It might be very difficult for a layman to understand what does this company exactly do, how possibly do they generate their revenues, etc. but then in these modern times if you go to see their functions are very much related to what we do!
Let’s give you a feel of what exactly is Canva! It is a free, basic, graphic layout web-application that allows you to pick a business card, poster or any other available template and combine their own graphics with text, or use free basic images designed in-house to probably making your website, etc! It also has a library of more than a million premium photographs and illustrations that the team has sourced from professionals that can be purchased and used for $1 each. In other words, Canva is this cool one-stop destination which allows people to create flyers, birthday and business cards, Facebook covers, posters, info graphics and other designs for free.
The idea of Canva was originally born out-of another idea in the year 2007! During that time, it was said that Melanie Perkins – co-founder, Canva was teaching the students of University of Western Australia, how to use programs such as InDesign and Photoshop, and realized that most of the students found it extremely difficult to cope with understanding the very basics of it.
So in an attempt to simplify the process, created an online tool to create school yearbooks, called “Fusion Books,” with assistance from her friend and co-founder Cliff Obrecht.
Although, Fusion Books was a success and is still doing amazing business in their home country Australia followed by New Zealand & France, the technology that it was using was far more advanced and had applications beyond that of creating just yearbooks, so with aims of bringing about a change for a larger audience, they found Canva in August 2012!
Now, they required a person who could be third but techie co-founder so eventually they zeroed down to Cameron Adams who had earlier worked at Google Wave as their lead designer.
The potential of their product was such that they received their first ever seed funding worth USD 3-million in March 2013 from myriad investors including Twitter investor Bill Tai, Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen, Commercialization Australia, Matrix Partners, InterWest Partners, Blackbird Ventures, and a few others.
This, in its own way was a huge achievement and along with that, doors to connections with the most influential people in the Silicon Valley also opened.
Now the biggest surprise of all was that the product was just founded when it got funded, and did not launch for the public until May 2013. This also demonstrated tremendous confidence of the team, vision and the product itself.
The beauty of their product was that, unlike other paid design softwares such as Adobe, it was far more simplified and affordable for the masses.
After their launch, they introduced design templates which specifically focused on real estate market to simplify their complicated process.
And due to their unique and utterly straightforward product, it wasn’t difficult to digest that within a few months Canva had crossed more than half a million users who had created around 3 million designs.
In April 2014, they made it to the headlines of almost every newspaper when the small startup in a matter of months managed to rope in Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s former chief evangelist, to spread the word about its service.
Soon after that, they pitched in for another round of investment of about USD 3.6-million around July 2014 which was collected from a group of Square Peg Capital, Blackbird Ventures (Australia), Matrix Partners, Shasta Ventures & Founders Fund.
If that was not news for you then surely this would pop your eyes out coz soon after the fund raiser they launched an inimitable ‘Canva button’ – a plug-in that allowed the Canva service to be integrated into third-party websites which would indirectly help its users to easily create graphics without leaving their page.
And then there was no looking back for them!
Presently, the company since their launch has grown gradually to reach on to a valuation of approximately more than USD 13-million. Along with that their user base has grown to reach 600,000, with more than 3.5 million designs created. Due to this growth, the employee strength has also grown from five to the current 26 and are still hiring. Currently, USA, Australia, the UK, Canada, and India are respectively the top markets for their service.
The company is very young at this point and a verdict can definitely not be given and although, the company has not brought about any constant and / or many changes to stay in headlines but keeping in mind their well-planned business strategy & model, unique product and increasing loyal user base, it should not at all be difficult for them to gain momentum and bypass their potential competitors in the recent future.