CNBC: Melanie Perkins founded a unicorn by 30.

CNBC Make It Interview

Melanie Perkins’ $3.2 billion design platform, Canva, is one of the world’s most valuable female-led start-ups. CNBC Make It’s Karen Gilchrist met with the 32-year-old Australian entrepreneur in Sydney to find out how she’s taking on tech giants Microsoft and Adobe.

About Melanie (Wikipedia)

Melanie Perkins, the founder of the graphic design platform Canva, is making waves in the tech industry with her $3.2 billion start-up. The Australian entrepreneur sat down with CNBC Make It to discuss how she is taking on tech giants Microsoft and Adobe. Perkins dropped out of university at the age of 19 to pursue her first business, Fusion Books, which eventually led to the creation of Canva in 2013 with co-founders Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams.

Canva is a free graphic design platform that offers paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise for additional functionality. The platform includes templates for users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters, documents, and other visual content. In September 2021, Canva raised USD $200 million and announced a valuation of USD $40 billion.

Perkins, a former figure skater, credits her first business selling handmade scarves as the inspiration for her entrepreneurial drive. She noticed the difficulties students faced in learning design programs such as Adobe Photoshop, which led her to create Canva as a user-friendly design platform accessible to everyone, regardless of technical experience.

Canva has come a long way since its founding in Perth, Australia. In its first year, the platform had over 750,000 users. In 2015, Canva for Work was launched, focusing on marketing materials. By the 2016-2017 financial year, Canva’s revenue increased to A$23.5 million, and by 2017, the company reached profitability with 294,000 paying customers.

In 2018, Perkins announced that Canva had raised A$40 million from Sequoia Capital, Blackbird Ventures, and Felicis Ventures, valuing the company at A$1 billion. In May 2019, the company raised A$70 million from General Catalyst and Bond, and by October 2019, it had raised an additional A$85 million at a valuation of A$3.2 billion, launching an enterprise product.

Net worth (Wikipedia)

In 2020 Forbes named Perkins as one of the world’s “Top Under 30 of the Decade”. Perkins first appeared on The Australian Financial Review Rich List in 2020 with a net worth of A$3.43 billion. As of May 2021, The Australian Financial Review assessed her and Obrecht’s joint net worth as A$7.98 billion, on the 2021 Rich List; making them the tenth wealthiest Australians.As of January 31, 2022, Perkins estimated net worth is A$9.21 Billion (US$6.5B) as per Forbes Report.



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