Canva soars to $55B valuation

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canva team
(L-R) Co-founders Cliff Obrecht, Melanie Perkins and Cameron Adams. Image supplied.

Perth-founded Canva has continued its astonishing trajectory with the announcement of a $354 million (US$200 million) capital raise, valuing the revolutionary platform at $55 billion (US$40 billion), similar to Fortescue Metals Group.

The raise was led by T.Rowe Price and involved returning Australian investors Blackbird Ventures and AirTree Ventures.

The valuation makes Canva one of Australia’s largest unlisted companies, putting it in the same league as Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting and Anthony Pratt’s Visy packaging empire.

It also makes Canva one of the largest private tech companies in the world.

Annualised, Canva is on track to record revenue of $1.4 billion (US$1 billion) by the end of 2021.  

Just last April, Canva announced a $93 million investment round which valued the company at $20 billion, meaning it has more than doubled again in a few months.

Was ever such wealth creation possible before? Quite staggering.

Perth beginnings

Founded back in 2012 by the now-married Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, Canva now has more than 60 million monthly users across 190 countries, adding about 5 million users since the last round. At any given second, 120 designs are being created on the platform.

“We really feel a huge responsibility… it shouldn’t matter where you are in the world, or socioeconomic status, or your skills and experience, everyone should have the ability to design,” said Melanie.

Customers range from everyday Joes (including yours truly and much of the Startup News team) to an array of well-known companies such as American Airlines, Zoom, SkyScanner, Intel, Salesforce and Paypal. 10 million students and teachers also make up the regular users.  

Canva has hired more than 1,000 people over the past year – picked from over 180,000 job applications – doubling its headcount to 2,000.

Giving back

Melanie and Cliff have confirmed they hold 30% of Canva’s equity – and they plan to give the “vast majority” of their estimated $16.5 billion fortune to charitable causes.

“Mel and I are committed to giving away all our money to make the world a better place,” said Cliff.

I think with running such a large company with such a significant valuation now, it’s an obligation on us to use that to be a force for good and make the world a better place, rather than just hoard s***.

Cliff Obrecht

Canva currently gives away their premium product for free to over 130,000 not for profits with all Canva employees donating 3 full days of their time towards charitable causes. Another initiative is Print One, Plant One which has seen Canva committed to planting over 2 million trees.

“It has felt strange when people refer to us as ‘billionaires’ as it has never felt like our money, we’ve always felt that we’re purely custodians of it,” added Melanie in a blog post released today.

We have this wildly optimistic belief that there is enough money, goodwill, and good intentions in the world to solve most of the world’s problems, and we want to spend our lifetime working towards that.

Melanie Perkins
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Liam is a Curtin Business School graduate with extensive experience in retail supervising, procurement, marketing, research, application and grant writing across a variety of industries. Liam hopes to promote the amazing work many local startups and SMEs in WA are doing by contributing to Startup News.