Australian startup Canva recently raised another $19.8 million in funding, bringing its value to an estimated $458 million.
Canva, founded in 2012, describes itself as an easy-to-use graphic design platform to help every day people design products such as business cards, posters and social media posts.
It has more than 10 million users in over 179 countries. Included in the user base are many small businesses that rely on the platform for graphics creation, sparing the expense of hiring a designer or purchasing (and learning) Adobe Photoshop.
“Our vision is to create the platform that powers the modern workforce and enables everyone to communicate their ideas visually,” Canva CEO Melanie Perkins told Business Insider.
With the infusion of cash, she is well on her way to making that a reality, too.
How Canva Works
Canva has a broad range of design content in its library, including pre-sized social media images and templates for marketing materials, ads, blog graphics, ebooks, resumes and much more. And the list continues to grow constantly.
(For a detailed explanation on using Canva, read “What is Canva and How Do I Use It For My Business?” It provides step-by-step examples of how to create graphics. )
Signing up for Canva is free, but many of the stock images come with a price tag of $1 each. Users can upload their own images, to sidestep the cost.
One unique feature is the Canva Button, which lets website owners quickly design elements such as headers and banner ads using drag-and-drop technology. It adds a degree of customization to otherwise generic-looking template sites.
“Instead of just offering an ‘Upload’ button and expecting users to figure out the rest, the Canva Button enables a website’s users to easily create graphics without leaving their page,” wrote Perkins in a post on the official Canva blog describing the feature. “We want this to be accessible to everyone so the Button is free and can be implemented with just a few lines of code.”
The platform has received rave reviews from many quarters.
A PCWord article heralded it as an “amazing tool for the clueless and can come in handy for professionals too … The simplicity and richness of the tools will get you coming back for more every day.”
A user review at G2Crowd.com, a software review platform, said, “Our team faithfully used Canva for all kinds of projects. It allowed us to quickly and easily create beautiful, professional-looking designs using awesome templates, our fonts and color schemes.”
A couple of Canva users shared their enthusiasm on Twitter:
— ruth kerr (@innercisecoach) September 17, 2016
— Naomi Kay (@Craftednstyle) September 27, 2016
Other Graphics Design Tools
Of course, Canva is not the only design tool touting ease of use. Three others worth noting include:
Pablo. Created by Buffer, the social media management company, Pablo follows Canva’s lead by making graphics creation simple. It is more limited in scope than Canva but suffices for creating social media post content. Plus, it’s free to use.
PicMonkey. Another popular design tool, PicMonkey features photo editing, Canva-styled graphic design and a photo collage maker. PicMonkey costs $5 per month to use after a 7-day free trial.
BeFunky. Similar to PicMonkey, BeFunky also offers photo editing, graphics design and collage maker. The platform is supported by ads and free to use. For $4.95 per month, users can upgrade to remove the ads.
Canva is not a replacement for sophisticated design tools such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, but it makes basic graphic design more accessible to the masses. With the influx of cash and nine-figure valuation, the sky seems the limit on where Perkins and her team can take the platform.