Canva acquires Pixabay and Pexels

Canva acquires Pixabay and Pexels

I met up with Melanie Perkins at the VIVATECH conference in Paris this weekend. She's the co-founder and CEO of Canva, a company aiming to democratize design and marketing materials. They have acquired Pexels and Pixabay. 

I first saw her on stage. On her left was the founder of Revolut, a digital bank, and on her right were two investors aiming to grow and incubate startups in Europe. They were being interviewed by Mike Butcher, editor at TechCrunch. The question came up whether the startups on stage should be acquired and whether that would be her eventual exit. She made it clear that they're only getting started, and that if everything goes according to plan, selling is not the goal. 

While on stage she also released the news about the acquisitions they recently made, although I received the press release a day before. She quickly spoke about how it will even further democratize design. Canva is a site that gives you the ability to import photos (your images, stock photos or free images found on Pexels and Pixabay), with the ability to add text and design elements to create posters, social media posts or flyers. It's a site I frequently visit. 

After her interview, I met her, one of her colleagues, Liz, and the team from Pexels and the founder of Pixabay. One of the questions I had about why she contacted Fstoppers about this, and what the advantage was for photographers. She answered by saying it's a way for us as photographers to use their services, and for photographers who are on Pexels or Pixabay to grow their following. 

This integration between all three of these platforms make it possible for a small business to use a stock library called Unlimited Photos, which is a Netflix-style subscription for as many photos as you would like. 

I am not sure how the acquisition will benefit photographers. I remember an article we had about a year ago where we stated not to upload to the free image sites like Unsplash. But, if you're looking for a way to create marketing materials and you don't have the budget to hire a designer, Canva is something you should look into. 

What I can say is that it was great to see Melanie's passion on stage, and how her approach and views were quite different from the usual run-of-the-mill methods of building a startup.

To anyone who's creating something, or who's developing a new service or product: go make something incredible. 

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3 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

It doesn't sound like you got a very good answer as to just how photographers will benefit.

Seems akin to doing work for free...with the alluded compensation being "exposure" which will magically bring you "paid" work.

Inevitably we will hear from random photographers/designers etc extolling the virtues of the new company's offerings saying how they got paid work as a result on participating.

We have got to do better....

user-206807's picture

All these companies "aiming to democratize design and marketing materials" devaluate our work…

Mike Kelley's picture

"democratize design" = corporate lingo for "drive prices down for our corporate overlords and make it even harder to make a living in the field"