"Abstract, a versioning platform that helps designers work like developers, raises $30M"
What are they doing with all of that money? They've been around for 3-4 years and have raised $55M according to Crunchbase
Sketch just raised their first round of $20M (obviously they are backed by Bohemian), but still Abstract is just a piece of what they do. I get that they are thinking about branching out to other tools, but still that seems like a ton of money.
Here's my wild guess: they raised that money so they can do more ambitious things other than just version control, and not worry every few months about meeting payroll. I'm biased because I'm a participant in the design tooling ecosystem, and I think there is tons more to be done to improve the day-to-day life of designers before we'll run out of low hanging fruits. From the announcement post it seems Abstract intends to be a sort of a clearing center for all your design assets - for example someone can design a profile card in Sketch and someone else can assemble it inside a Profile page designed in XD.
However it is going to be challenging for them to remain completely out of creating their own design tool - it is a recurring itch that bothers people who've tried building even the humblest design-related tool, because you often have to work around limitations and quirks and wouldn't be able to help dream of a bluer sky.
They also might expand their enterprise sales team - expanding security and access controls was hinted at in the TechCrunch article - and that can only mean an enterprise play.
All I can say is, what a time to be around to witness the emergence of a new industry category! :)
I love the Enterprise bit. I've worked in a Medium-Large Enterprise before and the best they've gotten at versioning design files is using Dropbox. Design was at its nascent stages inside the org itself but it was important to establish the processes right away so that as the team gets bigger, they are better equipped at handling changes and don't have to point fingers.
Also, given that we were handling NDA'd projects across multiple enterprise clients, having to pay for multiple services (Dropbox/Box/Google Drive etc) depending on the project was getting increasingly difficult. With Abstract and Plant, it was easier for the design team to track and update changes in a single place as they moved teams.
They've mentioned in the article that they're looking at introducing light-weight editing in the future. With a product so heavily reliant on Sketch, I'd love to see them work closely with other tools and incorporate their features.
Honestly at this point it’d be a little ridiculous for every design tools company to make a design editor. Invision got completely owned by their marketing around Studio and haven’t recovered to this day due to an overhyped launch. I honestly truly believe most designers are resistant to one company doing it all.
The asset management piece is a more interesting play.
No offense for Abstract but if you use Figma (with multi-player mode) and real time editing you will find that the future of design is in this program and definitely not with Abstract and Sketch.
My guess here is they are aiming at more cloud integration and versioning control not just over design. Think they are gonna start aiming to more corporate companies.
This could be interesting. Almost a storage competitor to Drive and Dropbox.
Tried using Abstract and felt it added complexity to the process and was simply annoying to try to implement and use in the real world. Can't believe they raised $30M.
I think I understand your sentiment, but I wouldn't call it complexity. It's more process oriented for sure. If you're working solo, it's probably overkill if you want to just get work done.
But for my team, it has been extremely helpful to track progress and allow non-design folk into the process.
It's absolutely overkill for a solo-designer.
Well I cautioned "probably" because I use it myself for personal projects. Speaking in absolutes makes some large assumptions my friend :)
it's interesting that you say 'absolutely'... I used it for about a year as a solo designer, and not once felt it was overkill. I Absolutely love what it did to my workflow, and have since then added my entire product team on to abstract.
I wouldn't say absolutely. Version control is something design has been needing for a long time. It has been a fantastic add to my process. The way they integrate libraries is really awesome too.
I already posted a long comment about this and then deleted it. I was fully against it. That was yesterday. Today I feel a bit different. It's still about the added complexity to the process of design and I don't like that.
But at the end of the day, anything that gets you to ship better and easier, you will use it.
Some of us like to work solo and do everything by ourselves, others work in small team or big teams - no matter - the tools are the tools and let them not define us as we work as designers and thinkers - also about the big money - I think they raised that much money not because of what Abstract is now - but because what Abstract can be in 1-2-3 years from now. They might have big plans and integrating everything is a good way to attract big VC money - they might add a design tool, better commenting and lots other features that can turn Abstract in a one-tool-fits-all kind of thing - You will not need Sketch + Slack + Zeplin + a prototyping tool to get stuff done - you will use just Abstract and that's it.
If this will be the case, they can become a unicorn - raising at least 200 mil for the next round of funding.
But for now, Abstract is a big pricey for what they offer and I would not use it - not even with a team of 10+
So they are launching their own design tool? :-)