How Canva Went From A Small PowerPoint Rival To A $2.5 Billion Enterprise Giant

By Amit Chowdhry ● May 21, 2019

Often compared to Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides, Australia-based Canva announced earlier this week that it raised $70 million at a $2.5 billion valuation. Bond and General Catalyst led this round of funding. Existing investors Felicis Ventures and Blackbird Capital also participated in the round.

Bond is a notable investor as it was founded by former Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker. This is Bond’s first investment since the venture firm launched in April.

Canva CEO Melanie Perkins told Business Insider that Canva is going to use this funding to invest deeply in the enterprise software space. About 80% of Fortune 500 companies have used Canva for making presentations so far.

“The growth of visual content is why Canva is growing so rapidly,” said Canva co-founder and CEO Melanie Perkins via Business Insider. “Teams rely on visual content more than ever before, and need to ensure their branding is cohesive across different offices and geographies and teams more than ever before.”

Founded in 2012 by Perkins, chief product officer Cameron Adams, and COO Cliff Obrecht, Canva launched as an alternative to PowerPoint. Using Canva, professionals are able to quickly make snappy presentations from a web browser or an app. Millions of people use Canva every month to also make posters and flyers.

“We’re doubling down on our services for workplaces,” Perkins added via Business Insider. “At an even greater rate, you hear teams saying ‘death by PowerPoint,’ and it is common sense, so we want to make that an amazing experience.”

It has been full steam ahead of Canva. About a day or two before the funding news, Canva had announced it acquired Pexels and Pixabay. Canva also announced this week that it launched a new subscription service for the Photos Unlimited image marketplace.

“We believe everyone should have access to great design ingredients for their visuals; this is why free content will always play a central role in Canva’s vision of democratizing design. Together with Pexels and Pixabay, we’ll be able to help people discover a whole new world of amazing, fresh content. With over 1 million images downloaded over 500 million times on their platforms combined, both Pexels and Pixabay have proven that there is a huge demand for free, quality content from small businesses, social media marketers and others — not just from designers and companies with big budgets,” noted Perkins about the acquisitions.

In a statement, Perkins also said that the funding round will be used for cementing Canva as the default tool in every workplace. And it will fuel the growth of the Canva Enterprise product so that larger brands and businesses can collaborate on projects.

“The Canva team are building their platform around three trends – content, community, and commerce – that we’ve been observing in some of the world’s fastest growing companies,” explained Meeker. “With its global user base of more than 15 million monthly active users, Canva is a clear leader providing a platform that empowers users to create compelling, data-rich visuals and gain design fluency through collaboration and feedback.”

Featured image: CEO Melanie Perkins via LinkedIn