Meet Melanie Perkins, one of the wealthiest women in Australia and the CEO and co-founder of multi-billion dollar tech company Canva.
The 32-year-old Filipino Australian tech entrepreneur has a net worth of $1.3 billion, making her the third richest woman in Australia, according to International Business Times.
Perkins and then-fiancé Cliff Obrecht started out small before founding their billion-dollar company. The couple launched an online school yearbook design business in 2007 called Fusion Yearbooks which aims to help people struggling to use designing programs and to make the “yearbook creation process easy and fun for everyone,” according to their About Us page.
“My mum’s living room became my office, and my boyfriend became my business partner, and we started enabling schools to create their yearbooks really, really simply,” Perkins told CNBC in January.
Then, in 2010, Perkins was invited by Silicon Valley investor Bill Tai to pitch her ideas. He eventually connected Perkins to his other high profile contacts. Perkins also caught the attention of Hollywood actors Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson, who both invested in her company, Inc.com reported.
Perkins and Obrecht, along with co-founder Cameron Adams, founded Canva with the help of Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen and tech developer Dave Hearnden. Canva went live in 2013 and allowed users to create their own designs for free.
Canva now has millions of monthly users thanks to the website’s user-friendly interface which lets users drag-and-drop ready-made templates.
Obrecht told Forbes that more than 30 million people use Canva every month. He also said the paid user base has doubled, reached 500,000 organizations and 1.5 million paid subscribers on Canvas Pro.
The company also said its design creation and sharing increased by 50% during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canva is now worth $6 billion, up from its valuation of $3.2 billion last year. It raised $60 million in new funding led by Blackbird, an Australian venture capital fund, Chinese firm Sequoia China, and previous investors Bond, Felicis and General Catalyst.
The new funding will also allow Canva to open and expand in Austin, Texas to serve as the company’s U.S. enterprise.