If you are working in the field of graphic design, visual content or even trying to explore these areas, then you may have met Canva!
Canva is a platform for creating graphics for social media, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. It was launched in 2013 as an online design and publishing tool with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere. This article talks about The Woman behind Canva.
What is Canva?
Canva is an Australian graphic design platform, used to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents and other visual content. The app includes templates for users to use. The platform is free to use and offers paid subscriptions such as Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise for additional functionality.]
The subscription price for Canva Pro is $119.40 per year for up to 5 people. Canva Pro can be provided to nonprofit organizations for free, if they meet the guidelines. The subscription price for Canva for Enterprise is $30 per month per person.]
In 2021, Canva launched a video editing tool. Users can also pay for physical products to be printed and shipped.
In June 2020, Canva raised A$60 million at a valuation of A$6 billion; almost doubling its 2019 valuation.
In September 2021, Canva raised US$200 million and announced a valuation of US$40 billion.
Canva can easily be downloaded on your device via App store or Google play store.
Who is The Woman behind Canva?
Melanie Perkins was an entrepreneur from a young age. She started doing business by designing and selling scarves in her hometown when she was only 14. She said she “loved the freedom and excitement of building a business,” which played a big part in her motivation for the future.
As you can see, Perkins was fueled with ambition from the very beginning.
When Perkins was at university, she taught other students graphic design. She often witnessed her students struggling with the basics due to the complicated and non-beginner-friendly graphic design software. Additionally, the software was extremely expensive (The cost of Photoshop was nearly $1,000 at the time) which was an overkill for many projects.
There had to be a better way.
She had a vision that design software in the future would be online, collaborative, and more accessible than the existing complicated tools.
And so, at 19 years old, Perkins and her boyfriend Cliff Obrecht started to test out a portion of this big idea, which was called Fusion Books.
Fusion Books was a print design company that was used online. It allowed people to make their own designs for the site with Fusion’s templates and then order them from there, which in turn made it easy, quick, and cost-effective as opposed to traditional printing options.
The couple worked together on the company, and in the span of 5 years, it became quite successful.
To this day, Fusion Books is still fully operational and is the largest yearbook company in Australia.
The Story of Canva
In 2011, Melanie and Cliff started Canva. It was a big risk since there were many other competitors in the market – like Adobe Photoshop for example. But they continued regardless.
Canva’s goal was to become “the simplest way possible” to design images with just drag-and-drop functionality of templates that are accessible to everybody with an Internet connection.
Perkins was based in Australia, so it was extremely difficult for her to garner big tech investors which were mostly based mostly in the United States.
She lived with her brother for 3 months in San Francisco. She pitched to more than a hundred venture capitalists, but unluckily, was rejected by all of them. Perkins said in an interview: “I remember thinking: “Why is this so hard?”
During her Fusion Book days in 2010, Melanie met venture capitalist Bill Thai at a conference in Perth. Bill was interested in the startup. Six months later, he introduced her to Google maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen. Together, they introduced her to a range of other investors. Two years later, she was able to raise the seed round.
Things were finally taking a right turn!
She was also eventually introduced to celebrities Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. The two liked the idea, and invested into it.
Rasmussen agreed to serve as their tech advisor. However, when he took the position, he rejected every single resume and LinkedIn profile that Perkins sent to him, as well as anyone else she brought to him. At the time, Perkins just wanted to get started, so this was incredibly frustrating.
However, in the end, it was all worth it. They found a tech developer in Dave Hearnden and a co-founder in Cameron Adams, who were both from Google and had the refined skillsets that the startup needed to evolve into what it is today. After closing their first round of funding, the company already began to see early growth.
It was the perfect timing possible since Canva was an easy and affordable way to build a magnificent online presence. In Canva’s first month, it grew to reach 50,000 users.
Melanie focused on building an incredible product, didn’t cut corners, so when people discovered Canva, they absolutely loved it, evangelized it and spoke about it to all of their friends and peers.
Authored by Yasmine Deraz
Edited by Yara Fakhoury
“Fujn fuses learning with earning in a fun way. Fujn is made by women for women. Ladies, dare to reimagine your possibilities! Check us out at www.Fujn.us, Fusion spelled F. U. J. N.”