Who Founded Canva?

(business story)

Canva, an online design platform for creating social media graphics, presentations, merch, and websites, is a prime example of a “femtech” breakthrough founded in 2013 by Melanie Perkins. It has quickly become popular among professionals and amateurs.

Strange as it may seem, her “workcation” became the starting point for sponsoring her start-up. In 2007, while teaching fellow students basic computer design as part of her communications and commerce studies, Melanie had an idea to make design really simple. She created a startup, ‘Fusion Books,’ to help students with school yearbooks. It was already successful, but to expand her possibilities she needed to find funding.

In 2011, Bill Tai – a Silicon Valley venture capitalist came to Perth to play in Perth’s killer waves. So, she decided to submit her idea to him, but Bill refused it. Nevertheless, because of him, Melanie Perkins took an interest in extreme water sports, and in the end, the wave-chasing connections paid off. Through the group, she met Cameron Adams, an ex-Googler who had founded a startup based in Sydney, with whom in 2012 she signed on as the third cofounder (the second one was her boyfriend Cliff Obrecht). It worked! Canva raised $3 million in seed funding in two tranches in 2012 and early 2013, including a crucial matching grant from the Australian government.

Nowadays, twenty-million-plus users from 190 countries use the company’s “freemium” Web-based app to design everything from easy Instagram pictures to multilevel business identities.

A young “shero,” Melanie Perkins, was able to build a successful business and give the whole world lightweight design, becoming a competitor to such industry giants as Adobe and Microsoft.

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