilities and make Kittl even more powerful.”

Kittl’s ability to address the pain point felt by many creatives was part of the attraction for Left Lane capital. Magnus Karneham, a Principal, noted the “platform democratises the creation of professional-grade graphic design.” Design is something that affects everyone, and is a skill everyone, not just professional designers, can need in modern work. In Kittl, Karneham sees a platform that addresses that need, “Designers, creators, and hobbyists alike have long searched for a solution that makes creating complex digital assets simple. Kittl has grown its user base and user engagement incredibly fast, and this is entirely thanks to their laser focus on creating a platform that spans ideation, creation, and ultimately monetisation of graphic design.”

A platform for design and inspiration

Users have already appreciated the combination of ease-of-use and power that Kittl offers. Since its launch in 2022 over 1,000,000 designs have been created. One user, Etsy seller Julian Chavez, was effusive about the effect it had on their work. “I cannot say it enough. Kittl was by far the best thing I got involved with in 2022,” Chavez said. “Once I started publishing designs on Kittl, I started getting followers and seeing people use my design as a template. Kittl is the best.”

Heymann points out that Kittl occupies a unique place in the graphic design market, especially when compared to services like Canva, which are simple, but only offer limited control over basic designs. In comparison, he says, “Kittl offers easy-to-use advanced designs with high control over details, basically, it allows professional design.”

The platform’s aim is to allow anyone to turn their graphical vision into usable digital assets. Although designers can start from scratch on Kittl, it’s also designed for sharing and promoting. Designers can browse thousands of designs and templates on the platform, then use those for inspiration or a starting point for their design. Combined with Kittl’s powerful tools, it makes it effortless to move from nothing to a finished, custom design. “It’s great for professionals to design to print, to sell or to use for branding,” Heymann says.

Kittl will be using their funding to develop the tech behind Kittle, as well as increasing the size of their team, currently 16-strong, with six women and ten men. “We’ll be doubling down on existing AI and machine learning efforts to really empower users,” says Hermann.

In a world where everyone, at least partly, needs to be a designer, Kittl makes it possible for anyone to actually be a designer.

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