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Canva Acquires Affinity for $380M to Rival Adobe

ByHuey Yee Ong

Mar 31, 2024

Australian startup Canva has announced its acquisition of U.K.-based creative tools company Affinity, formerly known as Serif.

This strategic purchase, reported to be in the vicinity of $380 million, marks Canva’s largest acquisition to date and is a clear signal of its ambitions to compete more directly with Adobe, particularly in attracting a broader user base that includes professional designers.

Affinity is known for its suite of photo-editing, publishing, and illustration software that has gained popularity among Mac users and has been featured in Apple’s creative product presentations.

Canva, with a valuation recently adjusted to $26 billion, has been on a rapid expansion course, adding over 90 million new users in the last year and a half, bolstered by new artificial intelligence features. The acquisition brings with it Affinity’s 3 million global users and a 90-employee team from Nottingham, officially joining Canva to enrich its offerings with professional-grade tools.

Bridging the Professional Gap

Traditionally, Canva has aimed its products at beginners, but co-founder Cliff Obrecht sees the acquisition as an opportunity to attract more advanced users.

In a blog post announcing the deal, he stated, “While Canva’s focus over the past decade has been on serving the 99% of knowledge workers without design training, empowering the world to design comprehensively entails catering to professional designers as well. By partnering with Affinity, we’re enthusiastic about enabling designers at all levels and phases of their design journey.”

Moreover, this move is also part of Canva’s broader strategy to enhance its competitiveness against Adobe, which has recently intensified its AI integrations across its product suite.

Affinity’s CEO, Ashley Hewson expressed optimism about the acquisition, suggesting that the merge with Canva would enable accelerated development and broader product offerings than could have been achieved independently.

Future Pricing and Product Strategies: What Users Can Expect

Meanwhile, industry analysts and stakeholders view the acquisition as a mixed bag, with potential benefits for both Canva and Affinity users, including enhanced tool capabilities and integration prospects, although with concerns about possible shifts towards subscription models from one-time purchases.

However, both companies have assured users that they will keep the current pricing system, including perpetual licenses. Any subscription options in the future will be additional choices, not replacements. They also confirmed that Affinity will remain as a separate product, even if some features are integrated into Canva.

The acquisition is just the latest in Canva’s aggressive expansion in Europe, having previously acquired several other companies on the continent as it seeks to deepen its market penetration. Founded in Perth in 2013 by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, Canva has now surpassed $2.1 billion in annualized revenue, with a user base exceeding 175 million, demonstrating its rapidly growing influence in the global tech and design landscape.

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Featured Image courtesy of Canva

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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