Design unicorn Canva, picks up two free image-sharing services, and launches new photo product

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Canva, the design and publishing platform taking on Adobe, PowerPoint and others, has acquired the free stock image providers Pexels andPixabay and launched a new subscription service for its premium image marketplace, Photos Unlimited.

Taken together, the new strategic moves represent a concerted effort by the company to add more graphic options to its design toolkit.

“With over 1 million images downloaded over 500 million times on their platforms combined, both Pexels and Pixabay have proven that there is a huge demand for free, quality content from small businesses, social media marketers and others — not just from designers and companies with big budgets,” said Canva chief executive Melanie Perkins, in a statement.

Perkins declined to disclose how much Canva spent on the two stock image services.

As a result of the acquisition, Canva users will have access to Pexels and Pixabay’s images through the Canva platform free of charge. Photographs on the respective sites will continue to be free for all users as well, according to Perkins.

“No other design platform truly believes in the mission of empowering the world to design like Canva, and providing free stock content is central to their mission. Today’s announcement signifies a huge step forward in the right direction,” said Pexels co-founder, Ingo Joseph, in a statement. “We’re on our way to put an end to cheesy stock photos and open the doors to more authentic, trending content for free.”

In addition to the free services, Canva is rolling out Photos Unlimited, a subscription service for $12.95 per-month or $120 per-year for the company’s own premium stock photos. That’s in addition to the $1 per-image, per-use, or $20 for lifetime use of images that Canva charges for through its platform.

Canva has more than 15 million monthly active users who have made more than 1 billion designs since the company launched in 2013.

The Australian company has raised $86.6 million from institutional investors like Australia’s own Blackbird Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Matrix Partners and Sequoia Capital, alongside celebrity investors that include Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson. Canva’s currently valued at over $1 billion.

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