Australian online design and publishing platform Canva has acquired free stock image providers Pexels and Pixabay, giving users creating designs with the platform additional one million images, the company said in a statement.
Canva, which became a unicorn in February 2018 when it raised a $40-million round, also announced the launch of Photos Unlimited, a subscription model for affordable paid stock photography. The model is similar to the Netflix-style of subscription.
Canva CEO and co-founder Melanie Perkins did not disclose financial details of the acquisition but she said acquiring Pexels and Pixabay will help users of the platform discover “a whole new world of amazing, fresh content”.
“With over one million images and downloaded over 500 million times on their platforms combined, Pexels and Pixabay have proven that there is a huge demand for free, quality content from small businesses, social media markets, and others, not just from designers and companies with big budgets,” she added.
Content from Pexels and Pixabay would be discoverable in Canva, and completely free under a Creative Commons CCO licence. Both the founders of Pexels and Pixabay said they were inspired by their collective vision to democratize content, and the potential of Canva’s strong global presence.
In April last year, Canva acquired Sydney-based interactive presentation tool Zeetings for an undisclosed amount. Zeetings, launched in 2015, provides smart presentation tools that add interactivity and analytics to presentations.
These tools include polls, surveys, and group chats to enable participants in meetings, training sessions, workshops and events to actively participate from their own smartphone, tablet or computer.
Launched in 2013, Canva has over 15 million monthly active users who have collectively created over 1 billion designs.
The idea for Canva came about in 2007 when Perkins, while studying at the University of Western Australia, started teaching other students how to use InDesign and Photoshop.
Seeing people struggle to learn and use these design software, Perkins and Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht came up with the idea of an online tool to create school yearbooks. They called the business Fusion Books, which is now Australia’s largest school yearbooks publisher.
From Fusion Books, Perkins and Obrecht went on to build Canva.
“Canva solves a problem which affects a lot of people. Design can be really difficult and daunting for non-designers and coupled with the pressure today where people are expected to produce professional quality designs, there is a dire need to make design a skill that is attainable and accessible to everyone,” Perkins told DEALSTREETASIA in an interaction last year.
While the US has been the largest market of Canva since day one, Southeast Asia has also become an important market for the company, with Indonesia and the Philippines among the strongest markets in the region.
Canva’s popularity in the region was further boosted when the company launched on Android, opening its products to even more people in Southeast Asia, with the strongest user growth coming from Indonesia.
Canva also has a second office in the Philippines, which was established in 2014 and continues to grow. Perkins said the teamwork between offices has been essential to Canva’s growth and market traction.