Canva acquires Affinity platform for $1 billion

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Affinity CEO Ash Hewson and Canva Head of Europe Duncan Clark

Canva, the world’s only all-in-one visual communication platform, today announced the acquisition of Affinity, the award-winning creative software suite for professional photo editing, illustration, graphic design and page layout, from Serif, a Nottingham, England, software company founded in 1987. Affinity marks Canva’s latest Europe-based acquisition, joining Flourish (2022), Kaleido (2021), Smartmockups (2021), Pexels (2019) and Pixabay (2019). Canva opened its first European HQ in 2023, based in London.

Affinity’s tools include Affinity Designer, Affinity Photo, and Affinity Publisher.

According to the Financial Review, Canva paid close to $1 billion for the platform:

Serif’s accounts lodged with the UK Companies House show a highly profitable business under no pressure to sell. It had revenue of £31 million ($60 million) in the 2022 calendar – the latest year for which figures are available, up 33 per cent over 2021 – while profit rose 19.5 per cent to £16.4 million.

Canva chief operating officer Cliff Obrecht would not confirm an exact price for the Affinity acquisition, but indicated it was significantly more than a £400 million estimate based on Serif’s financials.

That would likely put the price above $1 billion, paid for with a mix of cash and Canva stock. Asked why Canva, with about 4000 staff globally, did not build similar software to Affinity, Mr Obrecht said: “While essentially anyone with enough resources and top talent can build anything, we feel the headstart they have and the quality and speed of their product were unmatched.”

The company says, while Canva is aimed at the “99% of knowledge workers without design training, the integration of Affinity’s professional design software now unlocks the full spectrum of designers at every level and stage of the design journey.”

“Visual communication is now ubiquitous in the workplace and investing in strategies that enhance our B2B offerings is core to the future of our business,” said Canva co-founder and COO, Cliff Obrecht. “From sales and marketing, to brand and creative teams, the need to create effective and engaging visual content is on the rise. The Affinity team comes with an incredible caliber of talent and technology and we’re delighted to welcome them to Canva as we enter our next phase together.”

Canva said it will continue to invest in the Affinity suite to ensure it meets the needs of professional designers. Together, Canva and Affinity will be a powerhouse combination built to supercharge the goals of every type of designer.

“Since the inception of Affinity, our mission has been to empower creatives with tools that unleash their full potential, fostering a community where innovation and artistry flourish,” said Ashley Hewson, CEO of Affinity. “We’ve worked tirelessly to challenge the status quo, delivering professional-grade creative software that is both accessible and affordable. Canva’s commitment to empowering everyone to create aligns perfectly with those values. We couldn’t be more excited about becoming part of the Canva family and can’t wait to see what we will achieve together.”