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Figma raises $50 million Series D led by Andreessen Horowitz

Figma, the design platform that lets folks work collaboratively and in the cloud, has today announced the close of a $50 million Series D financing. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with partner Peter Levine and cofounding partner Marc Andreessen managing the deal for the firm. New angel investors, including Henry Ellenbogen from Durable Capital, also participated in the round alongside existing investors Index, Greylock, KPCB, Sequoia and Founders Fund.

Forbes reports that the latest funding round values Figma at $2 billion.

Dylan Field, Figma founder and CEO, told TechCrunch that discussions between a16z and Figma actually began towards the end of the fundraising cycle for the company’s Series C, which closed in February of 2019.

“It felt a bit like a shotgun wedding,” said Field, explaining that both parties instead opted to get to know each other better. They’ve been building their relationship over the past year, leading to today’s Series D close. Field also added that he has not met other investors in this round in person, and the vast majority of the deal was done over Zoom.

“When you think about the future of Silicon Valley, there is an interesting question around capital infrastructure being here and people not being able to access that if they’re not here, too,” said Field. “I got to see firsthand how a deal done online can work and I think more and more investors aren’t going to worry about whether you’re in Silicon Valley or not.”

Figma launched in 2015 after nearly six years of development in stealth. The premise was to create a collaborative, cloud-based design tool that would be the Google Docs of design.

Since, Figma has built out the platform to expand access and usability for individual designers, small firms and giant enterprise companies alike. For example, the company launched plug-ins in 2019, allowing developers to build in their own tools to the app, such as a plug-in for designers to automatically rename and organize their layers as they work (Rename.it) and one that gives users the ability to add placeholder text that they can automatically find and replace later (Content Buddy).

The company also launched an educational platform called Community, which gives designers the ability to share their work and let other users ‘remix’ that design, or simply check out how it was built, layer by layer.

A spokesperson told TechCrunch that this deal was “opportunistic,” and that the company was in a strong cash position pre-financing. The new funding expands Figma’s runway during these uncertain times, with coronavirus halting a lot of enterprise purchasing and ultimately slowing growth of some rising enterprise players.

Field explained that Figma’s data is counter to the expected narrative around enterprise purchasing because Figma is specifically built to let teams collaborate in the cloud.

“We’re actually seeing a lot of acceleration for bigger deals on the sales side,” said Field. “Figma is a tool that can help right now.”

The company says that one interesting change they’ve seen in the COVID era is a significant jump in user engagement from teams to collaborate more in Figma. The firm has also seen an uptick in whiteboarding, note taking, slide deck creation and diagramming, as companies start using Figma as a collaborative tool across an entire organization rather than just within a team of designers.

This latest deal brings Figma’s total funding to $132.9 million. Field added that, though the company is not yet profitable, this latest financing gives the company three to four years of runway, even with aggressive scaling and hiring efforts moving forward.

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Marc Andreessen’s call to arms: build something meaningful

It’s scary, living with a killer virus that has completely upended our lives for who knows how long. It’s very easy to feel helpless in the face of it all, to throw up one’s hands.

Don’t do this, says Marc Andreessen in thoughtful new essay published today to the site of his venture firm, Andreessen Horowitz. In it, he advocates for building something — anything — that moves society forward from here. To “reboot the American dream.” he writes, we need to “demand more of our political leaders, of our CEOs, our entrepreneurs, our investors. We need to demand more of our culture, of our society. And we need to demand more from one another. We’re all necessary, and we can all contribute, to building.”

Andreessen notes that much of the technology has already been built. He highlights housing, education, manufacturing and transportation, observing that many of the tools needed to massively accelerate each into a bright new future already exist, but that it’s easier to stick with the systems that once served us well than muster the collective will to uproot and replace them. He attributes the problem to a lack of “desire. We need to want these things. The problem is inertia. We need to want these things more than we want to prevent these things. The problem is regulatory capture. We need to want new companies to build these things, even if incumbents don’t like it, even if only to force the incumbents to build these things. And the problem is will. We need to build these things.”

He’s right, of course, but we’d love something more prescriptive from Andreessen, who has largely retreated from public view in the last couple of years and whose 20,000-foot view is inspiring yet also, we hope, only a starting point.

What society would seem to need right now is not top-down advice but a bottoms-up approach. The way to solve problems is by breaking down big challenges into little bits. Someone like Andreessen could really lead here, by talking more explicitly about how current technologies can and should be used to achieve goals we need to meet right now, including to: get money into the hands of people who need it faster, use business intelligence to gather information from ER doctors in how they are managing Covid-19 patients, and help the country’s governors with supply chain management.

Andreessen argues that America, expressly, needs a strenuous push. That reality can’t be clearer than right now, he writes, noting that, “We don’t have enough coronavirus tests, or test materials — including, amazingly, cotton swabs and common reagents. We don’t have enough ventilators, negative pressure rooms, and ICU beds. And we don’t have enough surgical masks, eye shields, and medical gowns — as I write this, New York City has put out a desperate call for rain ponchos to be used as medical gowns. Rain ponchos! In 2020! In America!”

It’s an appalling state of affairs, one driven largely by our political system, Andreessen observes and — unsaid by Andreessen — the fact that the U.S. has the highest income inequality of all the G7 nations, with more wealth accruing to a relative minuscule number of people every year, an ever-shrinking middle class, and ballooning poverty.

But one thing at at time.

What we really need right now is the Covid-19 equivalent of the Manhattan Project, and we need Silicon Valley to lead it.

If Andreessen wants to help on this front, we’re all for it. We’re listening.

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