One woman has become a great entrepreneur in today’s market, which is very competitive. She has shown that she can compete with tech giants like Microsoft and Adobe and stay in business.
The Australian entrepreneur has built a design platform that is a big rival to the tech giants. So, let’s look at the success story of Australian billionaire Melanie Perkins.
Childhood:— Born to an Australian mother and a Malaysian father, Melanie has had a multi-cultural family. Her parents come from engineering and teaching backgrounds. Melanie has had an entrepreneurial spirit since her childhood. She started her first business around the markets of Perth, where she sold handmade scarves at the age of 14.
Education:— For most of Melanie’s childhood, she attended Sacred Heart College. Melanie pursued her communications, psychology, and commerce careers at the University of Western Australia.
As part of her significant studies, she also taught basic computer design. This is when she realized that students require assistance when working with technical and complex platforms such as Photoshop and Illustrator. At 19, she dropped out of college to pursue her dreams of being an entrepreneur and having a business career.
Early Career:— It was with Cliff Obrecht, her husband, that Perkins co-founded her first startup, Fusion Books. It is a platform that allows students to design their school yearbooks using simple tools such as drag and drop, illustrations, fonts, and so on.
She started working on this platform at her mother’s, where her parents helped Perkins print these yearbooks. She started connecting with people in colleges and universities to get new clients for her business. It soon began to grow and became the largest yearbook company in Australia.
Journey with Canva: It was when Fusion Books performed very well, but Cliff and Melanie ran out of funds for growth and expansion. They wanted to seek assistance and assistance from venture capitalists, but they needed someone to agree with and believe in the idea first.
During this period, Fusion Books became Canva, Inc. Perkins and Obrecht had to work hard at first to get funding from investors. They had the opportunity to visit a prominent investor, Bill Tai, in 2011 in Perth.
Tai didn’t give them any money, but he invited them to kite-surfing events where many tech investors were present. Some of these meetings took place in Silicon Valley, where Perkins and Obrecht tried everything they could but didn’t get any help.
The launch of Canva: One fine day, they met with a former Google executive who, after years of struggle, came as a blessing. Cameron Adams joined the team and supported Canva in getting funding for the brand to grow.
In 2013, the company was officially launched after two rounds of seed funding, where Melanie Perkins was announced as the CEO of Canva, Obrecht as the COO, and Cameron Adams as the CPO of the company.
Canva started to grow and diversify its business operations at a rapid pace. They had over 600,000 users in the first year.The company also expanded its reach to places like Beijing and Manila. The company kept adding more distinguishing features to its platform as the years passed.
Even with just a negligible diversification outside Australia, Melanie got popular in Silicon Valley and among the tech businesses of the United States. In 2016, she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list for Asia. Melanie got popular in Silicon Valley and among the tech businesses of the United States.
In 2016, she was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for Asia. In 2020, Canva raised $60 million, and the company’s valuation went up to $6 billion, making Perkins the third richest woman in Australia with a net worth of $1.3 billion.
Growth of Canva: Perkins’s dream of building a graphic design platform that was easy to use with limited design skills came true with Canva. The platform has been a great alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator because it gives users a lot of ways to make their own graphics.Even when Adobe dominates the global market, Canva has an active user base of more than 30 million across 190 countries.
One of the rare stories in the startup industries is when Canva, in 2017, posted a profit of $1.86 million on $25.1 million in revenue in just the first half of the year. Melanie and her team have enabled access to more than 40,000 templates for their premium users. The platform works on a freemium business model.
Personal Life:— Cliff Obrecht was the long-time boyfriend of Melanie Perkins. They co-founded their first company, Fusion Books, and then Canva. During the trip to Cappadocia, Turkey, in 2019, Obrecht proposed to Melanie. Both are known for their philanthropic work, and most of their earnings go to charity.
Soon after they started going to places Tai invited them to fly kites, Melanie became interested in traveling. Perkins is very proud of her work and wants to continue growing herself and her design platform, Canva. More than 85% of Fortune 500 companies use Melanie’s platform.
Conclusion:— Being in the early ’30s of her life, Melanie Perkins has struggled and achieved a lot at a very young age. At the same time, she got happily married to Cliff Obrecht in January 2021, and both plan to have a successful and happy life building and growing Canva Inc. and helping people with all the possible resources they have.
Melanie believes that her community and connections are critical to her business’s success, and she hopes that she and her team will soon become global leaders in the tech design industry.
Courtesy: Startup Talky