Adobe announced they were buying Figma two weeks ago, and most of the reactions I’ve seen about it since then were pretty negative.
Now it sounds like designers (and developers) are turning to an open source Figma competitor called Penpot.
Even before the Adobe-Figma news hit, Penpot had been making a name for itself. Launched a year ago, the startup has seen tens of thousands of downloads and 15,000 “stars” on GitHub. The 10,000 companies among its active users include Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, Tencent, ByteDance and Mozilla.
Before September 15, Penpot’s CEO and co-founder Pablo Ruiz-Múzquiz said that sign-ups were growing at around 40% per month: after Adobe’s news, that figure ballooned to 5,600%, and has stayed consistent since then. On-premise deployments have also grown 400%.
I’m happy about this part. There definitely needs to be competition in apps/services like these.
But TechCrunch also reported:
The company, based out of Madrid, has picked up $8 million in a round led by Decibel out of the U.S., with participation also from Athos and, significantly, several individuals notable for their roles in creative and developer ecosystems.
I’m not so happy about this part.
I like to see smaller organizations get the money they need to succeed, but at what cost? Why is it so common for businesses to leave the important part (revenue) to the very end and then accept financing that is guaranteed to push them to make decisions they wouldn’t have otherwise? Like, you know, selling to a bigger company for a billion dollar exit for example.
More about this on Mastodon (including responses from the Penpot CEO).