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All eyes on Freepik, from a stock picture database to provider of every other type of content

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Written by Stefano De Marzo

Freepik was founded in 2010 and for more than a decade its products have been used by companies like Amazon, Spotify, Microsoft, Nasa, Fedex, and many others. For a while now, people referred to the company as the “Spanish Google for images”: a go-to website for anything from stock photos to any kind of graphic resources.

The pandemic paralyzed the production of photographs on a global scale, and it gave an opportunity for companies like Freepik to pick up the slack. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Freepik has become a widespread name not only for graphic designers, but for any kind of creator.

In October 2021, Freepik surpassed its biggest competitor, Shutterstock, in the number of premium subscriptions to its image database. Having more than half a million subscribers (and 41 million monthly users) was a huge milestone for the company. And now they have even bigger plans. 

Surpassing expectations

Based in Malaga, the up-and-coming startup city in Spain, Freepik has recently said that it is planning its incursion to video this year. For now, they offer images (Freepik), icons (Flaticon), presentations (Slidesgo), illustrations (Storyset), and designs (Wepik). According to the company, Slidesgo has been the best-performing product of 2021 because of the needs of the educative sector, especially in the American market. They also offer translations, and their Slidesgo translations to French and German have gotten a very good response. Since 2020, when the Swedish fund EQT acquired a majority stake in Freepik for €200 million, the international plans started to unfold with Asia and the United States as objectives. There have already been a lot of advances in adapting the search engines and platforms for the markets of Korea and Japan, and they are starting to see the results. Slidesgo has been especially important in this expansion. Cuenca has also confirmed that they are going after other niches like mockups, animated icons, and 3D content.

Freepik Labs’s first plan is to launch Vidfy, a platform that wants to do what Freepik knows best, but in video”

2021 was a really good year for them. Freepik’s revenue was 37% more than in 2020 and the highest in the company’s history: €61,5 million. According to Joaquín Cuenca, CEO at Freepik, the growth has surpassed their expectations. This is reassuring because the new subscriptions are coming from strategic markets in Europe and the U.S.

Freemium for all

One of the key factors of Freepik success is its creators model.

Freepik works in a freemium-based model. Paid subscriptions rose 34% in the last year, which is great news considering these subscriptions make up 70% of Freepik’s revenue.

Last November Freepik Labs was launched, a startup inside the company with the main goal of launching more products in a faster way. According to Alejandro Blanes, founder of Freepik, the fast growth of the company meant they were losing the ability to innovate faster. The new incubator’s first plan is to launch Vidfy, a platform that wants to do what Freepik knows best, but in video. The idea is to make free videos more accessible to use in social media, websites, and other platforms. Eventually, they will offer premium access to Vidfy.

One of the key factors for the success of Freepik has been the creators model they use to generate graphic resources for other creators. Freepik pays to them a fee for every photo, illustration or designs people use from the platform. Cuenca has said that in 2021 they gave their 18.000 contributors €13 million in fees. In that way, Freepik supports creators that live all around Spain and the world. Since they started this model they have given €30 million to their contributors. The same will soon be possible in video. And the possibilities for expansion after that, it seems, are infinite.

About the author

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Stefano De Marzo

Stefano De Marzo is the editor of Novobrief.