Benchmark x Sketch

Trying to reverse engineer why Sketch is a great venture bet in 2019

Sar Haribhakti
The Startup
Published in
10 min readApr 22, 2019

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I am going to try to reverse engineer why Benchmark invested twenty million dollars in the European company Sketch that was founded in 2010 and share why I think it is a very counterintuitive bet. This was a very interesting investment given the current state of design tools landscape with both late stage, well capitalized, popular startups and a savvy incumbent led by one of most seasoned and well known operators and one of the most effective turnaround public company CEOs.

Figma’s $40 million in Series C funding led by Sequoia was announced earlier this year. Figma has captured a vast majority of tech twitter’s mindshare. Almost every designer I know uses it. Everyone online in my bubble raves about it. Companies like Square, Twitter and Uber use Figma. Top tier investors like Greylock, Index Ventures and KPCB have led its prior financing rounds. KPCB’s Mamoon Hamid who led the Figma investment has a stellar track record (Slack, Box, Intercom, Rippling, Front) in enterprise SaaS tools.

Here’s Index’s Danny Rimir on why he led the investment in Figma in 2015 :

“The visionary team at Figma has not only recognized that design (and designers) are going to be paramount to the future of the creative economy, but they have also realized that these designers need to work in a completely different way than what they’ve done in the past. Whether it’s Adobe or Sketch, Figma is challenging and rethinking today’s default design solutions. Figma has developed a design platform that enables designers to build and share their work collaboratively. No longer is design siloed — no longer are designs an individual endeavor. With Figma, designers and collaborators can share and iterate in a synchronized manner……Figma is professional-grade software built specifically to create interface design projects directly in a web browser. It offers the speed and stability of powerful legacy design programs like Adobe, but with the versatility and collaborative flexibility of online apps like Google Docs. With Figma, design becomes shareable across teams no matter where the members are located.”

Here’s Greylock’s John Lilly who led the Figma investment on the problems in design tools landscape and potential…

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