Startup News & Analysis

Aussie unicorn Canva is collaborating with Dropbox, and co-founder Cameron Adams says it’s “not a big deal”

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Canva founders Cliff Obrecht, Melanie Perkins and Cameron Adams. Source: Supplied.

Canva founders Cliff Obrecht, Melanie Perkins and Cameron Adams. Source: Supplied.

Australian startup unicorn Canva is partnering up with Dropbox to integrate its design content and images into the file-sharing platform. But Canva co-founder Cameron Adams says the partnership is “not a big deal”, and just made good sense.

Through Dropbox integration, Canva users will be able to collaborate more easily, Adams says, with the ability to access shared files and materials from Dropbox, and to upload Canva designs.

He tells StartupSmart: “A lot of people keep their assets [on Dropbox] … It makes a lot of sense for us to work with them, and to let people store their canvases.”

He adds: “The easier we can make it for people to take all parts of the design and assemble something creative, the better.”

The integration isn’t live just yet, and while Adams couldn’t share any specific figures or a timeline, he did say: “I’m pretty confident it will be out soon.”

Founded in 2012 by Adams and co-founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, Canva has risen to become an Australian unicorn, valued at more than $1 billion.

In January, the graphic design startup raised $50.9 million in its fourth funding round, led by Blackbird Ventures and also including Sequoia Capital and Felicis Ventures.

The partnership with Dropbox marks the meeting of two now-huge technology companies, but Adams says the process was more of a “mutual meeting of minds”.

“We both understood that we were good partners together and that our products could work well together,” he says.

“It’s not a big deal really, we both knew we could help each other out.”

He adds: “These things often start off in small ways.”

It’s not all about the money

He may be blasé about Canva’s latest success, but Adams has a couple of tips for startups looking to follow suit.

“When you’re starting small, you have to be incredibly passionate about the area you’re going into. It’s not just about setting out to make some money.”

That’s the passion that will help founders create a “great product and a great company”, he says, adding: “That’s what will keep you motivated.”

Equally, thinking about the rest of the team is “important in the early days,” he says, urging founders to be selective in who they choose to join their team, and to find those who are skilled in different areas, who “fit together with you like a jigsaw”.

Canva has been “very selective” about the people it hires, he says, “making sure they have the right skillsets, the right mental attitude and that they align with our mission and our culture.”

He adds: “Our culture and our values are incredibly important.”

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is a reporter at StartupSmart.

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