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What small design businesses can learn from Canva’s rise to billions

Small businesses that specialise in design services can learn a lot from Canva – a product that offers simple solutions to advertising and marketing challenges many businesses face.

Advertising, branding, and marketing can make or break a business. This digital services sector is home to many success stories. While some successes are bigger than others, Australian-born Canva takes the cake.

Simplicity and Solutions: Canva’s Rise to Billions

What started as a simple idea has grown into a billion-dollar start-up, established by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht in 2012. The accessible graphic-design website rapidly gained limelight as it offered a unique solution to design challenges, allowing users access to free templates and designs. Its launch saw a steady rise in market value, and more recently it has been valued at a jaw-dropping $AUD 54.5 billion, following an investment of $US 200 million. Its market valuation has doubled since April 2021.

Perkins expressed her gratitude in a post, stating that she would like her company to grow into the most valuable global competitor, and do the most good that she can.

“Today, we are very pleased to share the news that Cliff and I will be committing the vast majority of our equity (30% of Canva) to do good in the world, and plan to do this through the Canva Foundation”.


The concept was simple; create a design solution that was accessible, online, collaborative, and easy to use. All this points to a key lesson for design start-ups. A unique solution will always find its way to the global stage if it is defined by commitment and a strong business model. While it’s great to have an outstanding idea, it needs to solve a problem simply and effectively.

All start-up ideas, no matter how small, should always have their target audience in mind. This user-orientated perspective, alongside simplicity and efficiency, attracts investors.

For those in the design service industry – the world is your oyster. This is especially true for those looking to buy a specialised digital service. There is room for development, growth, and investment, if you can bring innovative ideas to the table. Innovative design software is changing the way people do business, and if you play your cards right, you can eliminate tedious tasks, and focus on what really matters – growing your business. Focusing on ways you can reinvent user experience and collaboration is also a significant opportunity.

By: Megan Kelly


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