Autodesk Buys Creative Market To Square Up To Adobe With A Marketplace For Designers And Makers

It looks like Autodesk has taken one more step forward in its bid to compete more with the likes of Adobe in the business of providing tools to the design community, but also a bigger step into the maker movement. It has acquired Creative Market a San Francisco-based startup that provides a marketplace for digitally-designed content like fonts, icons, photos and templates.

We’re trying to find out the terms of the acquisition. Autodesk does not appear to have made an official announcement yet, but we’re looking out for it.

All of the Creative Market team will be joining the Autodesk Consumer Group, including co-founders Chris Williams (the CTO) and Aaron Epstein (VP product), who be relocating to San Francisco. “We have big plans to help lead them into a future where beautiful design can be simple and accessible to everyone,” Darius ‘Bubs’ Monsef, the co-founder and CEO, writes in a blog post about the deal.

In the words of Monsef, it looks like the startup was in the process of raising another round (it had raised $2.3 million to date from investors including SV Angel, Alexis Ohanian and Crunchfund, founded and led by the founder of TechCrunch, Michael Arrington). Instead, it decided to go the exit route.

Part of the interest in Autodesk came from the fact that the bigger company was looking to develop more consumer-focused offerings for the maker movement.

“After more than 12 straight months of month-over-month revenue growth, we had a lot of interest in our next fundraising round, and we also had interest from folks who wanted to acquire us,” he writes. “When I first spoke to the folks at Autodesk, I was impressed with their vision and where they saw an opportunity to develop a more consumer-focused offering to take their decades of design experience and bring that spirit to the maker movement. As a creative, I’ve always been in awe of the incredible work that folks are able to create with AutoCAD, Maya and Autodesk’s other professional design tools. The animated film I just watched with my wife & daughter… made with Autodesk software. Well-engineered sports cars, dream homes… made with Autodesk software.”

But there is likely more to this deal that is also related to competitive strategy. Last year, Creative Market launched a Photoshop extension that let people effectively sell and buy assets from its marketplace directly within the Photoshop app. If this extension remains intact, what it will do is give Autodesk a direct link into the world of professionals who are using Adobe’s flagship design product.

At the same time, this gives Autodesk another product to build out its wider ambition of offering a suite of cloud-based services for the design community — covering not just digital assets (as in the case of Creative Market) but also 3D assets related to the growth of businesses creating new hardware and other physical products. This, too, is an area where Adobe wants to play more with its own Creative Cloud business.

More to come.