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Canva History: From Startup to Multi Billion-Dollar Design Empire

Canva History: From Startup to Multi Billion-Dollar Design Empire

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Canva is a popular graphic design platform that has taken the world by storm. It is a user-friendly tool that allows people to create stunning designs without any prior design knowledge. The platform is widely used by businesses, individuals, and organizations of all sizes to create everything from logos to social media posts.

But have you ever wondered about the history of Canva? How did it all start? Who are the founders? What were the major milestones and events that shaped the company? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the history of Canva and answer all these questions and more.

Founding of Canva

Canva was founded in Perth, Australia, on January 1, 2013, by three co-founders: Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams. The idea for Canva arose from Melanie Perkins’ experience as a design tutor at the University of Western Australia. She noticed that her students found it difficult to grasp the foundations of design software. Melanie Perkins saw an opportunity to create a design software that caters to those who don’t have skills in graphic design.

The three co-founders began developing the Canva platform in 2007. They initially started with Fusion Books, a software program that allowed users to create their own yearbooks. The success of Fusion Books led to the development of Canva, which aimed to democratize design by making it accessible to everyone.

Canva’s early success was rapid. In its first year, Canva had more than 750,000 users. The company’s user base continued to grow, and by 2014, Canva had 600,000 users who had created over 3.5 million designs. This early success attracted the attention of investors and Silicon Valley experts.

Canva’s co-founders were able to secure funding from investors such as Mary Meeker, an investor in Silicon Valley, who led an $85 million funding round in October 2019, valuing the company at $3.2 billion. Today, Canva has over 100 million active users in 190 countries and is one of Australia’s hottest new businesses.

Early Development

Canva was founded in Perth, Australia, by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams in January 2013. The idea behind Canva was to create an easy-to-use graphic design platform that would allow anyone to create professional-looking designs without the need for advanced design skills.

In its first year, Canva had more than 750,000 users. The founders of Canva spent a lot of time and effort on the development of the platform, ensuring that it was easy to use and had a wide range of design options available. They also focused on building a community around the platform, encouraging users to share their designs and collaborate with others.

One of the key features of Canva is its drag-and-drop interface, which allows users to easily add and arrange elements on their designs. The platform also offers a wide range of templates, fonts, and graphics that users can use to create their designs. Canva’s design library includes over 1 million images, graphics, and fonts.

Growth and Expansion

Canva has experienced tremendous growth since its launch in 2013. The company has raised $86 million and is currently valued at $40 billion.

International Expansion

Canva’s user base has grown to over 10 million users in over 190 countries. The company has offices in Sydney, Manila, and Beijing, and has expanded its services to multiple languages, including Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, and more. Canva’s international expansion has enabled it to reach a wider audience and establish itself as a global leader in graphic design.

Partnerships and Collaborations

Canva has formed partnerships with various companies and organizations to expand its services and reach. In 2019, Canva partnered with Dropbox to allow users to access their Canva designs directly from Dropbox. Canva has also partnered with companies such as Hubspot, Mailchimp, and Facebook to integrate its design tools into their platforms.

Canva has collaborated with various organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund and UN Women, to create designs for social causes.

Canva’s growth and expansion have been driven by its commitment to providing easy-to-use and accessible design tools for everyone. Through its international expansion and partnerships, Canva has established itself as a leader in the graphic design industry.

Current State of Canva

Products and Services Offered

Canva is an online graphic design platform that offers a wide range of products and services to its users. The platform provides a user-friendly interface and a vast collection of templates, images, and design elements that can be used to create professional-looking designs. Canva’s products and services include:

  • Design templates for various purposes such as social media, marketing, events, and education
  • Customizable design elements such as fonts, icons, and illustrations
  • Collaboration tools that allow teams to work together on designs
  • Print and delivery services for business cards, flyers, and other marketing materials
  • Canva Pro, a subscription-based service that offers additional features such as unlimited storage, custom templates, and team functionalities

Company Culture

Canva has a strong company culture that emphasizes creativity, inclusivity, and collaboration. The company’s mission is to empower everyone to design anything, regardless of their skill level or background.

Canva’s culture is reflected in its hiring practices, which prioritize diversity and inclusivity, and in its workplace policies, which encourage creativity and innovation. Canva also supports various social causes, such as environmental sustainability and mental health awareness.

Financial Performance

Canva has experienced significant growth since its founding in 2013. The company has raised over $700 million in funding and is currently valued at $40 billion, making it one of the most valuable private companies in the world. Canva’s revenue has also grown rapidly, reaching $500 million in 2020 and surpassing $1 billion in 2021.

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The company has over 100 million users in more than 190 countries, and its platform is available in over 100 languages.

Canva’s success can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, extensive collection of design elements, and commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction. Overall, Canva’s current state is strong, with a growing user base, expanding product offerings, and a thriving company culture.


Canva’s journey has been remarkable since its inception in 2013. From a small startup to a global brand, Canva has come a long way in just a few years. The company’s mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere has been the driving force behind its success.

Canva’s innovative business model has been a key factor in its growth. The company’s freemium model has allowed it to attract millions of users worldwide. Canva has also expanded its services to cater to the needs of businesses, schools, and non-profit organizations.

Canva’s commitment to user experience has been another factor in its success. The company’s user-friendly interface and extensive library of templates and design elements have made it easy for users to create professional-looking designs without any prior design experience.

Overall, Canva’s history is a testament to the power of innovation, dedication, and user-centric design. As Canva continues to evolve and expand its services, it is poised to become a leading player in the design and publishing industry.