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The story of Canva began with a dream of a teenage girl. And now Melanie Perkins has a design platform valued at $3.2 billion.
You have probably heard of an Australian online design platform Canva and even used it to create graphic designs. But have you known that Canva’s founder Melanie Perkins is one of the youngest female CEOs that leads a $3.2 billion business? Here we are going to tell you the story of Melanie Perkins’ success and show how a dream cherished in high school can come true and totally change one’s life.
Melanie Perkins was born in Australia. While attending Sacred Heart College, she started her first venture by creating hand-made scarves and selling them at shops and markets throughout Perth. When studying at university, Melanie was teaching design programs to fellow students. However, they turned out to be too hard.
“People would have to spend an entire semester learning where the buttons were, and that seemed completely ridiculous. I thought that in the future it was all going to be online and collaborative and much, much simpler than these really hard tools.”
Melanie decided to find a way out and create a better and easier solution. As a result, she and Cliff Obrecht, her fiance, set up Fusion Books as a design tool for school yearbooks. The Fusion Books website allowed students to “collaborate and design their profile pages and articles”. After that, the yearbooks were printed and delivered to schools across Australia.
Perkins explained to CNBC:
“My mum’s living room became my office, and my boyfriend became my business partner, and we started enabling schools to create their yearbooks really, really simply.”
Fusion Books became a Canva’s prototype. It continues functioning today and is doing quite well.
What Is Melanie Perkins’ Canva?
Striving to achieve more, in 2012 Perkins created Canva, an online platform for graphic designing.
“Our goal was to take the entire design ecosystem, integrate it into one page, and then make it accessible to the whole world.”
Canva uses a drag-and-drop format and provides access to photographs, vector images, graphics, photo filters, and fonts. The platform offers both free and paid resources, and this base is really huge. Canva’s easy interface has all the essential features found in advanced design software to create stunning graphics.
In the first year of its existence, Canva attracted more than 750,000 users. In January 2018, the company raised $40 million from Sequoia Capital, Blackbird Ventures, and Felicis Ventures. Besides, Canva’s valuation made $1 billion. In June 2018, Canva announced a partnership with Dropbox to integrate its designs and images into the platform.
By now, Canva has helped create close to 2 billion designs in 190 countries and won celebrity backing from the likes of Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson.
Now, Canva is valued at $3.2 billion. This results from an $85 million funding round that took place in October 2019 and was led by Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker. The company’s success made Melanie Perkins one of the youngest female CEO’s in the tech world.