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Canva

Amazingly simple graphic design

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Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content. It is available on web and mobile, and integrates millions of images, fonts, templates and illustrations. Users can choose from many professional designed templates, and edit the designs and upload their own photos through a drag and drop interface. The platform is free to use, and paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise offer additional functionality. Users can also pay for physical products to be printed and shipped. As of 2019, Canva last raised at a $3.2 billion valuation and has over 20 million users across 190 countries.

Canva’s graphic-design templates help people create everything from posters and invites to business cards and web ads. The company’s core product is the increasingly flexible slideshow-maker Presentations, which now lets users edit slide decks on mobile devices (and optimize them for small screens); embed them with video, maps, and social media posts; and share them via live URLs.

Before Canva, creating a professional looking design was a complex process – you had to purchase expensive software; learn how to use it; purchase stock photography and fonts for the software; decide on a layout; slice images; receive photos and content via email; design something; upload and email the pdf only to find revisions needed to be made … and then finally be able to prepare your design for web or print.

Since launching in August 2013, Canva has been changing the way in which we communicate. Today our design tool has attracted over 15 million happy users across 190 countries, who have collectively created more than 1 billion designs. With an integrated marketplace that has both free and paid stock photography, fonts, illustrations, and thousands of templates; a paid subscription that offers the ability to set up a brand kit so users can save their brand colours, fonts and assets, and ensure consistency across their designs; and a print service that gives our users the ability to produce professional prints in a variety of formats and sizes, delivered straight to their doorstep – Canva is disrupting the way we design.

“We want to give presentations the interactivity that people have come to expect online,” says Melanie Perkins, cofounder and CEO. A new enterprise tool, released in the fall, lets companies set their own templates (with controls for colors, fonts, and logos), helping to maintain brand identity across large workforces. Today, Canva has more than 1 million people using its paid products, and more than 1 million presentations are created each week.

Inc Magazine recently pulled together 10 facts about Canva’s CEO Melanie Perkins:

1. Perkins began her first business in her mum’s living room.

Stemming from the same problem of clunky graphic design software, Perkins started a  company focused specifically on yearbook designs, allowing schools to choose their layouts and colors. To launch the company, she set up shop in her mother’s living room, and eventually took over most of the family home. Fusion Books is still operating today and is the largest yearbook publisher in Australia, where Perkins is from.

2. She loves to start her day on Twitter.

While most believe mornings shouldn’t be for social media, Melanie disagrees. For her, logging onto Twitter, along with journaling, jump-starts her day. “I love reading tweets from our Canva community and have just started using the Five Minute Journal, where you write the answers to a few questions, such as ‘I am grateful for…’ and ‘What would make today great,'” said Perkins in an interview with Thrive Global. “It’s a lovely way to start the day and helps to ensure I’m proactively shaping my day ahead.”

3. She’s known as one of the coolest people in tech.

In 2016, Business Insider ranked Perkins No.3 on their list of the coolest tech people in Australia. She follows Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founders of the multibillion dollar software company Atlassian.

4. Getting investors wasn’t easy.

Living in Australia made it hard for Perkins to reach out to large tech investors, many of whom were based in Northern California. Before striking it lucky, Perkins lived with her brother for three months in San Francisco, pitching to over 100 venture capitalists — all of whom rejected Canva. “I remember thinking, ‘Why is this so hard?'” Perkins said in an interview. Her luck, however, would change soon enough.

5. Hollywood celebrities were among the first to invest.

While Perkins struggled to get investors early on, she eventually caught the interest of actors Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson. After learning how to kite surf to impress venture capitalist (and kite surfing connoisseur), Bill Tai, Perkins was introduced to the celebrities. Both of the Hollywood stars liked her idea and invested in Canva, along with Tai.

6. Everyone struggles in the beginning, says Perkins.

Perkins wants people to know that everyone fails, even if it’s not apparent. “I think it’s pretty important to know that every single person is going through their own trials and tribulations,” she said. “Knowing that it’s tricky for everyone, that any adventure will be filled with rejections and littered with obstacles — somehow makes the adventure a little less lonely. And it’s most important for people who feel like they are on the outside to know this.”

7. She’s ranked as one of Australia’s richest women.

Not only is Perkins one of the coolest people in Australia, she’s also one of the richest women in the country. According to Australian Financial Review, Melanie ranks No.17 on their 2018 Young Rich List, which highlights the country’s wealthiest young people, from supermodels to entrepreneurs. As Canva’s CEO, Perkins is reportedly worth $177 million.

8. It’s important to set time aside, says Perkins.

Perkins has acknowledged that running Canva can take up a lot of time. That’s why she finds it so important to carve out time for herself. “I find going away on holidays, even for the weekend or a week, can be incredibly refreshing,” explained Perkins on LinkedIn. “I personally like to go on quite adventurous holidays, as it doesn’t give me time to let my mind think about other things. It’s important to give your brain a break sometimes so it can come back refreshed.”

9. Perkins is proud to support 25,000 nonprofit organizations.

While Canva supports many businesses or customers, Perkins loves to hear how her company supports charitable organizations. In an interview with Entrepreneur, Perkins said her platform currently houses 25,000 nonprofits that use Canva for fundraising. “That’s what makes all of the work worth it,” said Perkins.

10. Australia is still home.

While Canva is used all over the world, Perkins is still based in Australia. The company’s main office is based in Sydney, and Perkins hopes her home country will soon be a leader in entrepreneurship. “I would love to see in years to come Australia becoming synonymous with a disproportionate number of great innovators who are hard at work solving the world’s real problems with great products,” said Perkins on LinkedIn.

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