Canva hit by $20billion blow after Blackbird Ventures slashed software giant’s valuation

Huge blow for young Aussie founders of tech start-up Canva as the darling of the sharemarket is hit by a brutal $20BILLION setback

  • Graphic design software group Canva has had valuation slashed by $20billion
  • Had a value of AU$54billion on the Australian share market 10 months ago
  • Venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures reduced Canva’s value by 36 per cent

An Australian tech start-up once worth more than Telstra and Woolworths has been hit with a devastating blow after its value plummeted by more than a third.

Graphic design software group Canva was a darling of the Australian share market 10 months ago, with an estimated market capitalization of AU$54 billion.

The start-up – founded by young Aussies Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht a decade ago – more than doubled its value in the space of five months.

But the company has now taken a massive tumble after a key investor slashed the company’s value by 36 per cent.

Venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures reduced Canva’s value by $20 billion.

Canva’s founders Melanie Perkins, her husband Cliff Obrecht and their friend Cameron Adams (right) have seen the start-up’s valuation plummet by more than a third

The move also wiped off some of the net worth of Canva’s founders – Melanie Perkins, her husband Cliff Obrecht and friend Cameron Adams.

Blackbird Ventures stressed other public and private tech companies have also seen their value drop by a third in the last quarter due to the ‘brutal’ market conditions.

‘After an unprecedented rise in valuations for both public and private technology companies during 2021, the first six months of this year saw a significant unwinding of these valuations,’ the company told news.com.au.

‘After an exuberant period in 2021, the public markets have been brutal on tech companies. The new holding valuation reflects this public market decline. It doesn’t reflect any reduction in Blackbird’s enthusiasm for Canva.’

Ms Perkins and her husband have a 30 per cent stake in the company with their value slashed from US$16billion to $6billion.

Canva founder Melanie Perkins was studying at uni when she came up with an idea to create easy-to-use graphics software to help schools make their own yearbooks.

Canva founder Melanie Perkins was studying at uni when she came up with an idea to create easy-to-use graphics software to help schools make their own yearbooks.

Canva vowed to bounce back stronger than before and insists its growth trajectory remains unaffected.

‘As a profitable company with large cash reserves, we see this period as a unique opportunity to double down on growth,’ a Canva spokesperson told the Australian Financial Review.

‘We continue to see unprecedented growth in teams and workplaces as they look to tighten budgets by consolidating their marketing and visual communication tools into Canva, and we’re confident that no matter the market conditions, we’ll exceed our current valuation in the not -too-distant future,’

Ms Perkins and her now husband started the multi-billion business from a Perth living room 12 years ago during the early stages of their relationship.

Canva had an estimated market capitalization of AU$54 billion last September.  Pictured are founders Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins

Canva had an estimated market capitalization of AU$54 billion last September. Pictured are founders Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins

The couple started with a bank loan and a tax rebate of $5,000, which they used to advertise online and send sample yearbooks to school.

They started Canva in 2013 – buying the URL canva.com for $2,500 – and moved to Sydney in 2014 to expand the business.

It now boasts 60 million customers across 190 countries worldwide, with over 2000 employees.

The couple announced plans to give away much of their wealth to numerous philanthropic causes after following last year’s $54 billion valuation.

They signed up to Bill Gates’ the Giving Pledge as part of their commitment to give away their fortune during their lifetimes.

‘We have this wildly optimistic belief that there is enough money, goodwill, and good intentions in the world to solve most of the world’s problems,’ the pledge letter stated.

‘We feel like it’s not just a massive opportunity, but an important responsibility and we want to spend our lifetime working towards that.’

Ms Perkins and her now husband started the company from a Perth living room 12 years ago

Ms Perkins and her now husband started the company from a Perth living room 12 years ago

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