Canva raises $40m, becomes Australia’s first tech startup to reach $1b valuation

Photo: Bloomberg

Canva, an Australian-based graphic design app, has raised $40 million to become the country’s only privately backed technology startup to be valued at $1 billion.

Sequoia Capital took part in the fundraising alongside existing investors Blackbird Ventures and Felicis Ventures. Co-founder Melanie Perkins said the Sydney-based company was profitable and didn’t need the money but was offered terms too good to refuse. The startup, whose apps help advertisers and companies create banners, logos and presentations, plans to double its workforce of 250 staff over the next year, she added.

“It’d be crazy not to take it,” she said. “We can grow our team as rapidly as we can and know that we’ve got the financial backing to make those decisions very easily.”

Canva’s latest round of funding makes it a unicorn, a private company valued at $1 billion or more. That’s a rare startup success for Australia’s technology scene: only eight of its listed technology companies are worth more than $1 billion compared with 18 companies in metals and mining alone, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

According to Canva’s website, the service has more than 10 million users upload photos or select stock images and use preset filters and fonts to customize designs. It also links with printing providers who can create actual physical banners and displays.

According to financial records lodged with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Canva more than tripled revenue to A$23.5 million ($18 million) and narrowed after-tax losses to A$3.3 million in the 12 months ended June 2017.

“What this round really enables us to do is to have the jet power just to do absolutely anything that we need to do to make Canva awesome,” she said.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.