CEO and Envato Co-founder Collis Ta’eed On The First 6 Months of Envato

Earlier this year, CEO and Envato Co-founder, Collis Ta’eed, spoke at The Sunrise conference in Sydney, Australia. The Sunrise is a conference where founders of Australia’s iconic startups describe the early years of their business. The presentation is 15 minutes in length with 30 minutes dedicated to questions.

There’s a lot of great information in the presentation, especially if you’re running a bootstrapped business. I also admire Ta’eed’s delivery as he comes off as a straight shooter. He reminds me of myself when I tried to launch a business several years ago.

Presentation Highlights

Envato began as a stock Flash template marketplace called Flash Den. Flash Den was eventually renamed to Active Den due to Adobe owning the trademarks associated with Flash.

Envato started with $30k and is still a bootstrapped company. Ta’eed receives numerous offers every year from venture capitalists looking to invest in Envato. So far, he has not accepted any outside funding.

AppStorm was the precursor to the Apple App Store. Before Ta’eed could turn AppStorm into an app marketplace, Apple released the App Store crushing his idea.

At 32:26, Ta’eed is asked how he came up with the name Envato. He bought it from Brandbucket for $1k.

At 38:50, Ta’eed is asked to describe how massive the Envato marketplace is. His response, “We sell something every 6 seconds, we sell a million WordPress theme per year, and we have the largest stock music marketplace by volume with a million tracks licensed each year.”

At 42:52, Ta’eed is asked about Envato’s relationship to WordPress. He admits to the licensing challenges and mentions that, when Envato started selling WordPress themes, he didn’t know what the GPL was. He describes the relationship as symbiotic.

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10 Comments


  1. As a tie-in to your previous article about what it would take for WP to lose it’s dominance, it may be worth noting that Envato decided to run on Ghost.

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  2. I’ve spent money to utilize various services over the years.. But when you purchase something on Envato that wasn’t what you thought, Customer server never replies to you, they just keep sending messagages saying that they have an unusual increase in support related issues. If you file a complaint with PayPal, Envato will disable your entire account network wide so you loose access to download all software that you have ever purchased! Doesn’t matter if the accumulated amount you’ve spent over the years totals more than a few thousand dollars.. You loose it all unless you saved all the files you purchased.

    Congrats on Envato for making so much money! They Rip people off to do it!

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  3. Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I ended up watching all 45 min of it and found it really insightful for building marketplaces. I would have totally missed it otherwise. – Scott

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  4. In as much as envato marketplace should be commended for such an idea; I think they need to work and upgrade their customer service section, most especially for themeforest. I am a living evidence to their sarcastic and unfriendly customer services ( most especially from theme authors).

    That’s just my 2cents, but kudos to the founder for such a brilliant idea. Cheers

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    1. Theme authors are not Envato customer service. It’s totally different.

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  5. I’m 15mins in and loving this presentation. Very interesting story, especially for an Envato fan and customer like me!

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