Ivan Kutskir: The Solo Founder of Photopea

Photo - Ivan Kutskir: The Solo Founder of Photopea
Others: “You can’t develop, launch, and market a project on your own”. Ivan Kutskir: “Hold my beer”.
Ivan Kutskir is a computer programmer and the sole founder of the photo editor app Photopea. Now, the tool, created as an online alternative to Photoshop, has over 16.5 M monthly visits and generates over $1.5M in annual revenue. 

Ivan Kutskir was born in Ukraine in November 1990 and moved to the Czech Republic at the age of 11. He graduated from Charles University in Prague and has a master's degree in Computer Science. Kutskir’s first projects were video games, including Dino Hunt 2,  a popular 3D shooter. 

In 2012 while studying at the University, Kutskir started to work on Photopea as a hobby. In a blog post, he says that initially, he had no plans to develop an advanced image editor. Kutskir created Photopea single-handedly:  from programming the app to designing the logo and writing posts, he took care of everything. As Photopea got positive reactions from users, he kept working on the tool and released new versions with more features. After graduating from the university, Kutskir decided to make Photopea his full-time job. In 2017, he started to monetize the tool. Telling about this in a Reddit AMA, Kutskir  said: 
I started to work on Photopea in 2012, the first version was published in 2013, it was just my hobby until 2016, when I graduated and started to work on it full-time. I did not fully "believe" in Photopea until 2017, when I started to monetize it (with ads). :)

Photopea’s Impressive Growth Over the Years

Started as a hobby, Photopea has grown into a popular design tool over time. In 2016, Ivan Kutskir launched Photopea’s web version. According to recent data, users open more than 3 million files on the platform in a day. 
The design tool allows users to access Photoshop-like features without installing the software. While Photopea offers a free version, it also has a Premium option with additional capabilities, including AI features. You can use the platform for simple and complex tasks, including resizing images and creating illustrations. Photopea provides guidelines and tutorials to help users learn about the functionalities. Despite being a one-person team, Photopea has achieved remarkable success. According to data aggregator Getlatka, Photopea now generates over $1.5 million in annual revenue.
Photopea annual revenue. Source: Getlatka.com

Photopea annual revenue. Source: Getlatka.com

Ivan Kutskir was able to bring his product to millions of users without having a specific marketing strategy, large financial resources and upfront funding. A major factor contributing to his success was active engagement with users in social media forums. In different interviews, Ivan shared the challenges of being a solo founder. One of the main barriers was Photopea’s marketing and promotion. As many online forums have rules against self-promotion, a number of Ivan's posts were removed. However, step by step, users started sharing Photopea with each other, and eventually, the tool gained popularity. 
In the early stages of Photopea, I had very limited financial resources, so I had to rely on free platforms for promotion like Reddit, despite the challenges with self-promotion rules. Word of mouth played a big role in the growth of Photopea. Users sharing the tool with others naturally led to more users and organic growth.
- said Kutskir.

The Future of Photopea

Ivan Kutskir’s success with Photopea shows that it is possible to create a popular product with a large user base when you have an interesting idea and are committed to it. Photopea, now over 12 years old, has steadily gained popularity among users. Currently, Kutskir continues to improve the app and keep it up-to-date. The story serves as an inspiration that if you have an idea, it’s worth giving it a shot.

Web3 writer and crypto HODLer with a keen interest in market trends and recent technologies.