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Canva acquires background removal specialists Kaleido

Devin Coldewey
·2 min read

Kaleido, makers of a drag-and-drop background removal service for images and video, have been acquired by up-and-coming digital design platform Canva. While the price and terms are not disclosed, it is speculated that this young company may have fetched nearly nine figures.

It's the right product at the right time, seemingly. In 2019, the Vienna-based Kaleido made remove.bg, a quick, simple, free and good-enough background removal tool for images. It became a hit among the many people who need to quickly do that kind of work but don't want to fiddle around in Photoshop.

Then late last year they took the wraps off Unscreen, which did the same thing for video — a similar task conceptually, but far more demanding to actually engineer and deploy. The simplicity and effectiveness of the tool practically begged to be acquired and integrated into a larger framework by the likes of Adobe, but Canva seems to have beaten the others to the punch.

Animated image showing a stack of books on a table in a room, but the table and room get deleted.
Animated image showing a stack of books on a table in a room, but the table and room get deleted.

Image Credits: Unscreen

The acquisition was announced at the same time as another by Canva: product mockup generator Smartmockups, suggesting a major product expansion by the growing design company.

"We completely bootstrapped Kaleido with no investors involved from day one," said co-founder and CEO of Kaleido, Benjamin Groessing, in a press release. "It has just been two founders and an incredible team. We’ve been profitable from the start — so this acquisition wasn’t essential for our existence. It just made sense on so many levels."

The company declined to provide any further details on the acquisition beyond that the brand and name are expected to survive — at least Unscreen, which makes perfect sense as a product name even under another company.

German outlets Die Presse and Der Brutkasten cited sources putting the purchase "reiht sich dahinter ein" or in the same rank as the largest Austrian exits (the largest of which was Runtastic at €220 million), though still in the two-digit millions — which suggests a price approaching $100M.

The team at kaleido celebrating their acquisition - each member has been digitally added.
The team at kaleido celebrating their acquisition - each member has been digitally added.

Image Credits: Kaleido

Whatever the exact amount, it seems to have made the team very happy. And don't worry — they put that image together using their own product for each person.