Adobe just acquired its biggest threat

What the design giant’s $20B purchase of Figma means for the future of design.

In the world of design, Adobe has reigned supreme for years.

Adobe just acquired its biggest threat

Still, many analysts viewed design startup Figma as a serious challenger, thanks in part to its annual recurring revenue, which has been doubling year after year.

By announcing plans to acquire Figma for $20B, Adobe eliminated a budding rival and made a big bet on the future of design in the process, per The Verge.


… was founded in 2012, when co-founder Dylan Field dropped out of Brown University to accept a grant from Peter Thiel.

His premise was simple: Design is a team sport, and browser-based apps make collaboration easier than desktop apps like Adobe Photoshop.

  • By 2021, Figma’s rapid growth helped it reach “decacorn” status by securing $200m at a $10B valuation.
  • Just over a year later, Adobe offered to pay 2x that to buy the company, betting that the future of design will be browser-based.

The deal will make Field the wealthiest recipient of the Thiel Fellowship, given his $2B+ stake in Figma.

This isn’t Adobe’s first acquisition

When finalized, Figma will mark the company’s third $1B+ acquisition since 2020. Critics argue this consolidation could lead to less innovation as Adobe absorbs competitors into its creative suite.

  • In Figma’s case, Adobe CPO Scott Belsky says the company plans to give Field and team “complete autonomy.”

But Adobe still has competition. Canva, a popular graphic design tool, recently announced its own suite of tools that could eventually rival Adobe’s Creative Cloud.

That is, if Adobe doesn’t acquire them first.

Topics: Design

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