Australian Unicorn Canva Hits $2.5 Billion Valuation After Acquiring Pexels and Pixabay

The announcement comes just a few days after the design startup joined forces with Pexels and Pixabay

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After achieving the unicorn status, Australia-based Canva has no plans of slowing down. The online design and publishing platform Canva, has confirmed a new valuation of US$2.5 billion after having raised a new US$70 million round with two new VCs, General Catalyst and Bond, joining existing investors Felicis Ventures and Blackbird Capital. The announcement comes just a few days after the design startup made an additional collection of more than 1 million free stock photos, vectors and illustrations by joining forces with Pexels and Pixabay. Besides providing free stock content, Canva also announced the roll-out of Photos Unlimited, a new "Netflix-style" subscription model for more affordable paid stock photography.

Melanie Perkins, chief executive officer and co-founder at Canva said that with the rise of design literacy, people needed more options for stock content to suit their needs.

"We believe everyone should have access to great design ingredients for their visuals; this is why free content will always play a central role in Canva's vision of democratising design. Together with Pexels and Pixabay, we'll be able to help people discover a whole new world of amazing, fresh content. With over 1 million images downloaded over 500 million times on their platforms combined, both Pexels and Pixabay have proven that there is a huge demand for free quality content from small businesses, social media marketers and others — not just from designers and companies with big budgets," shared Perkins.

On top of providing free stock content, Canva has also announced the roll-out of Photos Unlimited, a world's first stock photography subscription model offering unprecedented "all you can consume" access to a library of an additional tens of millions of premium stock photos, at an affordable monthly subscription of only US$12.95 (or US$120.00 per annum) — as opposed to paying hundreds of dollars for a single image sourced from other libraries – giving designers even more choices, and the freedom to use any photo for anything, anywhere.

What Worked for Canva?

Both the founders of Pexels and Pixabay were inspired by their collective vision to democratise content, and the potential of Canva's strong global presence.

Pexels cofounder Ingo Joseph said, "There's a lot of synergy between Canva and Pexels; it's a perfect match. No other design platform truly believes in the mission of empowering the world with design and providing free stock content that is central to their mission like Canva. Today's announcement signifies a huge step forward in the right direction. We're on our way to put an end to cheesy stock photos and open the doors to more authentic, trending content for free."

Content from Pexels and Pixabay will be discoverable in Canva, and completely free under a Creative Commons CC0 license.

Pixabay cofounder Hans Braxmeier added, "The vision of Pixabay is to become the Wikipedia for free media. Therefore, community has always been our core focus and a testament to our continued success at Pixabay. We knew right from the start that we wanted to expose our talented contributors to highly engaged audience and showcase their work. We also knew that we wanted to empower creators who are hungry for content sourced from all around the globe — this is why we're thrilled to partner with Canva to continue on our mission of revolutionising the free stock media space."