The design world is in a state of full-fledged competition. Never in history have designers and their respective teams had so many options from which to choose. As both demand and supply grow, design players are working to build out the most comprehensive experience possible for their users.
Adobe, the incumbent in the space, is today launching the Adobe Creative Cloud Plugin Accelerator. Essentially, individuals and teams interested in taking some time to build out plugins for Adobe XD can get themselves three months at Adobe’s HQ, access to Adobe’s product, design and engineering team, as well as a $20K per person stipend to offset expenses.
To be clear, Adobe is not taking equity in these projects and participants will leave Adobe HQ with 100 percent ownership over their built IP.
The Adobe Creative Cloud Plugin Accelerator is supported by Adobe’s Fund for Design, a $10 million venture fund launched in May 2018. Both the fund and the accelerator are meant to open up Adobe, which has historically been a more closed ecosystem.
“For a company like Adobe, we’re flexing a new muscle by working with outside parties, in house, at Adobe Headquarters,” said design principal at Adobe Khoi Vinh. “It’s a real change of thinking from the Adobe of five or 10 years ago, but we’re embracing the community’s energy here.”
It was less than a year ago that Adobe opened up Adobe XD to integrate with other tools, such as UserTesting and Airtable, among others.
Vinh says that, for now, Adobe isn’t sure exactly how many teams or individuals it will be accepted into the accelerator. As it’s the first time the company has done something like this, it’s not adhering to a specific number of participants or a rigid curriculum. Vinh says that some teams might have a clear vision of what they’re building and simply seek one-to-one advice from the engineering or product teams, whereas others might want a more collaborative environment to brainstorm and build out the idea itself.
One thing that is clear, however, is that Adobe is looking for hyper-early-stage projects.
“What ended up happening with the Fund for Design is that the grants and investments made a lot of sense for people who were founders and already had companies,” said Vinh. “The Plugin Accelerator is meant to target people who are even earlier-stage than a founder and maybe not ready to start their own company.”
The hope is that teams of one to three will have the chance to build great plug-ins for Adobe XD, making the platform more attractive to clients as Figma and InVision make a run for those same users.
Adobe isn’t the first design tool firm to launch a venture fund. InVision launched the $5 million Design Forward Fund in late 2017.
Folks interested in the Creative Cloud Plugin Accelerator can apply here.