Design start-up Canva ready for prime time

Company to mark its first anniversary on the market with more than half a million users who have created around 3 million designs.

Online design service Canva will mark its first anniversary on the market with more than half a million users who have created around 3 million designs.

Canva co-founder and chief product officer Cameron Adams said growth had been “fantastic” since it launched about 10 months ago.

Canva has been working on the product since August 2012 which allows people to create flyers, birthday and business cards, Facebook covers, posters, info graphics and other designs for free by visiting Premium images cost $1 each.

Mr Adams said Canva has 575,000 users compared with more than 280,000 users six months ago. Then, more than 1 million designs had been created.

“Reception has been so positive ... it’s blowing our minds,” Mr Adams said in an interview with The Australian.

“Our revenue growth has outstripped the growth of our users,” he said with providing specific sales figures.

He attributed the growth rates to various factors, including effective marketing strategies -- especially on social networking sites -- and the appointment of Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s former evangelist, to spruik its wares.

Mr Adams said Mr Kawasaki was a “brilliant” evangelist for Canva and likened him to a human megaphone for the outfit.

 “We’ve also found the right stories to tell about Canva (and that has attracted people to the site),” he said.

Canva prides itself on making it simple for anyone to be a designer. It’s a much more affordable option compared with purchasing design software such as Adobe.

The start-up is weeks away from launching design templates specifically for the real estate market which will be another potential revenue stream.

Mr Adams said most real estate agencies outsource their design work because they think it’s a complicated process.

“We will have documents and designs suited to their needs to make it easy for real estate companies to turn around this work quickly and easily,” he said.

Mr Adams said Canva employs “north of 20 people” who are mostly based in Sydney. It had 12 employees in August.

Canva has raised $3 million in seed funding from myriad investors including Twitter investor Bill Tai, Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen, Commercialisation Australia, Matrix Partners, InterWest Partners, Blackbird Ventures, Seek co-founder Paul Bassat’s Square Peg Capital, Yahoo chief financial officer Ken Goldman and former CVC Asia-Pacific chief Adrian MacKenzie.

Mr Adams said the company was not looking for more funding as it prepares for “big product launches with new features” in the next six months.

Last August Mr Tai told The Australian that the online design tool had global appeal.

“Canva’s founders have had a bold and consistent vision to empower everyone to unlock their creativity by coupling a smooth and simple user experience on top of a powerful engine,” Mr Tai said.

“Apple did this with the smartphone and it greatly expanded the market.

“It’s been exciting to see the team deliver on their promise with great execution on the product.”

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