Spanish startup Penpot raises $8M after Adobe acquired rival Figma for $20B

Photo Credit: Penpot

Adobe’s announcement in mid-September of its intention to acquire Figma for $20B shocked the design industry, not all of them positive. 13 days have passed since Adobe revealed its decision and now Penpot, an open-source substitute, has experienced a surge in activity during that time.

The Spanish startup, which is pioneering design collaboration through an open source platform that simultaneously includes designers and developers, reports that it has raised $8M in a round led by Decibel out of the U.S. Other investors included Athos and, more importantly, a number of people well-known for their work in the developer and creative ecosystems.

Eric Wittman, former COO of Figma (and current president of VSCO), Grace Francisco, Cisco’s VP of developer relations strategy, and Dave Crossland, Google’s “Fonts leader,” are among them. Athos is a returning investor, having previously invested in a $2.6M round in Kaleidos, Penpot’s parent company, which has largely operated as a bootstrapped operation since 2011 and produces another open source tool, the project management platform Taiga, which is used by over a million people.

Penpot’s growth

Penpot, which debuted in 2021, has received tens of thousands of downloads and 15,000 “stars” on GitHub. Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, Tencent, ByteDance, and Mozilla are among the 10,000 active users.

Adobe stated that the combination will “make collaborative creativity easier and frictionless, empowering millions of users to be more creative and productive,” as well as “accelerate Figma’s innovation roadmap and provide access to an even broader universe of customers.”

If the acquisition goes through as planned in 2023, Figma co-founder and CEO Dylan Field will continue to lead the company, Adobe said in a statement.

“Penpot is seeing unprecedented growth because designers and developers hate working within the silos and rigidity of traditional enterprise software,” said Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz, CEO and co-founder of Penpot. “Penpot gives them what they want: freedom, flexibility, and deep collaboration across domains. As an open-source company, we also want to ensure there is always a free alternative for everyone. This new funding will help us continue to showcase the power of open standards and interoperability by default.”

Decibel partner Sudip Chakrabarti says, “Open source is no longer an either/or but a yes/and. You can have delightful UX and full control over your software. You can have a robust platform with completely open standards that make it easier to collaborate with other stakeholders,” said Chakrabarti. “Penpot has been committed to that vision from the very beginning and is showing the industry how it’s done. We’re thrilled to support them and help them put their foot on the gas to accelerate this movement.”

About Taiga

Kaleidos claims to have a track record of achieving both community adoption and commercial success without sacrificing either. Taiga, its other open-source project, is used by over a million people worldwide, including companies such as HP, Red Hat, and Tata. Taiga’s business model includes a generous free tier, SaaS on top of the open source project, and options for self-hosted or managed on-premise deployments.

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