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Aussie Tech Tsarina Perkins Shoots Up The Nations Rich List

SYDNEY: Melanie Perkins has become one of Australia’s wealthiest women after her technology start-up Canva, which she founded with partner Cliff Obrecht, shot up in value after its latest big capital raising.

Canva raised US$60 million in its latest investor round, reportedly giving it a valuation of $6 billion, nearly twice the market capitalisation of Box and close to that of Dropbox.

Perkins and Obrecht, pictured, founded the digital graphics business from a venture they started in their native Perth. It has since raised more than $400 million from investors. At 32, Perkins, who now owns about 15 percent of Canva, is Australia’s youngest billionaire. 

Headquartered in Sydney, the graphics design software company is one of the many technology outfits that have benefited from the work-from-home trend entrenched by Covid-19.

The company has doubled its paid user base, which has topped 500,000 organisations and totals around 1.5 million subscribers to its paid account type, Canva Pro.

Canva raised its latest funds from existing shareholders such as Australian outfit Blackbird Ventures and China’s Sequoia Capital.

Between them, Perkins and Orbrecht are estimated to be worth around $2.5 billion. That puts her at number three on The Australian’s list of richest women behind Gina Rinehart – like Perkins a West Australian – and TPG’s Vicky Teoh.

Canva will use the funding to continue to expand its collaboration tools, launch an office in Texas to serve as its US enterprise hub and to provide the company with more cash reserves amid the uncertainty of the COVID19 pandemic.

Footnote: Perkins and Orbrecht got engaged last year with a ring that cost Obrecht $30.

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