Figma’s Record-Breaking Sale to Adobe Delivers Billions to Top VCs

Figma’s Record-Breaking Sale to Adobe Delivers Billions to Top VCs

(Bloomberg) -- Danny Rimer first invested in Figma in 2012, shortly after the company was established and began developing software tools for designers. Rimer, a partner at the venture capital firm Index Ventures, invited Figma’s co-founder and chief executive officer, Dylan Field, to dinner and ordered a bottle of wine to celebrate the deal. It was then that the young entrepreneur hesitated. “Danny, I’m 19,” Field said. Rimer went ahead, he recalled, and ordered the Pinot anyway.

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On Thursday, Adobe Inc. said it will buy Figma in a deal valued at about $20 billion — the largest exit of a privately held, VC-backed startup in at least 20 years, according to PitchBook data. Field, 30, is now of legal drinking age in the US, and both he and Rimer stand to make a lot of money from the sale.

Index is the biggest outside shareholder in Figma. It holds more than 12%, said a person familiar with the business who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Rimer and Figma declined to comment on the size of Index’s stake. The firm’s first check and its subsequent investments are now worth about $2.6 billion.

Field had made an early impression on Rimer as an intern at Flipboard, which makes a news aggregation app. Rimer was on the board and watched a young Field give a polished presentation. Field briefly attended college, but dropped out to join a fellowship program funded by Peter Thiel and soon went to work on Figma. At the outset, Field told Rimer he would spend up to three years developing Figma’s design tools before releasing them to the public. “It wasn’t an incremental, small thing,” Rimer said.

Figma amassed a roster of some of the top VC firms as its backers. Greylock Partners got in as the lead investor of a $14 million funding round in 2015, and Kleiner Perkins led a $25 million round in 2018; its stake is nearly 11%, said people familiar with the business. The early backers each ended up with at least $2 billion, said another person, who also asked not to be identified discussing private details.

Sequoia Capital invested in 2019, valuing Figma at $440 million. (The Sequoia partner who did the deal, Andrew Reed, tweeted a photo of Field signing the original paperwork with some of the terms clearly legible.) Sequoia put in $97 million in total and snatched a 6% stake in Figma, said a person familiar with the details. Sequoia’s stake is now worth $1.3 billion, and the single investment had a return exceeding the total value of the US growth fund it came from, the person said.

Another storied firm, Andreessen Horowitz, invested in Figma in 2020 and its stake is now worth about $500 million, according to a person familiar with the situation.

As for Rimer, he’s been thinking a lot about the dinner in 2012. To mark Thursday’s news, Rimer said he plans to send Field a case of wine.

(Corrects detail about VC-backed exits in the second paragraph. An earlier version corrected the size of Sequoia's stake.)

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