Meet Joaquin Cuenca Abela, CEO at Freepik: A Tech Startup Providing Freemium Illustrations

Founded in 2010 in the heart of Malaga, Spain, Freepik specialises in producing and distributing graphic resources. Our search engine and products – Freepik, Flaticon, Slidesgo, Videvo, and Wepik – help users find high-quality photos, vector images, illustrations, PSD files, icons, 3D, mockups, templates or videos for creative projects, empowering creators all over the world. We promote creativity by making it more accessible to everyone and offering quality graphic tools and resources that users can use for free or very affordably.

With more than 500 employees, 600 exclusive remote designers and photographers, and over 23,000 registered contributors. Freepik is the most used image bank globally, with more than 40 million users per month who downloaded more than 1.5 billion assets in 2021 – numbers which we expect to increase significantly over the next few years.
Freepik Changes Its Visual Identity and Presents the New Logo | Freepik  Company

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

After founding Panoramio, the first Spanish company bought by Google, I spent 3 years working at Google as Tech Lead of Panoramio itself, and continued to develop my portfolio with technology at the core. The idea for Freepik came from my cofounder, Alejandro Sánchez, who needed to find images to design and update the website of another business, but couldn’t find a cost-effective and simple solution.

Initially, we searched for images hosted on third-party websites. It was like Google for free images. Over time we started to create our own images. This streamlined the download process, legal requirements and increased quality. To add variety we again introduced third-party content, but these external contributors had to explicitly submit their images and we reviewed them to ensure we only had high quality content. Today we have the affordable, high quality and simple service that all our users enjoy.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

Freepik Company was born and grew as a bootstrapped company, without external investment. In May 2020, the Swedish investment fund EQT acquired a stake in Freepik Company, making this operation one of the largest M&A operations in the Spanish market. In 2021, we consolidated our leadership reaching 500,000 subscribers.

Freepik Company is now the only European contender in the competitive tech and content distribution industry. Our products are leaders in illustrations, icons, presentations, and now, with the recent acquisition of UK-based Videvo, we have a world-class collection of videos and sound effects in our portfolio. Recently we’ve also geared up specialised content with the acquisition of 3D and mockups specialist Original Mockups, based in Colombia, and increased our icons service with the acquisition of Iconfinder.

What can we hope to see from Freepik in the future?

We want to help people express their ideas, and we will keep adding tools and content to our portfolio to help people do that. We started adding content for designers, but our ambition is to help everyone. Slidesgo already has a strong leadership in EdTech helping teachers create better presentations. Wepik is helping people with no previous experience create anything that they need.

We want to integrate all our content on a single easy to use platform, and listen to our users to understand what new content or technology we can provide to help them succeed.