Envato founders exit in $373 million Shutterstock deal

- May 3, 2024 2 MIN READ
Envato cofounders Cyan and Collis Ta'eed,
Envato, the creative marketplace that grew to generate more than US$1 billion in revenue for its users annually, is being acquired by US listed imagery company Shutterstock in a deal worth US$245 million (A$373m).

It marks the end of an 18-year journey for cofounders Collis and Cyan Ta’eed, and their friend Jun Rung, having launched Envato in a Bondi garage in 2006.

The company led the way in sharing the spoils of success as a B Corp that donated 2% of its annual profits to charity, including through Pledge 1%, as well as sharing thought profits with staff has long been a torch bearer for good startup culture.

Collis Ta’eed stepped down as CEO in late 2020, replaced by former Hotelscombined.com boss Hichame Assi. The Ta’eeds, who recently celebrated 21 years together, subsequently moved to Darwin and have been focused on philanthropic work and impact investing in startups, including plastics reduction drinks brand Refilled.

Cyn Ta’eed chairs Bright Moon Trust, a philanthropic fund that also involves her Envato cofounders, investing in First Nations entrepreneurs, which has backed organisations with more than $3 million in funds over the last three years.

Envato has helped millions of people globally to buy and sell creative assets, use smart design templates and learn creative skills.

Collis Ta’eed said the acquisition is recognition of Australia’s creative startup industry and its contribution to the global stage.

“Over the years, we’ve been privileged to grow with this passionate community of creatives who have shown us the possibilities that arise at the intersection of technology and creativity,” he said.

“I am incredibly grateful for this and honored to have been part of the impact and success of this creative community.”

CEO Hichame Assi, who has steered the company through leaner times more recently, including job cuts in 2022, said the deal was an inflection point for the company

“I am immensely proud of the work the team has done over the years to set us up for the future,” he said.

“Together with Shutterstock, we remain steadfast in our commitment to listening to the needs of our creative community, fostering innovation and providing an environment where creativity thrives.”

The deal will add 650,000 subscribers to Shutterstock, more than doubling its existing subscriber base to 1.15 million, with Envato adding 20% to annual revenues and 15% to annual adjusted EBITDA.

It also add 10 million images, 6 million videos, 1 million audio clips, 0.5 million templates and 0.2 million graphics and fonts to Shutterstock’s content library.

The company, founded in 2003 is best known for its stock photography, video footage and music and has a market capitalisation of around A$2.3 billion.

Shutterstock CEO Paul Hennessy said they were “thrilled about this transaction”, which is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.

“This acquisition will pave the way for our expansion into new products, audiences and content types,” he said.

“It also will propel us further into the dynamic Asia Pacific region, making a significant step toward achieving our future growth plans.”

Shutterstock will acquire 100% of Envato.

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