News - October 21, 2015

The History of Envato

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FlashDen. Does the name ring a bell? Launched in August 2006, it was Envato’s first product ever, which was renamed to ActiveDen in 2009. It was the first milestone of a very long path which Envato keeps going on its journey of success.

In this article, we’re going to learn about the story of Envato.

“I used to imagine that successful companies were started by people in suits,” says Collis Ta’eed, one of the three founders of Envato, in his blog post about Envato’s history. It seems he learned that successful companies can be started by freelancers as well as people in suits. After all, Collis, his newlywed wife Cyan and their close friend Jun were mere freelancers when they started “Eden”.

As I said earlier, their first product was FlashDen–because Cyan and Collis were selling stock Flash in iStockPhoto at the time. They spent $40,000 from their pockets to pay for the guy who built FlashDen with Ruby on Rails. “With absolutely zero business experience”, he says, they managed to keep their heads above water for two years by keeping working as freelancers and not paying themselves for the first years.

But after the launch of FlashDen, “Eden” started to grow exponentially.

In 2007, FreelanceSwitch and Psdtuts+ were launched, and were overnight successes, as stated in envato.com/about. In 2008, AudioJungle and ThemeForest were introduced to the world. The same year was the time they renamed their company from “Eden” (an unofficial brand name) to Envato (an official company name). The Tuts+ family grew bigger and bigger over the course of years, and Tuts+ Premium was launched in 2011, shortly before two “power elite authors” from ThemeForest passed the barrier of $1,000,000 in sales. In 2012, the staff and the community started getting together worldwide in “Envato Global Meetups”, while the Tuts+ family launched three new sites. In 2013, Tuts+ sites migrated from xxx.tutsplus.com subdomains into the tutsplus.com and a job board for freelancers called Microlancer was born, which was renamed to Envato Studio a year later in 2014. Also in 2014, the marketplaces were gathered around the brand Envato Market. And in September 2015, ActiveDen, the first product that was in the very beginning of this timeline, was decided to be shut down, almost 9 years after its launch. (It will be gone for good in February 2016, the tenth anniversary of the three musketeers’ decision to start FlashDen.)

The company doesn’t disclose revenue publicly, but in April 2015, Envato congratulated the community for making a quarter billion dollars in sales. Now, that’s a big number.

Conclusion

Envato is one of the biggest tech companies that was bootstrapped (meaning that it hasn’t ever recieved any funding), which makes it a valuable example among its own marketplace sellers as well as the whole tech community.

What do you think about Envato, and its place in business today? Talk to us in the Comments section below. And thanks for reading!

Bonus: The History of ThemeForest’s Homepage Design

As a bonus, I wanted to share a video that I stumbled upon when I was researching Envato’s history, made by a VideoHive seller named EFEKT_Studio. Check out the evolution of ThemeForest’s homepage:

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