Canva: Australian online design platform valued at $40bn

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Australian graphic design business Canva has become one of the world’s biggest privately-owned companies after being valued at $40bn (£29bn).

The online design platform said it had grown during the pandemic as more customers worked from home.

It has revealed a fresh $200m round of private equity investment – doubling the company’s value in five months.

That makes it one of the world’s most valuable start-ups, analysts say.

According to business data provider CB Insights, Canva’s $40bn valuation makes it the fifth-most valuable start-up in the world, behind the China’s ByteDance, which owns TikTok, Jack Dorsey’s payment platform Stripe, Elon Musk’s rocket company SpaceX and Swedish financial technology firm Klarna.

The funding also places its co-founders among the top 10 richest people in Australia.

Canva was founded in Sydney in 2013 by Australians Melanie Perkins, 34, and Cliff Obrecht, 35.

Together they own about 36% of the company, according to Forbes.

On Wednesday, they announced that they also intended to give away the vast majority of the stake – about 30% of the company’s wealth – to charitable causes.

Canva provides design templates for people to make everything from greetings cards to posters, resumes and calendars.

Also on Wednesday, the firm said it had grown its customer base to over 60 million users in 190 countries, and was on track to post $1bn revenue by the end of the year.

It said it had 500,000 paying customers, among them corporate clients like Zoom, Salesforce, Paypal, Marriott International and American Airlines, which the firm said had all increased their use of Canva’s design technology in the past year.

“From large enterprises to small businesses, the shift to distributed working has seen team adoption more than quadruple over the last 12 months,” the company said in a press release, referring to the number of companies taking up its software.

Its latest fund-raising round was led by global investment firm T.Rowe Price and investors included Franklin Templeton, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Bessemer Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer Investments, Blackbird, Felicis, and AirTree Ventures.

The firm has also doubled its workforce this year, hiring more than 1,000 new employees in 2021, with headquarters in Sydney and Manila.

Canva, which became profitable in 2017 and achieved a $1bn valuation a year later, is now one of Australia’s most valuable companies.

Its valuation puts it on par with publicly-listed firms such as supermarket giants Wesfarmers and Woolworths Group and mining company Fortescue.

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