Pre-launch web startup Canva raises $3m



blog If you’re experienced entrepreneurs such as the founders of new Australian web startup Canva are, you apparently don’t even need to launch your startup’s services or get any customers before being able to raise a significant amount of money to grow your operations. The startup this morning revealed it had picked up a $3 million seed round from a number of early stage investors and venture capitalists in Australia and Silicon Valley. The company’s media release:

Sydney, Australia — 20/03/13 — Australian startup Canva today announced it has raised a $3 million seed round from top Australian and U.S. investors including Matrix Partners, InterWest Partners and 500 Startups.

Accomplished angel investors Bill Tai, Director of Engineering at Facebook Lars Rasmussen, Yahoo! CFO Ken Goldman, and former Seek co-founder Paul Bassat and partner at Square Peg Ventures, have also backed the company. Commercialisation Australia contributed through its Early Stage Commercialisation program.

Canva is a simple-to-use online collaborative design platform which allows anyone to create professional quality designs. It’s the second startup for Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht, who previously launched online school yearbook design product Fusion Books in 2007, while studying at University. Cameron Adams, former lead designer at Google, has joined Canva as co-founder and Head of Product.

“We’re incredible excited to announce Canva,” said CEO Melanie Perkins. “This significant seed round demonstrates confidence in our team, product and vision.”

Melanie said the $3 million in funding came about after Cliff and her attended the MaiTai kiteboarding and entrepreneur conference in Hawaii. While there, they were introduced to a number of prominent Australian and U.S. investors.

“Our investors bring significant experience and expertise to the table and are accomplished entrepreneurs in their own right. These are people who’ve sat behind the wheel at some of Silicon Valley’s most successful tech companies,” she said.

Lars Rasmussen, Director of Engineering at Facebook and founder of Google Maps, said he was impressed by the founders: “The Canva story is highly compelling. This is a strong team with a big vision, and I’m thoroughly enjoying working with them. Design is moving into a more collaborative and social world, and I predict Canva will be leading the way.”

Commercialisation Australia CEO Doron Ben-Meir, commented: “It can be difficult for Australian companies to take innovative ideas to market. We’ve supported Canva because it’s a strong team with a truly innovative product and we think it has the potential to be a global success.”

Rick Baker, partner at Blackbird Ventures, said Canva’s team was a sign of growing maturity in the Australian startup scene.

“The desktop design industry is ripe for disruption and the Canva team are the best people for the job. The founders have attracted a stellar cast of international investors, and are proving you can launch a truly global company from Australia,” he said.

Image credit: Canva