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Israel’s Fiverr acquires US online learning company to offer education, training

Fiverr announces it is buying Seattle-based CreativeLive for an undisclosed amount; this is the company’s 3rd acquisition in over a year

Ricky Ben-David is The Times of Israel’s Startups and Business editor and reporter.

Fiverr's co-founder and CEO, Micha Kaufman. (Courtesy / Yoav Hornung)
Fiverr's co-founder and CEO, Micha Kaufman. (Courtesy / Yoav Hornung)

Fiverr, an Israeli company that connects businesses with freelancers offering digital services and products, is buying a US online learning company in a bid to support professional training and education for its worldwide community of buyers and sellers.

In an announcement on Thursday, Fiverr said it was purchasing Seattle-based CreativeLive for an undisclosed amount. The US company will remain as a standalone organization and retain its team with founder and CEO Chase Jarvis remaining at the helm.

Founded in 2010, CreativeLive has grown as an online platform to offer over 2,000 classes across a variety of creative and business categories such as design, photography, photo editing, marketing, creative writing, and social media. The company says that more than 10 million people have used the platform to “acquire new skills for their career, their hobbies, and their life.” Courses are offered for a fee or as part of a subscription.

Fiverr’s existing online learning platform first launched in 2018, Fiverr Learn, will be integrated into CreativeLive, according to the announcement.

“The future favors people and companies that can create, innovate, and adapt to a rapidly-changing world,” said Jarvis in the statement. “Core to all this is people’s ability to learn new skills, to think creatively, and operate with a growth mindset. Once thought to be ‘nice to haves’, we now know these attributes are key to success in any industry. We are excited to be part of the Fiverr family, to grow our inventory of compelling courses, and increase economic opportunity for our community, the Fiverr community and today’s modern workforce.”

Fiverr was also founded in 2010, by Israeli entrepreneurs Shai Wininger (also co-founder of Lemonade) and Micha Kaufman. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2019 and has reached a market cap of over $6 billion.

“Fiverr is more than just a work platform — we fundamentally believe in supporting the entire freelance lifestyle, and that includes professional education and training,” Kaufman said in the statement. “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.”

The acquisition of CreativeLive is part of Fiverr’s broader strategy, said Kaufman.

As part of a message to CreativeLive’s community, Jarvis wrote of a future where “Fiverr’s acquisition of CreativeLive enables anyone learning with CreativeLive to unlock economic opportunity through freelance work on Fiverr’s platform. Or conversely, how anyone buying or selling services on Fiverr could benefit from learning new skills on CreativeLive.”

“We believe that this virtuous cycle – pursuing passions, learning new skills, and leveraging those skills for economic upside – is the future of work, and our goal is to take a global leadership role in this future,” he added.

Fiverr has reported robust growth in the last two quarters, with revenue for the first quarter of 2021 surging 100 percent year on year (YoY), one of the company’s highest quarterly revenues in its history, and 60% YoY in Q2.

The results came on the heels of “an extraordinary year of growth” in 2020, when revenue for the firm surged 77% year on year.

“Twelve months since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our business momentum remains strong and sustainable,” the company said in May in a letter to shareholders. Remote work trends dictated by the coronavirus pandemic pushed businesses online, and helped propel demand for the company’s services as those businesses sought freelancers to help them digitize their offerings.

In August 2020, Fiverr acquired boutique digital marketing agency SLT Consulting, followed by the purchase in February 2021 of creative talent marketplace Working Not Working.

“We are accelerating the pace of investments to make Fiverr into a powerhouse that enables more buyers and sellers to participate in the digital service economy,” Kaufman said in August.

The gig economy, as it is called, has its fair share of proponents and detractors.

In April, US Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said he thinks many gig, or freelance, workers should be categorized as employees that need to get health and retirement benefits, a reversal from the policies of the Trump administration. Shares of Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Fiverr dropped after Walsh’s comments. Treating gig workers as employees would raise costs for these firms.

Shoshanna Solomon contributed to this report.

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