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Behind the Investment: MURAL – The Leap to Visual Collaboration

Michael Shephard, Rebecca Liu-Doyle | August 25, 2020| 1 min. read

Few spaces over the past five years (or even more so, the past five months) have garnered as much intrigue as the business collaboration market. At Insight, we have been paying close attention to the space as an active participant for nearly a decade, first with Smartsheet (NYSE: SMAR) and then with Monday.com. Our experiences have not only reinforced our excitement for the future of this market, but have also led to three key observations that underpin our conviction in our newest investment, MURAL:

  1. The best products do not simply replace legacy tools. They give rise to a fundamentally better way of working
  2. User experience is excruciatingly important – for this reason, many tools that can technically solve the same collaboration pain points often coexist in a given organization. In fact, even a single individual may be a power user of several substitutes
  3. Grassroots adoption and high usage are fantastic leading indicators of success at the enterprise level

MURAL was created for the “imagination worker”— with the belief that we are all imagination workers to some extent. In addition to a blank digital canvas for teams to map out processes, solve challenges, and share ideas, MURAL offers its members 100+ pre-built templates. These templates range from the “Empathy Diamond” to “Quarterly Kanban and Retrospective,” and are infused with proprietary best practices for optimizing visual collaboration, whether synchronously or asynchronously. A “mural” is becoming a new form of documentation altogether—one that unlocks the imagination and is not confined by bullets, pages, or cells.

Our relationship with Mariano and the MURAL team did not begin during COVID-19. We’d been admirers for quite a while, and had always been struck by the exceptionally intuitive UI/UX. Maintaining utmost ease of use was embedded in Mariano’s ethos, and it’s reflected in every facet of the platform—from the way you drop post-it notes onto a mural to the way you invite guests. Anyone can jump into a Mural workspace and roll up their sleeves immediately.

This voracious focus on user experience has paid off in the forms of virality and stickiness. Once implemented, Mural usage expands organically over time. Thus, a small five-person team can evolve into hundreds or thousands of users across the entire organization. It is not uncommon for there to be existing users tucked in various corners of the company well before an enterprise license is signed. This has helped MURAL become a leader and important piece in enterprises’ collaboration toolkit.    

In the age of “work from home,” yes, MURAL has become a way to effectively facilitate workshops remotely that “were supposed to” take place in person. However, we believe COVID-19 is serving as an adoption accelerant rather than a forced change in course. MURAL improves visual collaboration, regardless of whether the collaboration is happening across a conference room or across the country.

As the MURAL team puts it: “People always say, ‘this meeting is so important, we need to do it in person.’ One day, people will say, ‘this meeting is so important, we need to do it in MURAL.’”