Online learning company CreativeLive acquired by Israel-based Fiverr, a marketplace for freelancers

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CreativeLive co-founder and CEO Chase Jarvis. (CreativeLive Photo)

CreativeLive, the Seattle-based online learning company founded in 2010, has been acquired by Fiverr, a platform that connects businesses with freelancers offering a variety of digital services.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. CreativeLive will remain a standalone organization and founder and CEO Chase Jarvis will continue to lead the current team of 25 employees.

CreativeLive boasts more than 10 million students worldwide, engaging online with live and pre-recorded classes in photography, video, design, music, craft and entrepreneurship taught by winners of Pulitzers, Grammys and Oscars along with best-selling authors and thought leaders.

(Fiverr Image)

The acquisition positions CreativeLive to take advantage of Fiverr’s resources and experience in the space and better target freelancers looking to enhance their skills.

Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman said the acquisition fits with his company’s mission to support the “entire freelance lifestyle, and that includes professional education and training.”

“The ability to acquire new skills in a rapidly changing work environment and then be able to monetize them is part of Fiverr’s role in leading transformation for buyers and sellers on our platform,” Kaufman said in a statement.

Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, Fiverr is 11 years old and has offices in New York, San Francisco and elsewhere. The company of about 1,000 employees went public in 2019 and reported second-quarter revenue of $75.3 million in August, up 60% year-over-year.

In the 12-month period ending June 30, Fiverr said 4 million customers bought services on its marketplace.

Jarvis, a professional photographer, co-founded CreativeLive with Craig Swanson 11 years ago. Swanson left in 2015, and Jarvis told GeekWire this week how the startup ultimately arrived at being acquired.

“I could envision, from day one, an outcome where we get to become a part of something larger than us that is really well aligned from a mission and a vision standpoint, from the community that we want to serve, and the impact we want to have on the world,” Jarvis said. “We found that in Fiverr.”

Some freelance services listed under Fiverr’s “programming and tech” category.” (Fiverr website)

CreativeLive raised nearly $60 million to date, including a $25 million round that closed in May 2017. Investors include Greylock Partners; Social Capital; GSV Acceleration; and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.

The company, which once employed more than 100 people, cut an undisclosed number of employees in 2018 as it sought to become profitable. Jarvis said Wednesday that CreativeLive currently employs around 25 people in addition to about 10 contractors around the country.

“I had a vision of making the company profitable and getting off the venture treadmill,” Jarvis said. “Part of that process of becoming profitable was getting very lean and very focused on serving the community that we wanted to serve.”

Fiverr has also had experience serving that community with its own online learning platform called Fiverr Learn. It will be folded into CreativeLive.

Chase Jarvis. (CreativeLive Photo)

The pandemic accelerated online learning adoption, which helped CreativeLive boost its subscription revenue. The company competes against a flurry of competitors in the larger online education industry, including Coursera, MasterClass, Udacity, and others.

In addition to running CreativeLive, Jarvis also has his own show, Chase Jarvis Live, and is a podcaster. He previously partnered with Apple for a collaboration called Photo Lab. Jarvis was an early champion of smartphone photography with his 2009 book, The Best Camera, and an app of the same name that was a forerunner of Instagram.

Asked whether he’d be adding a “How to get your startup acquired” video to CreativeLive, Jarvis laughed.

“It would be a long lesson,” he said, adding, “There’s a meta narrative here, which is, we are products of building something from scratch, and that is the same universe that we are in turn helping.”