Peter Thiel’s 20-under-20 program is already bearing fruit as news breaks that one of its young fellows, 21-year-old Dylan Field, has raised $3.8 million to boost his startup, Figma. But the inquisitive product manager wanting to know more about Figma will have to remain in the dark for now, as young Dylan is declining to say anything about it in interviews just yet.
Youthful talent gets a boost
Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel opened his 20-under-20 program in 2011, awarding 20 of the most talented young entrepreneurs with $100,000 each to develop new tech ideas. Dylan gained his award last year, and a clue for curious product managers about his idea comes from the Thiel Fellowship website, which states:
“Dylan is building a browser based photo editing tool with his friend Evan Wallace.”
Young entrepreneurs with technical verve are doing rather well right now. Snapchat’s founders, for example, all of them under 25, managed to raise an additional $60 million in Series B last week, so Silicon Valley does appear to be in a deep business romance with the most talented youngsters for the time being.
For such a youthful entrepreneur, Dylan has accrued enough experience to induce a twinge of envy in even the most seasoned product manager, having worked at LinkedIn, Microsoft Research, Flipboard, O’Reilly Media and Indinero. To concentrate on his new brainchild, he’s stopped out of his junior year at Brown University, where he was studying computer science and math.
Dylan and Goliath
Despite Dylan’s reticence to discuss his new company publicly just yet, there’s a clue as to what Figma is all about from an interview he gave for the Today show in August last year. He wants to use technology to help people release their “inner artist” by developing an in-browser photo-editor.
He said, “So the idea is to basically let people express themselves creatively online. So I think everyone has this inner artist, and we suppress that artist because our taste is so high but our skill level is a little lower. But I think the delta between that can be changed, fixed with technology. What we’re doing immediately is an in-browser photo editor.”
He’s got some hefty competition to reckon with if that’s what Figma is aiming for, like the Google+ Goliath with its new photo-editor, but $3.8 million will surely help.