Canva raises $US40m

09/01/2018 - 14:50

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Perth-founded online design company Canva has raised $US40 million ($50 million) from private investors as it continues to expand on a global scale.

Canva raises $US40m
Melanie Perkins says the app is now available across 190 countries and in 100 languages. Photo: Canva

Perth-founded online design company Canva has raised $US40 million ($50 million) from private investors as it continues to expand on a global scale.

The investment was led by venture capital firm Sequoia China along with existing investors Blackbird Ventures from Australia and US-based Felicis Ventures.

Canva said that the new investment gave the company a valuation of $US1 billion ($1.27 billion), earning it ‘unicorn’ status.

The company’s success has been built on a graphic design app aimed at customers with limited design experience.

“We’ve only just started to scratch the surface of achieving our goal of empowering everyone to design anything, and publish anywhere,” chief executive Melanie Perkins said.

“Design is no longer a niche requirement - every single profession today needs design to help communicate their message."

The business originated more than a decade ago when Ms Perkins was teaching graphic design programs at university in Perth and saw students struggle to learn and use them.

She and partner, Cliff Obrecht, initially launched Fusion Books, an online design tool for students and teachers creating their own yearbooks.

That business still trades under the name Fusion Yearbooks and has expanded beyond Australia.

The pair later joined up with Cameron Adams and raised $3 million in seed funding from investors, including Bill Tai, to establish Canva.

Ms Perkins said the app was now available across 190 countries and in 100 languages.

Blackbird partner Rick Baker said Canva was in an exciting stage of development.

Canva is making huge strides in democratizing design for everyone,” he said

“Its product growth and adoption across many demographics is truly exceptional. In just four years, Melanie Perkins and her team have taken the startup (to the point of being) one of the fastest growing software businesses of all time.”

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