Meet the 30-year-old about to sell his company to Adobe for $20 billion

Almost overnight, this 30-year-old has become the newest tech giant – and is on the cusp of becoming one of the world’s youngest billionaires.

Dylan Field, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Figma, is on the cusp of epic gains after Adobe ADBE,
-3.12%
announce He plans to acquire his company for $20 billion this week. Field will remain with Figma (which makes collaborative design tools), and is said to have a large stake in his company. Forbes estimated at 10%Which means Field could be looking to pay $2 billion from the deal. (Field declined to provide details of his ownership stake with MarketWatch.)

Regarded as a cocky competitor to Adobe, Figma describes itself as a “design platform for teams that make products together.” Its distinguishing factor is that it is cloud-based, which has made its products particularly valuable for designers and other workers who are physically separated from one another during the pandemic – or for those who continue to collaborate in today’s mixed work environment.

And Adobe clearly saw value in the Figma template. The acquisition is said to be the largest in Adobe’s history, though Some Wall Street analysts questioned Both paid a lot. (What’s more, Adobe shares plunge for their worst week since 2002 In light of the news.) But Adobe CEO Shantanu Narain advised investors that the deal “will significantly expand our reach and market opportunities.”

Either way, it’s a huge leap for Field, who started Figma with Evan Wallace, a one-time fellow at Brown University, in 2012. He also The Wall Street Journal story Note that Field had been living in a stout apartment in San Francisco just four years earlier, buying dollar cups of coffee on the way to work.

“I had a very small sip of champagne last night.”


– Dylan Field, co-founder and CEO of Figma

On Friday, MarketWatch met with Field, who grew up in Northern California, to learn more about the Adobe deal — and how it will change his life. Here is some of what he said (some comments edited for brevity and clarity):

On how Field’s life could change with revenue from Adobe: While Field will not discuss the specifics of what he will gain from the deal, he does not deny that he would benefit greatly. He says he doesn’t think much of what is beyond his company and its next chapter. “Right now, I’m just a subscriber to Figma and trying to think of how to make Figma successful, especially in this new context,” he says. In other words, he has not yet planned to colonize Mars with its riches to me Elon Musk.

But Field admits he is still very upset by the events of the past week. “It’s pretty cool, but I’m not going to lie,” he says.

aHow to celebrate the deal: Feld is known to love wine, but says he hasn’t drunk much in the past few weeks because he’s been so focused on his work and the deal. However, he says, “I had a very small sip of champagne last night” with the Figma team.

About Figma’s Value Proposition: Simply put, it’s all about being able to work together across the cloud. “We are able to make it collaborative,” Field tells tools provided by Figma. “So, if I was a designer and I was an engineer, we would no longer have to exchange files back and forth… We could make edits together. We could clone each other’s ideas. This collaboration was important to many of our clients.”

Figma’s newest product is FigJam, which Field describes as a “whiteboard solution.” Field explains that the idea behind this is “we can help people move from the thinking and brainstorming stage to the design process and all the way to production.”

On why and how to standardize the Adobe deal: Field notes that when he co-founded the company, there was a serious question as to whether the world had enough designers to make Figma a viable entity. “We weren’t sure there was a big enough market here,” he says. But with the world becoming ever more digital – and thus, increasingly making use of digital design tools – the design community has thrived, and the need for good design is everywhere. “Every company should take care of design,” he says.

Adobe’s mission is to create for everyone, and Figma’s mission is to make design accessible to everyone. These are two sides of the same coin in some ways.”


– Dylan Field, co-founder and CEO of Figma

Hence, Adobe’s desire to leverage what Figma offers its customers as a leading digital design platform, Field explains. And not only take advantage of it, but also help Figma expand its platform by adding various tools and capabilities – not only for the designer audience, but also for the wider creative audience. “That got us really excited, because it speeds up the effect we really wanted, but it also measures the effect,” says Field.

On Figma’s photo as “Adobe killer”: Yes, Figma is described as such. and the field Even tweeting once“Our goal is to be Figma, not Adobe.” Field says he still sticks to the observation that the two companies are distinct in some ways, though he also notes that they ultimately share similar goals: “Adobe’s mission is to create for everyone. Figma’s mission has been to make design accessible to everyone. Those are two sides of the coin. One in some ways.” He adds that the two companies are aligned “around craft and community” and “there is so much we can do together.”

On Field’s views on education: Much has been said about the fact that Field did not graduate from college – he attended Brown University, but dropped out in his freshman year to start his entrepreneurial career (he was accepted into a fellowship program run by financier Peter Thiel). Field says he’s not anti-college In itself. “I care a lot about learning, and[going]to university can be a great way to do it in an organized way.” But he also says there are other ways to gain knowledge, pointing to readily available online courses. As a result, Field finds it hard to understand that a lot of companies still require college degrees from applicants. “I think they’re missing out on a lot of great talent,” he says.