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.