Australian online design unicorn Canva raises $60m at $6b valuation

Canva co-founders Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht, and Melanie Perkins.

Australian online design platform unicorn Canva announced that it has raised $60 million in a new funding round co-anchored by Blackbird Ventures and Sequoia Capital China that values the company at $6 billion.

Existing investors Bond and General Catalysts and new investor Felicis Ventures also participated in the round that nearly doubled the startup’s valuation.

Canva’s last valuation was $3.2 billion after raising $85 million in a funding round led by Mary Meeker and Mood Rowghani, general partners at venture capital firm Bond, in October 2019.

The latest funding round for the company, co-founded by 32-year-old Chief Executive Officer Melanie Perkins, comes as Canva is investing in its US operations with the opening of an office in Austin, Texas.

Its new US team will provide support for enterprise clients and nonprofits as the country navigates the “new normal” workplace.

The successful fundraising also took place despite the economic downturn caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Canva’s accelerated growth is indicative of the ‘new normal’, as more teams realise the need for a more scalable, more collaborative, more affordable, and more user-friendly design platform,” said Canva co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecth.

Canva is known globally as a go-to tool for crafting customisable graphic designs for business logos to street event posters. The company said it now has more than 30 million monthly active users across 190 countries. Since its launch in 2013, a total of over 3 billion designs have been created through its platform.

As people continue to collaborate online, design creation and sharing on Canva has increased by over 50 per cent since the start of Covid-19, the company added.

With the fresh funding, Canva said it will continue with its investment and acquisition strategy to further boost its engineering and product teams. The company is open to investment opportunities in the media and editing space, according to Obrecth.

In May last year, Canva acquired free stock image providers Pexels and Pixabay, giving users creating designs with the platform an additional one million images. It also acquired Sydney-based interactive presentation tool Zeetings for an undisclosed amount in 2018.

“In a post-COVID world of remote working, we are seeing Canva’s original vision – a collaborative platform to provide all the elements to create the great design – become even more powerful,” said Blackbird’s Rick Baker.

The idea for Canva came about in 2007 when Perkins while studying at the University of Western Australia, started teaching other students how to use InDesign and Photoshop.

Seeing people struggle to learn and use these design software, Perkins and Canva co-founder Cliff Obrecht came up with the idea of an online tool to create school yearbooks. They called the business Fusion Books, which is now Australia’s largest school yearbook publisher. From Fusion Books, Perkins and Obrecht went on to build Canva.

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.