Shutterstock acquires Envato

Australian digital creative asset and template company Envato has reached an agreement to be acquired by Shutterstock for $245 million.

Envato, founded in 2006, offers a creative resource hub and marketplaces. 

Shutterstock is widely used by professional creatives, including those in the broadcast industry, while Envato has largely been marketed more toward designers requiring a lower price point. 

The company owns the Tuts+ brand, which is focused on design and creative guides and tutorials, as well as Envato Market, which sells millions of digital assets ranging from stock photos and video, HTML templates and 3D models to WordPress themes and plugins, audio assets and code.

It also operates an unlimited subscription service called Envato Elements that includes thousands of items from its market collection, as well as a web-based product mockup and design tool called PlaceIt, and free stock photography and video asset sites Reshot and Mixkit.

Shutterstock offers a portfolio of similar services, but the Evanto acquisition will give it access to faster-growing audiences such as freelancers, hobbyists, small businesses and agencies. 

Envato also brings around 650,000 subscribers, according to the company press release on the acquisition, which will more than double Shutterstock’s subscription business.

Shutterstock sells assets through a credit-based system where users purchase “packs” of downloads and then use them for the assets of their choice during the next year. Its subscription model gives users a set number of downloads each month and lowers the price to around $3 per image, compared to just under $10 per image on the pack system.

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Envato sells assets for set rates that vary from item to item, while its Elements subscription gives users unlimited downloads every month, though not all products in the standard marketplace are available in Elements.

Both companies rely on contributors to supply their assets, which have resulted in over 75 million sales. Creators have been paid over $1.15 billion in earnings since the markets launched, according to the Envato site. 

The acquisition is projected to help Shutterstock, which is publicly traded, increase its annual revenue by about 20%, with the deal expected to close in the third quarter of 2024.

It will also increase the ability for the service to expand into code, website themes, product mockups, fonts and templates for social media, Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, WordPress, video projects, gaming, podcasts and print on demand.

Shutterstock has secured credit of around $375 million to help fund the deal.

It was not clear how the acquisition might affect employees in Envato’s Australia, Mexico or New Zealand offices, though the announcement did reference that Envato CEO Hichame Assi “and the team” will “enter this new chapter.”

It is also not clear if Envato will still operate as a separate brand or if services may start rebranding under Shutterstock name or what might happen to duplicative or less lucrative offerings.

In addition to the overarching Envato Market name, Envato also maintains branding for each type of digital asset it sells, including GraphicRiver, PhotoDune, CodeCanyon, AudioJungle, VideoHive, 3DOcean and ThemeForest.

Each site’s name uses the format of starting with the type of products it sells followed by a geographic reference. The sites all notably use “.net” domains, though Envato also owns the “.com” versions in most cases.

The acquisition comes after Digital Juice, another digital asset service catering to graphic designers and video editors, closed up shop in January 2024 after the company’s founder, Dave Hebel, died in late 2023.

No official reason for the closure was given beyond Hebel’s death, though the company, which sold products under both collection-based and subscription models, has been viewed as slow to adapt to new design trends that resources such as Shutterstock, Envato, iStock and other digital asset companies have. 

Digital Juice also controlled a collection of separate brands all ending with the word “Boxx” that sold digital image, audio, video and template collections for a one-time price. When the company unexpectedly closed, most users lost access to all of these products, even though they had purchased “lifetime” subscriptions. 

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