Canva hits $1bn valuation

Australian-founded graphic design and printing startup, Canva, says it has reached a US$1bn valuation ($1.28bn) in its latest capital raising venture, putting it into the mythical unicorn status.

It was founded by Melanie Perkins, who leads the company, alongside Cliff Obrecht and Cam Adams, in 2012.

Perkins says, “My co-workers and I were university students, we had no money, and we had no engineering or business experience. We just had a problem that we wanted to solve and an absurd amount of determination.

“Starting Canva took almost two years and literally hundreds of rejections. There is always a lot of rejection for entrepreneurs in their early days. But every time we faced a hard question or a reason why people would not invest, we stayed focused on what we would change.

“I revised our pitch after every meeting which was more than 100 times in one year to answer the questions or fix the reason for rejection from the last time.

“You just have to keep going. The normal thing to do after your 100th, 80th or even 20th ‘no’ would be to stop, but you just have to persevere.”

The app originally allowed users to create professional graphic designs for an array of both print and digital outputs such as posters, invitations, presentations and social media posts, but now also offers to print the designs through Canva Print.

In Australia the print work is completed through PMI.

Chris Zapris, CEO, PMI says he has known Canva co-founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht for a while and that, “Canva has a fresh and exciting culture, we are strapped in and ready for take-off. The quality of the product is second to none, the customer consideration of the quality of the paper and packaging lends itself to be an amazing user experience. Personally, I have never seen anyone tackle print this way.

“This promises to be bigger than anything I have seen during my time in business. Canva have taken an amazing view of the print industry and considered every possible facet to deliver products and make connections with its customer.”

While private investors and speculation factor into its $1bn evaluation, some voices in the media have expressed skepticism, considering Canva ran a $3.3m loss last year, according to files submitted to ASIC.

Canva says it is now profitable, and cites 240,000 customers across the globe.

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