Anima's latest update draws on the popularity of design and no-code tools

Jordan Crook
·3 min read

Anima, the company that turns design prototypes into code, has today announced the launch of Anima 4.0, which will allow designers to create prototypes in Figma that are translated into components in React with the click of a button.

The company was founded by Or Arbel (cofounder of Yo!), Avishay Cohen (who led R&D at Mobli) and Michal Cohen. It launched three years ago with a platform that allowed designers in Figma, Sketch and Adobe XD to translate their designs into HTML code. With today's launch, those designs can be turned into React components, giving developers the ability to tweak and polish individual components in a coding language that they're already using.

Enterprise design tools have absolutely blown up over the past several years. As opposed to a time where designers really only had the option to work in Photoshop and developers then had to spend time turning those static images into code, it's fair to call the design landscape of 2020 crowded.

Platforms like Sketch, InVision, and Figma have aimed to close the gap between designers and developers, and in the lattermost case, designers and other designers, as well. Adobe has also answered the call of growing competition with the launch of Adobe XD.

Anima 4.0 represents yet another shift. The company is riding the wave of enterprise design tool growth, while simultaneously positioning itself in the realm of no-code, another high-growth vertical.

Arbel told TechCrunch that, around the time that Yo was shuttering, he knew that his next venture would be a product that charges money from day one. He also said that he and his cofounders had been frustrated for a long time by the disconnect between designers and developers.

Thus, Anima was born. It costs $40/month to use Anima, or approximately $370 annually. Arbel confirmed to TechCrunch that pricing wouldn't change with the launch of Anima 4.0 but that it may in the future. The reason for that is that Anima originally took developers out of the picture, allowing designers to build out their designs and translate it automatically into running HTML code.

With this launch, Anima is looking to bring developers back into the fold, speaking to them in React (their native tongue, if you will). That opens the door to charging more per seat or introducing new revenue streams.

Arbel said that Anima was profitable before it ever received its first funding, which came in the form of a $120K check from Y Combinator in the summer of 2018. This year, the company raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Hetz Ventures, Zohar Gilon, and Ed Lando.

Today, Anima is used by 300,000 designers, developers and product managers from companies like Google, Amazon, Starbucks, and Walmart, among others. Each week, the Anima community converts more than 4,000 designs into code.

The Anima team has grown from four at the onset of the pandemic to 17 now, with a 70/30 split between men and women.

"The greatest challenge is making developer-friendly code," said Arbel. "Developers are not an easy audience -- I know because I'm a developer myself. We've been hearing about code generation and. the like since the beginning of the internet, and endless amounts of products have tried and none of them have managed to produce developer-friendly code. They product huge amounts of code that is bloated and hard to understand. Now, there is finally technology can actually make that happen."

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article stated that Anima 4.0 only works with Figma, which is incorrect. It has been updated for accuracy.