Aussie design unicorn and darling of the local tech ecosystem Canva has closed yet another mammoth raise, bagging US$200 million ($273 million) in a deal that values the business at US$40 billion ($54.6 billion).
The announcement follows a $92 million raise just months ago in April, which valued the business at $19 million.
Since then, it has also almost doubled its annualised revenue, and it is on track to see revenues of more than US$1 billion ($1.37 billion) by the end of the year.
The latest round was led by T. Rowe Price, and also includes follow-on funding from Franklin Templeton, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Bessemer Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investments, Blackbird, Felicis, and AirTree Ventures.
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Founded back in 2012 by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, who later added Cameron Adams to their co-founding team, Canva set out to make design accessible to everyone — not just designers.
It now has more than 60 million users across 190 countries, and facilitates the creation of 120 designs every second.
Over the past 12 months, Canva has also more the doubled its workforce to 2,000 people.
“Visual communication has emerged as a universal need for teams of every size across almost every industry,” Perkins said in a statement.
“People are now using Canva for everything from launching startups to raising awareness for nonprofits, supporting remote learning, collaborating in distributed teams, and managing global enterprise brands at scale,” she added.
“We’re incredibly excited to be further accelerating our mission to truly empower the world to design.”
A “force for good”
In a blog post, Perkins unveiled a ‘two-step plan’, which she said has “become a core part of Canva’s DNA”.
Step one is to ‘become one of the most valuable companies in the world’. Step two is to ‘do the most good we can’.
This funding means the business is well on its way to achieving step one. In fact, according to data from CB Insights, the raise puts Canva among the top-five most valuable privately held software companies in the world.
“This milestone is a huge vote of confidence in what we’re doing and where we’re going,” Perkins said in the blog.
However, it also means step two of the plan has become “more important than ever”.
The team strives to be a “force for good”, Perkins wrote, partly by committing 1% of its profits, equity, its team’s time and its product, to do some good in the world.
To date, that has been through allocating volunteer hours to staff, offering the premium product to not-for-profits, free of charge, planting trees and supporting crisis relief efforts.
Perkins and Obrecht are now personally taking this up a notch, committing the “vast majority” of their wealth — they own 30% of Canva — to charitable and impact causes, through the Canva Foundation.
“It has felt strange when people refer to us as ‘billionaires’ as it has never felt like our money, we’ve always felt that we’re purely custodians of it,” Perkins said.
“It’s long been our intention to give the wealth away, and we’ve been thinking long and hard about the best way to start that journey.”
Growth in Canva’s valuation means the business can do more good, she said. In turn, Canva will be able to attract the best team members and customers who want to have a positive impact. In turn, that helps boost the valuation further.
Step one of the plan fuels step two, which fuels step one, she explained.
“We have this wildly optimistic belief that there is enough money, goodwill, and good intentions in the world to solve most of the world’s problems, and we want to spend our lifetime working towards that.”
A big week in startupland
The news comes amid a surge of big-ticket funding rounds in the Australian startup scene.
We also saw profit-for-purpose startup Who Gives a Crap secure $41.5 million in its first ever equity raise, while NFT-focused gaming startup Immutable raised $82 million. Just a few years ago, these would likely have been the biggest raises of the month — now, they don’t even top the week.
Speaking to SmartCompany earlier this week, Right Click Capital partner Benjamin Chong put the influx of big deals down to three factors.
First, Aussie startups are simply starting to grow up. Secondly, low interest rates mean there is more money being poured into the venture capital and private equity markets, globally.
Thirdly, people are now well and truly used to doing everything online. We’re seeing the tech revolution “play out before our eyes”, he said.
He anticipates seeing more and more $100 million-plus deals coming through the pipeline, as well as more high-value acquisitions.
It’s a sign of a maturing tech ecosystem, and it’s “good news all round”, Chong added.
We’re seeing founders become wealthy in their own rights, and starting to invest in other, earlier-stage startups.
Cameron Adams, for example, contributed to Who Gives a Crap’s recent raise.
“If you’ve been a founder and you know how hard it’s been, and you have had this level of success, doesn’t it make sense to support founders who are on the journey you were on?,” Chong said.
“It’s really rewarding seeing that.”