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13 designs a second. 34 million a month. 10 million users. And a savage billion dollar valuation to go with it.

Sheer intimidation of numbers broke the news. Canva made it.

When Melanie Perkins, accompanied by couple of friends, ventured out to start a drag-and-drop instant design website for your everyday John and Jane, she didn’t know about the journey she was about to embark upon but as we learned eventually, between Adobe Photoshop’s advanced design software and casual mobile photo editing apps, there was a glaring need for an intermediary design software that blended the user-friendliness of an average mobile app with high-quality professional results of full-blown desktop software. Canva did that and more.

The online software was received warmly by individuals, small businesses and prosumers who needed premium quality visuals and graphics for their personal and commercial use. Canva became a go-to solution for every person on a budget who required a quick Facebook post, Twitter cover or a marketing flyer. Ease of use, ability to work and share online and maintain a record of your designs played a massive role in Canva’s success.

Reaching a billion dollar evaluation within a brief span of 5 years sounds like a dream, and it was, but not without the hurdles and moments of holy fortune. The timely $1.7 million grant from Commercialisation Australia scheme injected the required cash without which the company might not have survived its years of infancy while Cameron Adams, a former Google engineer brought the technical expertise and experience to propel the company ahead of the competition that was starting to rear its head.

Source: Canva

Just 15 months ago, Canva was valued at rather impressive $450 million, but in the space of very little time, the company more than doubled its valuation riding on the back of immense growth. There was a day in 2017 when 50,000 users signed up for the service. One of the most exciting aspects is that Canva hasn’t utilized the money from last two investment rounds but plans to develop new products using some portion of the lofty sums.

Source: Financial Review

Typically such exponential growth is associated with tech start-ups of Silicon Valley and technology companies around the globe struggle to breach the unicorn territory, but the resolve of Melanie Perkins and her employees proved it’s possible to become an exception to the rule. It’s easy to envy the raging success, but Melanie had to sail her design boat through a fair share of rejections. Few are shared here:

“I am not sure it’s going to make sense just yet.”

“My biggest issue is distance… I’m honestly, and unfortunately, not comfortable doing a deal in Australia.”

“The unfortunate answer is I think we are out in participating in this round.”

“There is not a lot of excitement amongst my partners to invest in pre-launch international seed investment.”

“We discussed in our partners’ meeting today… looks like we’re going to wait out the seed round.”

Source: Canva

The most promising aspect of the success is that Canva has barely scratched the surface as countless opportunities are waiting to be exploited in instant design space. In coming days, if Canva becomes the Photoshop of the online world, it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Brinda Rajkumar Shah

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