Mural acquires LUMA and launches the Collaborative Intelligence System

Having experienced significant growth during the pandemic, the collaboration software company has made its first major acquisition and is launching a Collaborative Intelligence System to increase the capacity for teams to innovate.

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Visual collaboration company Mural has announced it is making its first acquisition with the purchase of Pittsburgh-based provider of learning experiences, digital resources, and certification programs, LUMA Institute.

LUMA is the creator of the LUMA System, a “framework for practicing human-centered design that people can apply to tackle problems of all sizes,” which the company says has been adopted by teams at more than 3,000 organizations worldwide.

Mural, which launched in 2011, takes a visual approach to collaboration, centered on its popular digital whiteboard canvas product, allowing colleagues and clients to share ideas and brainstorm, even when they're distributed and remote.

Mural launches the Collaborative Intelligence System

Alongside the acquisition, Mural is launching a Collaborative Intelligence System, which aims to help organizations foster greater levels of innovation across teams.

The Collaborative Intelligence System has three central components:

  • The Collaboration Design Institute (CDI) will support customers looking to foster greater collaboration via training, curriculum development, certification, research, and consultation.
  • Collaboration Spaces empowers collaboration design for synchronous and asynchronous workflows, in-person and in-room collaborations. Mural is already fully integrated with various enterprise tools, including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex by Cisco, Slack, and Jira. An API for building custom enterprise solutions is currently in development.
  • Collaboration Insights will offer actionable intelligence so that business leaders can draw on both qualitative and quantitative data from a variety of sources across organizations.

Solving innovation problems

Mural CEO and co-founder Mariano Suarez-Battan. Mural

Mural CEO and cofounder Mariano Suarez-Battan.

Speaking at The Economist’s Innovation@Work event this week, Mural CEO, Mariano Suarez-Battan, said workers have spent the last two years brute forced into experimental working practices.

“I believe that deep human disconnection is the biggest problem we can face right now,” he said. “If we can sort that out and help all the teams out there by deliberately deploying this collaborative intelligence, we have a chance to solve many of the innovation problems that teams have.”

According to Wayne Kurtzman, IDC research director for collaboration and communities, it’s important to not conflate collaboration with the technology that enables it to happen. “The LUMA acquisition is a statement from Mural that they both understand the complexities ahead and will be ready to help businesses meet those challenges,” he said.

The growth of digital whiteboarding

The digital whiteboard sector exploded during the pandemic, as increasingly remote organizations looked for better ways to enable employees to brainstorm, develop products, manage projects, and more.

While such applications existed before 2020, they were mainly used by specific groups, such as designers and software developers. Now, these platforms have expanded across the enterprise and many go beyond the basic whiteboard functionality found in online meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex.

Speaking to Computerworld in 2020, the same week the company announced a $118 million Series B funding round, Suarez-Battan said Mural saw a ten-times increase in signups per day by mid-March in 2020, and a three-times increase in revenue.

"We accomplished the yearly goals — which were really ambitious — by June and we added over 1 million monthly active users worldwide,” he said.

Mural went on to raise a further $50 million in a Series C funding round in July 2021.

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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