Sequoia Capital China has participated in a US$40 million round in Sydney-based graphic design start-up Canva. The deal values the firm at roughly US$1 billion, making Canva Australia’s first "unicorn," a term used for private companies valued at US$1 billion or more.
The round was led by Australian investment firm Blackbird Ventures, with participation by American boutique venture fund Felicis Ventures, according to an announcement by Canva.
Canva was launched in 2013, after CEO and Co-founder Melanie Perkins partnered with co-founder Cliff Obrecht to launch on online design tool named Fusion Books for students and teachers to create their own yearbooks. The tool has since been expanded to provides access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. It is used by non-designers as well as professionals.
In the press release, Perkins said that while investments from previous rounds remaining untouched, they decided to take on additional capital to pursue new global opportunities and rapidly advance its core product offering.
“Canva is making huge strides in democratizing design for everyone. Its product growth and adoption across many demographics is truly exceptional," said Rick Baker, Partner at Blackbird Ventures. "In just four years, Melanie Perkins and her team have taken the startup from humble beginnings in Australia, to what has now blossomed into one the fastest growing software businesses of all time."
Canva is available across all operating systems across 190 countries and has more than 10 million users, according to the company. It has 250 staff.
According to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, Canva tripled revenue to A$23.5 million ($18 million) and narrowed after-tax losses to A$3.3 million in the 12 months ended June 2017.
The company raised US$15 million from Blackbird Ventures and Felicis Ventures in 2016 and a US$15 million series A round from Felicis Ventures in 2015.