Amsterdam-based social platform for crafters and designers Creative Fabrica has raised $61 million in a growth round, combining venture and debt funding. The new capital is aimed at further building out the platform’s designer network, an expansion of its creative generative AI toolset, and promoting a recruitment drive that will see the addition of senior talent on a global scale. Since 2019 Creative Fabrica has raised $68.5 million.
The growth round was led by Alven and saw the participation of LionTree and TriplePoint alongside existing investors Peak, Felix Capital, and FJ Labs.
With the creator economy reaching an estimated $104.2 billion in 2022, a figure up more than double since 2019, there’s clearly not only the desire for authentic DIY creations but a market for them as well. And it’s exactly this market that the dutch startup is acting as a middleman marketplace for, facilitating the transactions betwixt buyers and sellers.
Creative Fabrica founders Anca Stefan and Roemie Hillenaar formerly ran a digital agency together, discovering that finding the right assets is a pain. And like many a startup, the processes of solving their own pain point led to the realisation that they were far from alone, so why not pivot and make a business out of the business of helping others solve the same problem?
Starting out life as a marketplace for digital assets, Creative Fabrica now operates as a wider ecosystem of creatives and creators. The platform’s core offer is centered around a subscription-based premium content library of fonts and graphic assets. However, beyond this content, Creative Fabrica also includes more bespoke offerings in terms of design tooling, classes, and inspirational content.
Since securing $7 million in a Series A round announced in early January 2021, the company has grown leaps and bounds, reflected most prominently in the team headcount.
“It’s been quite a ride growing from 30 people to our amazing team of 160 now. We have so much to build for our community that there is no time to waste,” said Hillenaar. “With this new round, we have the means to move faster and continue to bring inspiration and resources for the 100 million plus creators out there.”
According to Creative Fabrica, their offer has attracted more than 4 million users, has in excess of 150,000 paying subscribers and has seen sales in 175 countries last month alone. Close to two-thirds of the startups’ business arrives via the US, with the UK, Canada, and Australia accounting for 15% of operations.
Generative AI makes the difference
While not officially the catalyst to overdrive, the company’s introduction of CF Spark, a suite of tools that uses generative AI to help creators and designers fast-track their creative process by enabling them to generate content through text-to-image has seen a dramatic increase in the number of images available for sale. According to the startup, in the past 3 months, customers used Spark to generate over 15 million images, a number more than double its designer library of 7 million products.
“Half a year ago we had on one hand 50,000 designers who were selling assets and on the other hand 4 million customers using these assets. Through our partnerships with organizations such as StableDiffusion and OpenAI we were able to integrate these technologies directly into our product and ecosystem,” says Hillenaar. “We turned our 4 million customers into designers overnight, empowering them to create whatever they would like to see in seconds without the need of having learned design skills.”
On the investment, lead investor Alven’s Thomas Cuvelier concludes, “The Creative Fabrica platform, with a fast-growing user base in the millions, is one of those ecosystems where generative AI has a clear use case and adds tremendous value at scale. AI-generated content is a great way to fill gaps in people's imagination, addressing what would be difficult or overly time-consuming for humans to create. Founders Roemie and Anca have been early to identify the potential of this technology while steadily continuing to build a market-leading company."