Melanie Perkins becomes the world’s richest self-made female billionaire under the age of 40.
She is the Co-founder and CEO of the designing app CANVA.
The latest funding round makes the Sydney-based firm the 5th largest startup in the world.
Her journey –
When Perkins was 22 years old she pitched her start-up idea to the Silicon Valley technology investor Bill Tai. He put her in touch with a network of other investors, engineers, and developers.
In the meantime, she was a commerce and communications student at the University of Western Australia. She decided to quit her studies and focus on her idea.
During her time at University, she found it difficult to work on programs like Adobe Photoshop which was quite complicated to make any design. It required completing multiple procedures to do a task.
She wanted to simplify the design process and this is when she pursued her first business with Cliff Obrecht (her then-boyfriend).
Fusion Books, a website that allows high schools to design their yearbooks online. One led to another then came CANVA.
How Canva was launched –
In 2012 when she turned 34, she and her team started working on the idea.
And in 2013 they launched the app.
The objective of Canva was simple :
1. Offer design templates for people to make everything. From Facebook posts to creative resumes to occasion posters to everything one could imagine of
2. Countless templates into which folks can simply drag and drop files to make any design
3. Massive library of content comprising fonts to images to videos
4. Everything free of cost
What Perkins has to stay about this –
Perkins and Obrecht, who married earlier this year, said in an interview this week that they aren’t slowing down.
“We want to build one of the world’s most valuable companies,” said Perkins, who is the chief executive officer. “We’re moving in the right direction, but we’re not there yet.”
Meanwhile, the pair’s new fortune makes them the 9th- and 10th-richest people in Australia, according to the Bloomberg index.
Canva users have created more than 7 billion designs, but Perkins wants it to become ubiquitous.
That includes ultimately replacing PDF resumes with responsive web-based tools.
She and Obrecht own at least 30% of the company, Perkins disclosed in a Medium post that accompanied news of the company’s valuation. In her latest Medium post, Perkins vowed that she and Obrecht would donate the vast majority of their Canva equity.
The couple plans to direct its giving through the Canva Foundation and announced a program with the nonprofit GiveDirectly that will distribute $10 million to the poor in Southern Africa.
“It has felt strange when people refer to us as billionaires as it has never felt like our money,” Perkins said in a statement.
“We’ve always felt that we’re purely custodians of it. It’s long been our intention to give the wealth away.”
Canva currently has a customer base of 60 million users in 190 countries.