By Jessie Tu

As a tech start-up entrepreneur, Melanie Perkins’ story is nothing short of remarkable.

Last July, we reported her becoming one of the wealthiest women in Australia after her graphic design company Canva, which she co-founded with her husband Cliff Obrecht raised US$60 million in funding. This week, her company has hit an on paper valuation of $US15 billion ($19.7 billion) after securing a new round of funding from major US investment funds.

The latest investment, worth AUD$92 million was led by four companies: US investment firm T. Rowe Price, US investment firm Dragoneer, Australian venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures and Skip Capital, owned by Scott Farquhar and Kim Jackson

The landmark deal puts Canva on track to turn over $US500 million this financial year bolstered by the shift to remote partnerships driven by the global pandemic.

Co-founded in 2013, Canva now has more than 55 million active users and remains profitable; a feat in itself for an Australian born technology startup.

The company has raised a total of almost $US390 million, with recent announcements of a suite of features for its presentations products, including talking presentations to enable remote presentations and workplace templates. 

Perkins told Sydney Morning Herald that workplaces around the world are vying for scalable, collaborative and user-friendly visual communication products to help them achieve their goals.

“I’m incredibly proud of our rapidly growing global team as we work together to empower the world to design,” she said.

A partner at Dragoneer said Canva’s growth was testament to the startup’s deep insight into the needs of constantly changing workplaces.

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“It’s incredible to see what this nimble and passionate company from Sydney’s emerging tech hub has been able to achieve in such a short period of time,” Christian Jensen said.

“We believe that there are only a small handful of truly special companies being built at any given moment— and Canva is one of them.”

According to Rick Baker, a partner at Blackbird Ventures, Canva is in a class of its own on the global stage.

“We made our first investment in Canva when it was just an idea in Mel, Cliff and Cam’s minds,” he said. “What’s most amazing is that business is now growing faster at hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue and is set up to continue to power ahead. Canva is not just the best tech company in Australia at the moment, but one of the very best in the world.”


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