News that creative software giant Adobe will buy upstart design software unicorn Figma for $20 billion was the single largest event in startup land this week, a surprise upset over the Ethereum Merge coming to fruition. The transaction was notable not only for its scale — 11-figure deals create their own gravity — but also for the questions it raised.
With Figma heading into Adobe’s arms, we are curious which startups will compete for the indie design crown — and which companies might be circling to snap them up in the near future.
Given the scale of the market for software products today, and the increasingly global venture capital industry, there are multiple upstart competitors in every technology niche. Design is no exception. Indeed, these groupings — what we call “startup clusters” here at TechCrunch — are fascinating examples of aggregated venture sentiment and entrepreneurial activity.
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There are plenty of examples of startup clusters that have seen major-company M&A. The OKR software startup knot, to pick an example, has well-funded companies in it like WorkBoard, Gtmhub and Perdoo. It once included Ally.io, but Microsoft bought that particular concern. TechCrunch would not be shocked if a rival independent player from the remaining startups in the group also found a new home with a major platform company.
So which Figma competitors are still operating solo, and who might buy them? Let’s take a peek.