The Canva Story: How A High School Yearbook Idea Turned Into A $55 Billion Business

User-friendly and open-source internet tool Canva was created by entrepreneur Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams. It simplifies the process of making any visual content. From social media graphics to presentations, posters, and documents, you’ll find what you need in Canva’s massive collection of templates and extensive stock photography portfolio thanks to the hard work of these budding entrepreneurs. Over 75 million people users from more than 190 countries use Canva monthly to express their unique talent and make their dreams a reality. But how did this massive graphic design platform grew by these entrepreneurs?

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4 Canva’s Beginnings With Fusion Books

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Melanie Perkins, the woman who founded Canva, wasn’t unfamiliar with the concept of entrepreneurship. She decided to begin selling her handmade scarves at local Perth shops and fairs when she was just 14 years old. After graduating from high school, she continued to pursue her business drive by working as a private teacher for students who needed help with graphic design software while studying communication at the University of Western Australia. As a result, the concept for Canva was born. Unfortunately, neither Melanie nor her co-founder, Cliff Obrecht, knew how to use technology or had the money to fix the issue very away. Instead, they created Fusion Books to cater to a specific market need: high school yearbooks which sometimes contain embarrassing pictures.

Fusion Books provided easy-to-use drag-and-drop tools for students and schools to design their yearbooks. The site also offered access to various premade layouts that users could modify with text and media. Physical yearbooks were printed in Perkins’ mother’s parlor, but the company served customers from all over Australia. In just five years, Australian startup Fusion Books became the industry leader Down Under and beyond, with international branches in New Zealand and France. Unbelievably, the company is still thriving today, demonstrating that the idea from the school yearbook addressed an issue in the real world.

3 How The Company Grew By Finding The Right People

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After the success of Fusion Books, Melanie has begun pitching her proposal to potential backers. However, no Silicon Valley VCs were interested in funding the startup in its early stages. The company’s founders claim more than a hundred potential investors rejected them. Her early efforts were fruitless, but after meeting famed venture financier Bill Tai, she was invited to San Francisco to present her business plan. Melanie had to meet investors and take up kitesurfing because Bill Tai was a huge admirer. Bill Tai used his hideaway, MaiTai, to arrange investing and kitesurfing activities to bring together people who shared like interests. The sport quickly became a way for Melanie to make connections in the business world, and she quickly became an avid participant. While this may sound like an easy endeavor, Melanie had to swim through some deep waters to reach the fundraising table.

Canva’s impressive and effective networking and persuasive abilities quickly caught the eye of investors. The influx of funding encouraged Melanie to go on to the next stage of her vision, which was to assemble the team necessary to bring the project to fruition. Melanie recruited Cameron Adams as a tech co-founder and Dave Hearnden as a tech developer because of their mutual contacts. Together, Melanie and the two techies built the Canva platform and assembled a team to assist users in making a wide variety of designs for no cost. There are now over 2000 people on the Canva team, which is expected to rise as the company enters new countries like China, Dubai, and the Philippines.

2 The Steady Growth Of Canva

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It is estimated that there are already 50 million active users of Canva each month from 190 different countries. Banners, business cards, posters, flyers, youtube channel art, and Facebook covers are just some of the many things users may make with the help of these free templates. The company claims that 250 million presentations have been done with Canva. Canva boasts that 85% of Fortune 500 organizations utilize its platform. Over a thousand employees are working for the firm, which is profitable according to EBITDA.

Throughout 15 investment rounds, Canva has raised over $372.6 million. Canva is one of the fastest-growing software firms in the world, with a valuation of $15 billion as of the company’s most recent fundraising series in April 2021 which makes it among the most profitable investment in the market. Annualized sales for the corporation, they predict, will top $500 million this year. The company introduced a $10 monthly premium plan in 2015. Canva is a one-stop shop for all things marketing and promotions because it caters mainly to corporate enterprises, providing them with high-quality design features and the option to select from millions of royalty-free stock pictures for their ad campaigns.

1 Canva’s Ability To Foster An Environment Of Innovation

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Canva’s popularity stems primarily from the design program’s straightforward interface. Anyone with an internet connection can make designs. Canva is a free and easy alternative to other professional-level design programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. Perkins hopes that releasing Canva’s new website capabilities would encourage individuals to ditch PDF resumes and event invites in favor of responsive websites hosted on their domains. People can find more than 800,000 layouts and 100 million stock pictures, drawings, and fonts in Canva’s collection. Prospects for Canva appear promising, with 120 new designs generated every second and over 7 billion designs published on the platform. People may draw many lessons from Canva’s success for other startups, especially those considering employing remote workers in their early stages. After all, a business’s success will largely depend on its ability to foster an environment of innovation, cultural values, and effective remote team leadership.

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Sources: CNBC, Forbes, Bloomberg, Canva

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