Canva stands at $ 40 billion – Founders pledge most of their wealth


Canva is now one of the world’s most valued startups after raising $ 200 million in new funding for a valuation of $ 40 billion.

The round, led by T. Rowe Price with participation from Franklin Templeton, Sequoia, Bessemer Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer, Blackbird, Felicis and AirTree, more than doubled the valuation of the Australian design software company in five months. .

Canva is already at a level that few startups have reached – not just for an assessment just behind Stripe on the Forbes Cloud 100 list of the best private cloud companies. Long profitable and positive cash flow, Canva continues to more than double its sales, according to the company, on track to reach annualized revenue of $ 1 billion by December 2021, the “vast majority” of these recurring subscription revenues. “Going in the right direction,” says co-founder and CEO Melanie Perkins in a neutral tone.

Profitable growth, doubling and with hundreds of millions in income – why bother growing at all? One of the reasons, Perkins says, is to keep doubling the membership, which has reached 2,000 this year (Perkins says Canva has received 180,000 applications in the past 12 months). Another could be acquisitions, add sources close to Canva. Then there’s Perkins’ Lifetime Mission for Canva, one she thinks it’s worth playing it safe for.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence in what we’re doing and where we’re going,” Perkins said. Forbes. “I always like having enough money in the bank that if the lights go out tomorrow and everything goes out, we have enough capital to stay together for a long time.”

With unusual origins in Perth, Australia and then Sydney, where the company has long been based, Canva challenged early skepticism to become one of the world’s most popular and fastest growing software tools, placing Perkins, a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum, on the cover of the magazine in December 2019. Launched in 2012 by Perkins, now husband Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams, Canva launched the following year as a tool to help everyone design, from prettier resumes to menus , business cards and other graphic elements.

Today, Canva’s product has evolved to support video, presentations, and more recently, live collaboration. With new website tools, Perkins says she hopes to help eliminate PDF resumes or event invitations in favor of responsive sites complete with custom web domains (a product that will put Canva, already competitive with Adobe and Vistaprint). , vs. Squarespace and Wix). Canva’s library now includes over 800,000 templates and 100 million photos, illustrations, and fonts. More than 7 billion designs have been created in Canva to date, the company says, with 120 new designs every second.

Originally known as a tool for hobbyist designers or small businesses, Canva’s freemium software is used by over 60 million monthly users. But more than 500,000 paid teams now use Canva as well, including companies like American Airlines, CBRE, Intel, Kimberly-Clark, and Zoom, for everything from social media assets to sales and HR presentations, or, in the case of Live Nation, assets for upcoming rock concerts.

The new funding dramatically increases the value of Canva’s founders’ stakes in the business, previously valued at $ 15 billion in April. Forbes estimates that Perkins and Obrecht each own about 18% of Canva and Adams 9%. At a valuation of $ 40 billion, that means Perkins and Obrecht each have stakes valued at $ 6.5 billion, while Adams’ stake is valued at $ 3.2 billion. (Forbes deduct 10% for the participations of private companies.)

But already on the record that they had no intention of “hoarding” such wealth, Perkins and Obrecht now pledge to cede 30% of Canva – the “vast majority” of their holdings – to the Canva Foundation. to be used for charitable purposes. cause. “If this was all about building wealth, it would be the least inspiring thing I could imagine,” Perkins said. Forbes. “It was strange when people called us ‘billionaires’ because it was never our money, we always felt like we were purely the stewards of it,” she added in a blog post. .

Canva plans to first pilot its charitable giving through a $ 10 million donation to the nonprofit GiveDirectly to distribute to vulnerable families in southern Africa; he plans to increase his donations after that.

It’s all part of what Perkins has long described as a “two-step plan” for maximum impact: “to become one of the most valuable companies in the world and do the best we can. On the first point, Canva is on the right track, there is no shortage of investors looking to invest money, even at a more typical valuation of a public company (Perkins says she currently has no interest in an IPO). On the second, Canva has joined the 1% Pledge movement in the past to donate time, money, equity and resources to charity; the startup now works with 60,000 schools and 130,000 associations. Canva has also pledged to plant a tree for every print order it processes, a total that has reached 2 million to date.

“As we continue to progress on the first step, the second step becomes more important than ever,” says Perkins. “We really feel a huge responsibility… no matter where you are in the world, or your socio-economic status, or your skills and experience, everyone should have the ability to design. “

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