Adobe Acqui-hires Thumb Labs To Make Mobile Apps For Behance And Its New Creative Cloud

Another step for Adobe in its bid to become the go-to place in the cloud for those working in design and other creative industries: it is acquiring Thumb Labs, a bootstrapped, New York-based mobile app design agency.

Jared Verdi, one of the co-founders of Thumb Labs along with Rich Kern, tells TechCrunch that financial terms of the Thumb Labs acquisition are not being disclosed.

The news follows on from Adobe’s acquisition of another New York-based design startup, Behance, a platform for designers and others in the creative industries to share their work, which Adobe picked up in December 2012 reportedly for around $150 million. Earlier this month, Adobe put the Behance acquisition into context when it announced a massive push on its Creative Cloud strategy, with social/community features powered by Behance.

Verdi tells TechCrunch that Thumb Labs will see out existing contracts it has with other clients, but as of May 31, it will focus its efforts exclusively on making mobile apps for Behance.

behance appThat’s a position it knows well. Thumb Labs, which officially launched as a business in 2011, created the first mobile app for Behance, and as it points out in a note announcing the deal on its site, “We have been working closely with their talented team ever since.” That’s included a new version of the Behance app, and its Creative Portfolio app. There are under 10 people working for Thumb Labs right now, Verdi says, and all of them are joining Adobe, based out of New York.

bondsyThumb Labs’ other clients have included a roster of startups, such as TechStars alum Bondsy (a platform to trade goods with friends); CanDoBaby (an app to make baby books); and ReadyForZero (a debt management app).

The main part of Thumb Labs’ work will now be focused both on maintaining Behance’s existing apps, as well as developing new ones. This will include “definitely some tablet work”, including an iPad app, as well as apps for more platforms beyond Apple’s, and in general making Behance’s main site design responsive so that it’s more mobile-web friendly.

Over time, there will be more focus on other Creative Cloud initiatives, which makes sense considering how linked the rise in cloud services has been with the boom in smartphone and tablet use. “We’ll also be working with other teams at Adobe for integration into the Creative Cloud. Mobile is a big part of that,” Verdi said.

In a way, getting acquired by Adobe is a natural fit for a design house like Thumb Labs, and Verdi says that it’s coming at a key time of change for its new owner. “In the creative profession everyone uses Adobe products, and the new focus on Creative Cloud is the biggest change we’ve seen in a while,” he said. “They’ve announced a number of exciting things, and hopefully we will be a part of them, too.”