Aussie design startup Canva hits two million users

Multimillion-dollar design startup Canva has reached a hurdle many Aussie tech companies can only dream of: scooping up two million users since launching worldwide 18 months ago.


In 2013 Canva raised $3 million from high-profile investors including Bill Tai and Lars Rasmussen.


Since then the startup has gone from strength to strength. Its graphic design software is now used by more than 200,000 organisations around the world.


Co-founder and chief executive of Canva, Melanie Perkins, told StartupSmart the latest milestone was “incredibly exciting” and doesn’t mean the company’s operations are jumping ship to the US any time soon.


“We’re very happily located here in Sydney and have an incredible product team and great engineers here,” she says.


“We’ve got a great presence in the US and it is continuing to grow like crazy. We have Guy Kawasaki as our chief evangelist over there but because we’re an online product there’s no particular need to have a US presence [on the ground].”


Perkins attributed Canva’s success to the fact that the company democratises the design processes and puts its customers first.


“We developed a solution to a problem people really care about because before Canva there wasn’t an easy way for content creators and small businesses to create incredible content for social media or presentations,” she says.


“So we really believe in the value through the product but also the marketing – it’s never about sales, it’s about helping people to be the best designer they can be and help them develop their skills.”


Asked what her advice would be to budding entrepreneurs or early-stage startups, Perkins says it’s all about “being human” so people feel like they are cheering on a person and not a faceless company.


“In all the social media interactions and emails we receive, we give a really quick response,” she says.


“Our average response time is 1.7 hours and making sure we’re providing a great response to every single person means we can adapt quickly because we can get great feedback.”


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