Canva Reaches $15 Billion Valuation; Making Cofounders Melanie Perkins And Cliff Obrecht Billionaires
Canva, the design unicorn, has more than doubled its valuation for its design software tools, making two of its cofounders billionaires in the process, less than a year after achieving a $6 billion valuation amid a pandemic usage boost.
Sydney, Australia-based Canva announced Tuesday it raised $71 million in new funding led by T. Rowe Price and Dragoneer at a $15 billion valuation. Existing investors Blackbird Ventures and Skip Capital also participated in the round. Canva, which claims to be profitable, also reported that its annualized revenue has surpassed $500 million, up 130 percent from the previous year.
Melanie Perkins, the cofounder and CEO, and Cliff Obrecht, the cofounder and COO, are now both billionaires thanks to the latest funding. According to Forbes, Perkins and Obrecht, who married in January 2021, each owned about 15% of Canva prior to the investment, with the new increase causing limited dilution. At a $15 billion valuation, the couple will each own around $2 billion in the business. Private sector valuations are discounted by 10% by Forbes.
They don’t intend to keep it that way. Obrecht said in an interview that the couple were considering establishing a fund to help with issues such as climate change and global wealth disparity. Obrecht says:
“It’s not our vibe to hoard money. What motivates us is building a product that people love. And the wealth that produces, we want to give back to the world.”
Canva, which was launched in 2013 by Perkins and Obrecht with the addition of a third cofounder, Cameron Adams, has grown from an unlikely origin story and home base of Australia to a global company with 20 million users as of December 2019, when Perkins was featured on the Forbes cover.
Today, there are 55 million active users, with three million of them paying, according to Adams whose stake in Canva is unknown. Canva began as a simple design platform for small and medium-sized companies to create print and digital assets like menus and Instagram cards, but it has since evolved into a real-time collaboration suite.
Canva reports that more than 85% of the 500 largest companies in the United States use the service in some way, it is still early in the process of “freemium” software companies expanding to large-scale, company-wide use of many of those companies. Real-time features that allow live team editing of videos and other digital assets have sparked such adoption, according to Adams. American Airlines, Kimberly-Clark, McKinsey, and Salesforce are only a few of Canva’s notable clients.
Presentations is the company’s fastest-growing document form, to which it has recently added features such as presenter video recording tools and a live, Q&A friendly edition, were a particular focus during the pandemic, particularly at those larger companies. According to Obrecht:
“The pandemic has accelerated trends that were naturally happening today.With workers increasingly dependent on Slack and other chat tools, it takes a lot more to cut through all the written stuff,”
Canva intends to use the funds to continue investing in goods, which includes hiring; the company’s second-largest office is still in Manila, but it recently opened a presence in Austin, Texas, and has employed a small number of people in San Francisco.
Canva’s latest funding round, like its previous one, brought in a small amount of cash for expansion, raising the question of why a profitable and successful, the triple-digit sales-growth company would bother for such a small amount of sum. Two more explanations, according to Obrecht, are employee and investor liquidity some employees and investors were able to sell stock in the round, which Canva tries to do every year and acquisitions.
Mehjabin Zaman Mahee
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