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Welcome to the 2-Minute Drill -- a curated selection of the week's hottest stories from the world of tech, all in 2 minutes.

As always, shoot me a note to learn more or if you just want to say 👋.


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On my whistle...

Figma Fires Up Silicon Valley with $20B Sale to Adobe
The big news out of Silicon Valley this week was the $20 billion acquisition of collaborative design platform Figma for $20 billion (with a “B”) by Adobe. The 2012-founded startup had previously raised $330 million in venture funding, most recently at a $10 billion valuation.

We last covered Figma back in 2020 when the company raised capital at a $2 billion valuation. This exit is notable for a number of reasons. First, it is perhaps the largest acquisition of a private software startup in history, topping WhatsApp’s $19 billion price tag that Facebook paid.

Secondly, it exited at roughly 50 times annualized recurring revenue, meaning that the legacy design software firm paid up significantly to ensure it warded off a major external competitor and was making a significant bet on the future. This multiple, in the face of a recent pullback in venture funding valuations, is particularly eye-catching.

Finally, Figma’s success is a reminder to founders everywhere that just because there are competitors in a market doesn’t mean you can’t still build a massive company. Aside from legacy players like Adobe in the creative space there were upstarts like Sketch well ahead of them. 

Congrats to the team and early investors, and such a massive exit will undoubtedly infuse more energy and excitement into the startup ecosystem, particularly in the face of a broader slowdown.

(more here)

Arpeggi Labs Nabs $5.1M for Web3 Music Collaboration
While crypto markets are in the depths of winter, builders of blockchain-based technologies remain as bullish as ever. In that spirit, this week blockchain-based music collaboration technology startup Arpeggi Labs announced a new $5.1 million seed round of funding that included artists Steve Aoiki, 3LAU and Wyclef Jean.

Arpeggi’s approach is rooted in an open source ethos and a focus on ensuring proper creator credit and attribution is baked into the technology. Fueled by TikTok and the rise in remix culture, music collaborations among creators has exploded in recent years—however accounting for proper credit and attribution have often lagged behind.

Arpeggi's goal is to automate the trust in digital collaboration so artists can be more connected than ever. The platform allows musicians to share their music for reuse with guaranteed attribution when their sound is used. This is distinct from the traditional music industry, where compliantly using someone else’s song or sound requires payment and legal clearance. With Arpeggi and its open source ethos, any sound you hear is yours to create with.

While there are a number of other web3 music startups that raised capital in recent years, most have been focused on disrupting rights management, streaming, and payout models (eg Audius and Royal). Arpeggi wants to build a full digital audio workstation within the browser where creators can sample and mix beats and then export to both web3 and traditional web2 distribution platforms.

Whether or not Arpeggi can convince producers to switch to a new system remains unknown. But if it can demonstrate a better way to open source creation and remix culture while accounting for credit and compensation, it could become a shining example of a practical application of web3 technology.

(more here)

Kojo Constructs $39M in Funding for Construction Tech
This week San Francisco-based construction tech startup Kojo announced a new $39 million in Series C funding as it looks to disrupt the materials management supply chain. This brings the 2018-founded startup--previously operating under the name Agora--to a reported 83.6 million.

Kojo's mission is to work with trade contractors to help them save time, reduce waste, and save money. The platform provides software that helps contractors get the best prices on the materials they need to complete their construction projects, which further helps eliminate costs and risks of going over budget.

The startup was initially focused on the electrical vertical, but has since expanded into eight additional sectors, including mechanical, concrete, drywall, roofing, flooring, site preparation and self-perform general contractors. 

Kojo reports that it has operated on more than 10,000 projects to-date and saved customers more than $19 million on materials and reduced up to 90% of waste on jobs. With the funding the startup plans to expand its services to further help save time and money, and potentially cross over into financial services within the sector.

(more here)


Polywork Takes on Professional Networks
We are well into the era of multi-hyphenate roles and careers, and this week New York-based professional network platform for collaborators Polywork announced a fresh $28 million in Series B funding. This brings the 2020-founded startup's total reported funding to nearly $45 million.

Polywork believes at its core that people are more than just their job titles, and that legacy companies like LinkedIn no longer encapsulate how growing numbers of people identify and connect with one another professionally. LinkedIn is great for seeing a person's past roles and educational history. But where it falls short is in understanding a user's passions or goals.

On Polywork, users start with a more flexible way to identify themselves, such as Product Designer, Founder, Irishman, Dog Dad, or Tequila Enthusiast. Then they layer on tags for experiences, ranging from UI/UX design to "Hosted an Etsy store." And finally, users can express their goals and intentions, ranging from mentoring to part-time roles.

It's far too early to see how Polywork will play out, or if it can build enough liquidity into the marketplace to ensure there are enough people looking for the same thing. But it's got some strong early user data, and it's also worth noting that the company's funding has included founders and execs from GitHub, Instacart, Stripe, Lyft, Clubhouse, Lattice, Minted and Divvy Homes

The Money Quote: "If LinkedIn is a network for full-time opportunities, we’re sort of the network for collaboration opportunities." -- Polywork Founder and CEO Peter Johnston

(more here)


Talent in Tech: Flavrs 
Foodies of the world rejoice. This week San Francisco-based startup Flavrs debuted its app and announced $7 million in Seed funding for its all in one content, shopping and tutorial app for foodies everywhere. This is the first reported round of funding for the 2020-founded startup.

Social media platforms are littered with video content dedicated to cooking. From longer tutorials on YouTube to bite-sized clips on TikTok, foodies love to salivate over new cooking content. Flavrs sets out to satiate this need, catering specifically to helping users discover via content, learn, shop, and ultimately cook.

When opening the app, users can browse from a wide selection of recipes and featured videos. Recipes are accompanied by instructional videos, and can be bookmarked for later or enable purchasing the needed ingredients and have them delivered to your home.

While taking on content giants like TikTok and YouTube is tough, Flavrs and its backers are banking on the vertically integrated discovery-to-kitchen counter offering to provide a more tailored solution. 

The Money Quote: “Flavrs is not for the average person who kind of cares about food. It is for the crazy people who live to eat.” -- Alejandro Oropeza, co-founder and CEO

Athletes + Entertainers involved include: celebrity chefs Eric Ripert and Tom Colicchio

(more here)

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Disclaimer: The content in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and should NOT be taken as legal, business, tax, or investment advice. It also does NOT constitute an offer or solicitation to purchase any investment or a recommendation to buy or sell a security.

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