Kaleidos, the startup behind open-source design software Penpot, raises $8M in funding two weeks after Adobe acquired rival Figma for $20 billion
On September 15, Adobe agreed to buy online design startup Figma for $20 billion. Fast forward two weeks ago later, investors and venture capital firms are now pouring millions into open-source challenger Penpot, a collaborative design and prototyping platform developed by Kaleidos. Born in the browser, the San Francisco-based Figma is a design platform that helps the entire product team create, test, and ship better designs, faster.
Today, Kaleidos announced it has raised $8 million to build more features for designers and developers and nurture its growing community and continue the development of Penpot’s collaborative design software. The startup also added that sign-ups for its software jumped 5,600% in a single day after Adobe agreed to buy Figma.
The round was led by Decibel, with participation from existing investor Athos Capital and a number of angels participating, including VSCO president and former Figma COO Eric Wittman, Cisco’s VP of Developer Relations Strategy and Experience Grace Francisco, and Google Fonts leader Dave Crossland.
Founded in 2011 by CEO Pablo Ruiz Muzquiz and Enrique Posner, the Madrid, Spain-based Kaleidos is focused on the development and optimization of their two open-source products meant for digital cross-functional teams: Penpot, the first open-source design, and prototyping platform and Taiga, the project management tool for agile teams.
“Penpot is seeing unprecedented growth because designers and developers hate working within the silos and rigidity of traditional enterprise software,” Ruiz-Múzquiz said in a statement. Although Ruiz-Múzquiz didn’t mention Adobe in that quote, he has shown a willingness to tarnish the tech giant’s reputation more specifically.
“Adobe is a toxic brand for designers, and now Figma is tainted,” Ruiz-Múzquiz wrote in an email to CNBC. He cited a Figma document full of images reflecting negative sentiment on the deal and said it would have been easier if the buyer had been a different company, such as Microsoft
Penpot has grown quickly after its launch last year to tens of thousands of downloads and over 15,000 stars on GitHub. Its creative freedom for designers, with a unique integration into the agile development ecosystem, makes Penpot an ideal collaborative tool that welcomes developers into the design process. Its on-premise option also made it attractive for large deployments. More than 10,000 companies use Penpot, including Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, Tencent, Bytedance, and Mozilla.
Just this past weekend, Penpot upgraded the infrastructure for its hosted web app to accommodate the increased level of activity. The company said that on-premises deployments grew 400% and the number of stars on the GitHub repository holding Penpot’s open-source code also increased.
In the wake of Adobe’s recent acquisition of Figma, that growth found exponential lift: designers flocked to Penpot, with more traffic in the first few hours of the news than in the entire past two months. Sign-ups skyrocketed 5,600 percent in a single day, and continue to grow. On-premise deployments grew 400 percent.
“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.”
Increasingly, teams need collaborative, interoperable software in order to build freely. Software silos, walled gardens, and vendor lock-in have become blockers to progress. Penpot’s mission is to demonstrate that open-source software can be the solution: functional, a joy to use, entirely within your control, easy to interoperate with collaborators, and still offering convenient SaaS options or the robustness, security, and control of on-premises solutions.