Canvas is now worth $ 40 billion after a new capital injection of $ 200 million (USD) in a round led by T Rowe Price. New and existing investors took part in the round, including Franklin Templeton, Sequoia Capital Global Equities, Bessemer Venture Partners, Greenox Capital, Dragonier Investments, Blackbird, Felicis and Airtree Ventures.
This round strengthens Canvas as one of the most valuable private software companies out there, and it propels the Australian tech scene.
Co-founder and CEO Melanie Perkins and her team began working on the canvas in 2012, and launched the product in 2013. The basis behind it was relatively simple, but the technology itself… not so much everything.
Canvas allows anyone to design. Presentations, T-shirts, brochures, flyers … you name it. The first step in this is to create a really simple user interface, where people can drag and drop elements into their design, complete with hundreds of thousands of templates, without having to fine tune. The second step is to build a huge library of content from fonts to templates to imagery, GIFs and videos. The third step is to make that product accessible to everyone, whether it’s a platform, device, language or price.
Going after everyone, rather than just designers, has proven to be incredibly fruitful for the company. To be clear, designers still use Canvas for other products, such as layout elements designed in Figma and Sketch, and Canvas actually plays nicely with a variety of design software products. But Canvas has no intention of going head to head with Figma, Adobe or Sketch.
Perkins described it with the example of a business card. Designers will create business card components in the design platform of their choice, and then layout the template for business cards in Canvas, sharing the template with the entire organization. This way, when someone gets a title change or a new employee arrives, they can actually edit the card themselves and send it to print without the help of a designer.
TechCrunch asked Perkins why Canoa has not expanded the platform more aggressively into the workflow of professional designers.
“We want to replace the PDF,” Perkins said. “Instead of people sending PDFs back and forth between the designer and the client, designers can simply create a template for the use of the organization. It’s less important for us to be absolutely outstanding in things like vector design because there are amazing applications on the market that can be there. We really want to focus on that collaboration part. “
Although the bottom-up enterprise strategy is relatively popular these days, Canva was an early master of the model. Canvas launched as a free product, and over time the company introduced enterprise layers into the mix.
So far, Canvas has more than 60 million monthly active users in 190 countries, including big-name companies on the enterprise plan. These include Salesforce, Marriott International, PayPal and American Airlines. Canwa expects annual revenues to exceed $ 1 billion by the end of 2021. More than 500,000 teams are paying for production in some capacity.
With a team of 2,000 people, Canva will use the new funding to double the number of its employees next year.
Canway also shared its DEI numbers, with women representing 42 percent of employees. The company has not shared any statistics around people of color in the team.
Perkins explained to TechCrunch that a large part of the company’s growth is due to its passion to create highly valued free products.
“We deliberately make our free product extremely generous for a number of reasons,” Perkins said. “It’s important for our marketing and our mission to empower people to design. But, as part of our marketing, it means that people can love the product, share it with their friends and family, and promote it on social media. And then that virality really speeds up our growth. “
With the team growing, Canva also plans to roll out production next year, launching a website design soon. This will allow users to turn existing and new presentations and designs into a website and find and purchase domains for that site.
Canva is also working on a new video editor and offline mode.
Perkins says the canvas has two goals, and it fuels each other. The first is to become one of the most valuable companies in the world, and the second is to do as well as it can.
The company has already joined the 1% pledge and has made many efforts to become a force for good, including providing premium products to more than 130,000 nonprofits, allocating more than 45,000 volunteer hours each year and launching Print One, Plant One. Which is a project that plants a tree for every print order placed by Canvas.
With today’s fundraising announcement, the founders Perkins and Cliff Obract, with plans to do this by the Canvas Foundation, are committed to making the most of their own equity (about 30 percent) in the company better in the world.
Perkins will join us with Disruption to talk about new funding, appraisals, what to store for Canvas and share his broad ideas on design as a category.