Graphic design startup Canva just hit $1 billion

Canva EO and co-founder Melanie Perkins, now the youngest female entrepreneur to have reached unicorn status.
Image: canva

Canva is Australia’s first unicorn of 2018, after raising $40 million (AUD$50.9 million) to push the design startup’s value over $1 billion.

Now available in 190 countries, with over 10 million users, the online design and publishing platform was launched in 2012 by CEO and co-founder Melanie Perkins — now the youngest female entrepreneur to have reached unicorn status. 

“It’s still extremely early days for us yet, and we feel like we’ve done one percent of what we believe is possible but it’s quite exciting to get to this point in time, and it’s been a huge journey,” Perkins told Mashable.

According to Perkins, Canva took on additional capital in this investment funding round. Sequoia Capital has teamed up with long-time Canva investors, Blackbird Ventures and Felicis Ventures, in backing the Sydney and Manila-based company. Early backers include Lars Rasmussen, the co-founder of Google Maps.

Perkins recalled the early days of the company, before they had over 250 employees, and when investment was less than fruitful. “It was actually quite funny, the other day I was looking through some of the emails from early on and there were so many rejections in the early days, it was such a struggle to get things started,” Perkins said. “That Canva can grow dramatically from this point forth from some incredible investors is a huge vote of confidence.”

“Years ago, I spent six months in San Francisco in two three-month blocks, as my visa expired, pitching every investor under the sun, going to every conference I possibly could and try to get people to believe in this crazy big goal that we had, which was that we could try and storm the world of design and make everything simple and accessible for everyone.”

The announcement comes after a big string of successes for Canva, launching an Android app, rolling out Canva Print in the U.S., Europe and Australia, with Mexico recently made available, and hitting 100 languages of operation. 

Canva says that more than 13 designs are created on the platform every second — it’s no wonder their value is on the up. 

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