Natasha Lomas

Freepik, a Malaga-Spain based website which offers a curated freemium marketplace of vector graphics and stock photos fed by a community of contributing designers and photographers, is being acquired by investment and private equity firm EQT.

The EQT Mid Market Europe fund has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake of Freepik from its founders and management team, who will remain on as minority owners, with co-founders, Alejandro and Pablo Blanes and Joaquin Cuenca, continuing to lead the company day to day, the pair said in a press release today.

EQT believes favorable global trends are set to feed Freepik’s business, with the PE firm pointing to factors such as the increasing shift to digital advertising, the “global democratization of content production” via social media and the surge in mobile media and online gaming — areas it says have shown resilience to downturns and recessions.

Freepik, which was founded back in 2010 and claims to be the largest freemium provider of digital visual content in the world, has some 32 million monthly visitors to its site, 20M registered users and 5BN downloads to date — with the site offering more than 10M graphic resources, including icons, vectors, photos, and templates.

Freemium users of the repository can access “thousands” of graphical resources, while premium fee-paying users have access to a far wider selection of content and unlimited downloads. All submissions are reviewed, with only a subset selected for the marketplace. While content sourcing is data-driven, based on Freepik crunching download data to better understand consumer demand.

On the supplier side, Freepik has a network of over 450 in-house freelancer graphical designers in addition to 9,000+ external contributors, per its website. It operates under two additional brands (Flaticon and SlidesGo).

EQT said today it will support Freepik’s accelerated growth by investing in its proprietary content library, UX and tech platform — including AI and tool integration capabilities. Broadening Freepik’s market penetration in markets such as the US and Asia is another goal for the acquisition, given EQT’s slated “digital expertise” and global presence.

Commenting in a statement, Victor Englesson, partner at EQT Partners and investment advisor to EQT Mid Market, said: “We are impressed by Freepik’s achievements and EQT is proud to partner with its co-Founders to help achieve its full potential. Freepik is supported by numerous positive secular megatrends and represents a truly thematic investment, which fits strongly with EQT’s focus on growth investments and partnerships with world class management teams.”

EQT is a prolific investor in and buyer of tech startups, acquiring the likes of b2b payment transfer business Banking Circle and commercial Linux distribution Suse in recent years. It’s also recently invested in Peanut, a social network for mothers; Anyfin (consumer loans refinancing); Netlify (microservices for building websites); and Wolt (food delivery), to name a few. The firm has more than €62BN in raised capital and some €40BN in assets under management across 19 active funds.

“We are very excited to partner with EQT and look forward to working together,” added Freepik co-founder Cuenca in another statement on the acquisition. “EQT’s digital and sector expertise, global platform, combined with local presence across Europe, the US and Asia, as well as its extensive network of advisors will be key to our future success and of great value for the strengthening of our management team.”

The value of the acquisition has not being disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in June 2020.



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