Canva founders to put their billions to good use

arunat

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  • Nov 30, 2009
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    Sydney, Australia
    Canva’s billionaire founders are preparing to give the majority of their wealth away as the software design startup’s latest funding round pushes its valuation up to $US40 billion ($55 billion).
    The Sydney-based startup announced a $US200 million capital raise on Wednesday making it the most valuable private consumer software company ever and now worth, on paper, more than the ASX-listed telecommunications giant Telstra.
    Co-founders Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, who got married at the start of this year, hold a 30 per cent stake - valued at over $16 billion - in Canva. Having committed to putting a large portion of their wealth into philanthropic causes, Ms Perkins and Mr Obrecht said it felt strange to be referred to as billionaires as they felt they were just custodians of the cash.
    “Billions upon billions of dollars is more than anyone needs in their entire lifetime by a longshot,” Ms Perkins said. “It’s not often that you have the right idea, at the right time with the right, incredible team, and with the right investors who believe in your vision.”
    “But it’s not just a huge opportunity we really truly feel like it is a huge responsibility, one that weighs really heavily on us, and doing the most good we can do is something that we think about a lot.”

    Melanie Perkins, co-founder of Canva, plans to give the majority of her wealth away.

    Melanie Perkins, co-founder of Canva, plans to give the majority of her wealth away. CREDIT:PETER BRAIG
    Canva’s capital raise was led by investment firms T. Rowe Price, Franklin Templeton, Sequoia, Bessemer Venture Partners, Greenoaks Capital, Dragoneer, Felicis Ventures and Australian venture firms Blackbird Ventures and AirTree Ventures.
    Having more than doubled its value since its previous capital raising in April, it’s now the world’s fifth most valuable startup after TikTok owner ByteDance, payments fintech Stripe, Elon Musk’s space travel venture SpaceX and buy now, pay later firm Klarna Bank, according to data from research firm CB Insights.
    Canva was launched by Ms Perkins, Mr Obrecht and Cameron Adams in 2013 with the aim to allow anyone to easily design products such as greeting cards, posters, websites and presentation slides.
    Eight years on, the high-flying startup has 60 million users across 190 countries and claims it has annualised revenue of $US700 million.

    Canva would not disclose its standard revenue or profits but said it has been profitable since July 2017. The company has grown to a global team of more than 2000 employees, having almost doubled its staff numbers this year.
    Mr Adams said the fundraising was validation and a vote of confidence from investors in Canva’s plans and its growth.
    “For us, it means that we can continue on this kind of crazy growth journey that we’ve had for a few years, probably since the start of Canva,” he said.
    Canva plans to use the fresh capital to double its workforce again in the coming year and invest in marketing and product development. The startup is also launching a website creation product, tapping into the trend of people creating their website instead of sending a resume or presentation materials to showcase their work.
    The startup is part of the 1 per cent pledge where businesses pledge 1 per cent of equity, 1 per cent of profits, 1 per cent of time and 1 per cent of product. However, Ms Perkins and Mr Obrecht have also committed the “vast majority” of their equity in Canva to “do good in the world” through the Canva Foundation.

    The couple want to focus on poverty and are launching a pilot program with the non-profit organisation,GiveDirectly, to distribute $10 million to impoverished people in Southern Africa using mobile payments.
    Mr Adams, whose stake in Canva is estimated at $6 billion, said he was also backing the Canva Foundation and would actively deploy capital towards biodiversity and climate change initiatives and supporting startups and entrepreneurs.
    Rick Baker of Blackbird Ventures, which is Canva’s biggest shareholder aside from the founders with a 14 per cent stake, said raising money so quickly after the last raise allowed Canva to build a “nice war chest of cash in the bank” and to keep growing at its 100 per cent growth rate.
    “Canva’s success reflects 2,000 new jobs, 1000 of which didn’t exist last year,” he said. “When you see companies that have this sort of scale it starts to begin to move the needle on the future prosperity of Australia.”

    Melanie Perkins was born in Perth, Western Australia. She is the daughter of an Australian-born teacher and a Malaysian engineer of Filipino and Sri Lankan descent.

    https://www.smh.com.au/business/ent...EtKkbTxDlxsIQRCZjqiZ9TTjeg#Echobox=1631660305
     
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    Mandalorian

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