Australian startup Canva has raised its series A round, worth US$15 million, it announced today. The investment was led by US-based venture capital firm Felicis Ventures. Existing investors Blackbird Ventures, Matrix Partners, and Vayner Capital also threw in some cash. American actors Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson also added a bit of the Tinseltown touch by joining in as investors.
The company says it is now valued at US$165 million.
Canva’s product is a suite of tools for the web and the iPad that make graphic design easy. Users can whip up a professional-looking image to use on their website or social media, even if they have no idea what Photoshop does besides making models look flawless.
Founded in 2012 by Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht, and Melanie Perkins, Canva’s tool is available for free to private users. Last month, the team launched an additional product called Canva for Work. This is available to corporate users and teams for a monthly charge of US$9.95 per user.
Canva for Work includes features like the ability to save templates for a particular brand, resize designs to fit different media, and organize assets into team folders for easier collaboration.
Speaking to Tech in Asia, Melanie says the startup has seen very positive response to the product, claiming that more than 35,000 teams all over the world are using Canva for Work. "We’ve found that a lot of business are turning toward the visual," the CEO points out. In an increasingly media-heavy culture, communication through images is an ideal way to get your message through a deluge of information.
Canva’s founders (from L to R): Cliff Obrecht, Melanie Perkins, Cameron Adams
1 million designs minted each week
Canva for Work is currently used by companies such as Yelp, Lonely Planet, Huffington Post, and Upworthy. The company says it has users across 179 countries and that more than 1 million designs are created with the service every week – Melanie breaks that down to more than two designs every second. The demand is such, she explains, that the startup has had to lift the tool’s limit of 100 people per team a few times.
The funding will be put toward expanding the company worldwide and recruitment across the board. "We want to get Canva into a lot more people’s hands," Melanie says. Felicis Ventures should prove a valuable partner, she explains, as the VC has experience in growing early-stage companies and can provide the support Canva needs to scale.
At the same time, Canva is launching a social impact-focused side of its product called Canva for Good. Canva for Work is already being used by organizations such as Amnesty International for generating images related to their activities, so Canva is making the tool free for use for charities and non-profits.
"We have seen the power of Canva to raise awareness for several issues," Melanie says. "It’s a huge uplift in [those organizations’] ability of getting their message out." The company claims that more than 180,000 non-profit organizations are currently using the tool.
"We want Canva to empower the entire world to design," Melanie relates. "We hope to make everything seamless and easy to use – take tools that were really complex and make them simple.”
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