Category Archives: MILLIONAIRES BILLIONAIRES

ANOTHER AUSSIE UNICORN: Design newbie Canva now valued at above $US1 billion in its latest capital raising

 

Melanie Perkins, co-founder of Canva. Photo: Supplied.

Online design and publishing platform Canva has become the first Australian start-up since Atlassian to join the elite ranks of Silicon Valley unicorns with a valuation in excess of $US1 billion ($1.28 billion).

The valuation is based on a $US40 million series A funding round. It is the sixth funding round since the company was founded 4½ years ago by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams.

The latest funding won the support of one of Silicon Valley’s top five venture capitalists, Sequoia Capital, which was an early investor in Apple, Google, WhatsApp, Cisco, Oracle, Yahoo and LinkedIn.

Canva chief executive Ms Perkins said the money raised from existing and new shareholders would be used to expand the company’s range of online design and publishing products.

“We are in 190 countries, in 100 languages and we have done about 1 per cent of what is possible,” she told The Australian Financial Review in an interview at the company’s Sydney head office in inner-city Surry Hills.

“I know we have a $US1 billion valuation but we like to say we are a baby unicorn,” Ms Perkins said. “There is a lot more to do before we are grown up.”

When asked about her ambition for Canva, Ms Perkins did not hesitate before saying: “I think we can make Canva the most valuable tech company in the world.”

To achieve that ambition Canva will have to expand its market value about 900 times to beat the $US890 billion valuation of Apple, the world’s largest company.

That goal sounds outrageous considering Canva lost $3.3 million in the year to June 2017.

But Rick Baker, a partner of Canva shareholder Blackbird Ventures, said Canva is possibly one of the fastest-growing software companies of all time measured in terms of percentage growth in recurring revenue.

The company earns revenue from a subscription model.

“Canva is making huge strides in democratising design for everyone,” he said. “Its product growth and adoption across many demographics is truly exceptional.”

Mr Baker first met Ms Perkins and Mr Obrecht in 2010 before they had launched Canva.

“I convinced them to delay their first seed funding round until after Blackbird Ventures was established,” he said.

“Our first investment as a venture capital firm was the $250,000 we invested in Canva.”

Breaking silos

Lots of smart money has supported the Canva business, including Australian entrepreneurs Paul Bassat from SEEK and Daniel Petre from AirTree Ventures.

The company has attracted heaps of attention in Silicon Valley USA.

Early investors were Google Maps founder Lars Rasmussen, legendary venture capitalist Bill Tai, former Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman and Hollywood actors Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson.

A number of Silicon Valley venture capital firms apart from Sequoia have backed Canva including Felicis Ventures, Vayner Capital, Matrix Partners and Shasta Ventures.

Ms Perkins admitted that Canva’s two major competitors were design software companies Adobe and Microsoft.

But she said Canva was built on breaking down the silos and complexity that are part and parcel of using the products sold by Adobe and Microsoft.

“The world is rapidly becoming more visual, yet traditional design tools in the market are too complicated to use, or so costly that they become inaccessible,” Ms Perkins said.

“Canva is designed to enable individual and teams to collaborate seamlessly, and our growing footprint is evidence of the widespread need that we are addressing.

“This extra financing will bring us that much closer to giving everyone the ability to thrive in an increasingly visual environment.”

Canva’s growth rates in terms of customer usage of its platform have been staggering.

After eight months of existence about 350,000 designs were being created each month. After 20 months of existence about 3 million designs were created each month.

Today, after 52 months in operation, Canva’s platform is handling about 34 million designs a month.

The idea for Canva had its roots in the lounge room of Ms Perkins’s family home in the northern Perth suburb of Duncraig. She and Mr Obrecht started a printing company called Fusion Books, which printed school yearbooks.

Cameron Adams, a former Google engineer, joined the company as a co-founder before its first round of seed funding in 2013.

Since then the company has raised $US81 million.

Atlassian became a unicorn well before it listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange with a valuation of $US6 billion in 2015. Its market valuation is now $US11.9 billion.

This post appeared at the AFR.com. See the original here.

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Henry Sapiecha

Palmer notches $200m court win against Chinese state-owned enterprise Citic Pacific

Clive Palmer has described his victory in the long-running royalties battle in the Pilbara against Chinese state-owned enterprise Citic Pacific as a “win for all Australians”.

Palmer was awarded around $200 million in damages and a further $200 million to be paid annually for the next 30 years by the Western Australian Supreme Court last week in the dispute over royalty payments.

The dispute stems back to dealings between the two parties in 2006. Citic had paid Palmer $US415 million as part of takeover agreement, which included two separate royalties, for the Sino Iron project.

However, Citic refused to pay the second royalty, causing Minerlogy to make the claim in court.

WA Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Martin ruled that Citic’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Sino Iron and Korean Steel pay Palmer’s Mineralogy the damages.

“This is a win for Australian law over Chinese Communist Government powerhouses who have wasted precious court time, resources and energy,” Palmer said.

“Many Australian companies have lost these battles because they haven’t been able to afford to fight them.

“For too long they have used their power to try and crush Australian enterprise and thankfully today justice has been served.”

Another hearing will take place this week to address remaining issues in the dispute.

Henry Sapiecha

Crystal Car Wash boss Anthony Sahade in a lather over council fine

Crystal Carwash boss Anthony Sahade is used to courtroom soap operas.

Mr Sahade, a Point Piper millionaire who has been in and out of Sydney courts for years over neighbourhood disputes on Australia’s wealthiest street, has most recently been in a lather about a fine from Randwick Council..He was expanding his wash facilites to cater for dogs

The council found an unauthorised dog washing set-up, including a basin and a fence, had been installed at a Crystal Car Wash site in Coogee in March 2015, and ordered its removal.

Mr Sahade then sought and was granted council approval for the dog grooming facility, and refused to pay a $1500 fine for the initial unapproved installation.

The matter went to court and his company Lenjade was convicted and fined $12,000, with $8000 legal costs.

Mr Sahade appealed the decision and last week the Land and Environment Court acquitted Lenjade, ruling there was not enough evidence to prove Mr Sahade directly authorised the development.

During the hearings, Mr Sahade likened managing franchisees to fatherhood.

“I tell my son, ‘You have to be home by 10 o’clock’ but he comes home at 11 o’clock and he uses his discretion and he’s sensible then it’s not a punishable sin. It’s no different to the franchisee having a go at putting a dog wash in to enhance his business,” Mr Sahade said.

“Even though it’s prohibited within the lease it’s not something that’s worth punishing him [for] because he’s doing what’s best for his business and what’s best for his business ultimately profits the whole Crystal Carwash chain.”

It is the latest in a string of legal proceedings involving Mr Sahade.

In 2014, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal ordered Mr Sahade and his son Victor not to “threaten or act in an aggressive manner” towards their neighbours on a battleaxe block on Wolseley Road.

www.australianmortgageloans.com

Senior member Richard Buckley said that, since May 2005, Mr Sahade’s conduct had been “characterised by a lack of civility, arrogance, threatening behaviour, a disdain for the rights of other lot owners and a disregard for the obligations imposed” by strata laws.

The same year, the Federal Court fined Crystal Carwash for underpaying workers by almost $180,000.

In 2012, Woollahra Council took Mr Sahade to court over a staircase at his mansion, which was built without permission.

Two months later, as Mr Sahade and a carpenter demolished the steps, a physical fight broke out with a neighbour.

CCTV footage of the fight captured Mr Sahade telling the neighbour: “You’re a goner”, various courts heard.

A magistrate dismissed assault charges against the car wash boss.

Henry Sapiecha

Gina Rinehart loses top spot in Forbes Australia’s rich list

AN EARLIER VIDEO COMMENTARY BY GINA RINEHART

Gina Rinehart is no longer Australia’s richest person.

In the past five years Ms Rinehart has topped Forbes Australia’s rich list,  but this year she has been unseated by another woman – reclusive American heiress and longtime Australian resident Blair Parry-Okeden.

GINA RINEHART BLK BACKGROUND image www.money-au.com

After the iron ore slump no more Australia’s richest person: Gina Rinehart. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams

Ms Parry-Okeden’s net worth of $US8.8 billion ($12.5 billion) makes her the country’s richest person (again) while Ms Rinehart has fallen to second place with a net worth of $US8.5 billion ($12.1 billion).

Forbes says Ms Parry-Okeden, who grew up in Hawaii and moved to her ex-husband’s country of birth Australia decades ago, was recently confirmed to be an Australian citizen.

After her mother’s 2007, death she inherited a quarter of US media conglomerate Cox Enterprises, America’s third-biggest cable TV company.

This is not the first time Forbes has named Ms Parry-Okeden as Australia’s richest person. She first took the title in 2009, overtaking mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest for the top spot

Forbes says Ms Rinehart’s wealth has slipped $US3.2 billion in the past year, mainly due to falling iron ore prices and a legal ruling which impacted her shareholding in Hancock Prospecting.

Ms Rinehart’s wealth erosion was the largest in dollar terms, but fellow iron ore miner Andrew Forrest’s wealth took the biggest percentage hit: down 41 per cent, sending him down 12 spots on the rich list to No. 22.

Property baron Harry Triguboff ranks number three on this year’s list, with a net worth of $US6.9 billion ($9.8 billion).

Rising rents and increased demand for his Sydney apartments helped drive up Mr Triguboff’s fortune by $US1.3 billion, Forbes says.

Property sales of his apartment tower development company, Meriton, are expected to rise 70 per cent this year.

The biggest winner on the rich scale in percentage terms was Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes. His wealth jumped 62 per cent to $US1.78 billion after the successful float of the software company on the US sharemarket in December. Atlassian’s co-founder, Scott Farquhar, is right behind him.

James Packer fell two spots to sixth rank with an estimated fortune of $3.5 billion.

TOP 10 RICHEST AUSTRALIANS:

1) Blair Parry-Okeden, $US8.8 billion

2) Gina Rinehart, $US8.5 billion

3) Harry Triguboff, $US6.9 billion

4) Frank Lowy, $US5 billion

5) Anthony Pratt, $US3.6 billion

6) James Packer, $US3.5 billion

7) John Gandel, $US3.2 billion

8) Lindsay Fox, $US2.8 billion

9) David Teoh, $US1.95 billion

10) David Hains, $US1.9 billion

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GIRL SHOPPING

Henry Sapiecha

www.acbocallcentre.com

Atlassian: the Australian millionaire factory. Story in videos & pics.

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Atlassian surges in debut

Shares of Australian business software maker Atlassian soar in their Nasdaq debut.

They’re known as the “Royals” and “the chosen ones” — the select few invited to be in New York on Thursday morning to ring the bells celebrating the opening of the stock exchange and Australian tech darling Atlassian’s massive IPO.

About 40 Atlassian employees — many of whom were hand-picked by co-founders Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar in the company’s early years — celebrated overnight as they became multi-millionaires and Atlassian became a company with a market cap of $US5.74 billion ($7.9 billion).

Atlassian, a leading provider of collaboration software for teams with products, opened for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market image www.money-au.com

Atlassian, a leading provider of collaboration software for teams with products, opened for trading on The Nasdaq Stock Market on December 10, 2015. Photo: Christopher Galluzzo

By the end of Thursday’s trading in the US, however, more than just those 40 became millionaires. Former Atlassian employees say more than 100 staff are now either millionaires or multi-millionaires.

It’s also understood the shares of a number of staff who joined in recent years are now worth six figures.

“There are going to be a hundred people who are going to be millionaires today — at least on paper,” a former Atlassian employee, who didn’t wish to be named, told Fairfax Media.

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar (right) and Mike Cannon-Brookes image www.money-au.com

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar (right) and Mike Cannon-Brookes. Photo: Trevor Collens

They added that the Royals had been “going out on lavish dinners and celebrations” while in New York in recent days and were already discussing how they should splurge their cash, and whether it should be on luxury cars.

Many are also considering investing their money in Australian start-ups, or starting their own.

“Mike and Scott’s legacy will be beyond Atlassian,” the former Atlassian employee said. “They want to make billionaires in Australia that are going to invest in Australian companies — the next wave of start-ups

Those likely to make the most from the IPO are those who joined between 2002, when the company started, and 2008. That’s when Atlassian offered employees the chance to buy shares at a much lower price than $US27, the price shares were trading for on Thursday as the market closed. For employees who were offered — and purchased — shares at 50 cents several years ago, their stake is now 5300 per cent more valuable.

While some employees chose to hedge their bets and sell some of their shares last year for $US16 to T. Rowe Price and Dragoneer Investment Capital in a financing round, many are understood to have held on to most of them.

When Atlassian received that financing, which valued the company at $US3.3 billion, Mr Cannon-Brookes declined to specify how many millionaires his company had made at the time, but said it was “not double digit”.

“That number [of millionaires] blew both Scott and I away,” Mr Cannon-Brookes said at the time to The Australian.

“That was probably the biggest achievement to come out of this [new investment] and [something] we hadn’t thought about.”

There’s never been a more exciting time to be an Australian — as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull would say — or, in this case, to be an Atlassian employee.

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Henry Sapiecha

Australia’s richest and poorest postcodes shown by tax statistics

blonde woman flashes oz banknotes image www.money-au.com

Australia’s richest and poorest postcodes revealed

ATO statistics reveal the country’s poorest and richest postcodes, with some surprises.

Australia’s richest live in harbourside Sydney and earn more than eight times the nation’s poorest, who live in rural NSW, Tax Office statistics show.

The latest Taxation Statistics for 2012-13, based on information people report in their tax returns, again highlights the enormous pay gap between the nation’s richest and poorest – there’s an average (mean) income difference of $155,823 between the richest postcode (2027) and poorest postcode (2403).

A total of 5980 Australia’s highest earners fell within postcode 2027, which takes in Edgecliff, Rushcutters Bay, Darling Point and Point Piper in Sydney. It took the number one spot in 2011-12 as well. In this area, which falls within Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate of Wentworth, the average taxable income was $177,514.

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In the poorest area, postcode 2403 in rural NSW, takes in Myall Creek – the site of the massacre in 1838 where 30 unarmed indigenous Australians were murdered – as well as Delungra and Gragin. Here there were 350 people and the average taxable income was $21,691.

The information, based on the returns of 12.77 million taxpayers, does not account for people in the cash economy or with money sitting in offshore tax havens. But it does take into account tax breaks such as negative gearing when assessing average taxable income.

The data also shows the nation’s highest earning professions. The top 10 included 3570 surgeons with average taxable income of $361,202.

The next highest earning professions were 3015 anaesthetists with average taxable income of $319,033; 7525 “internal medicine specialists” (diagnosing internal disorders) with taxable income of $263,601; 5090 financial dealers with average income of $219,213 and 2645 judicial and other legal professionals with an income of $192,189.

The remaining top 10 included psychiatrists, mining engineers, “other medical practitioners”, chief executives and managing directors and “generalist medical practitioners”.

In terms of postcodes, six of the top 10 richest were in inner and eastern Sydney, three were in Victoria, and one was in Perth.

Sydney’s harbourside eastern suburbs have once again topped the list of Australia’s richest postcodes

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The nation’s second richest postcode was the town of St Andrews in Victoria, which sits north-east of Melbourne. It’s the first time it has made the top 10, and given 655 people fell within the ATO’s data there, it’s possible the average ($148,967) is pulled up by one wealthy person. The ATO would not confirm this, saying it does not disclose information on individual taxpayers.

The third richest postcode nationally in 2013 was 2023, the eastern Sydney suburb of Bellevue Hill. There were 6945 people who lodged returns in this area, and the average taxable income was $143,112. In fourth place was postcode 6011 in Perth. It took in the suburbs of Cottesloe and Peppermint Grove, where average incomes were about $142,504, and 6610 individuals were included. The fifth was the Melbourne suburbs of Hawksburn and Toorak, which typically makes the top 10, and average income was $142,000.

In terms of the poorest postcodes in 2013, seven are in regional NSW, two are in Queensland (4613 and 4626) and one is in Victoria (3637). This is a slight change from 2012, when five of the 10 poorest postcodes were in Victoria.

The second poorest postcode in the nation is 2359, which takes in Aberdeen, Bakers Creek and Bundarra. Here the average income is $24,742. The third poorest is 2361, taking in villages of Ashford, Atholdwood, Bonshaw, Limestone and Pindaroi. Here the average income is $25,431.

The ATO has tweaked the way it reports the data, making comparisons with 2012 data difficult, but income levels remain roughly the same, although there has been a slight increase in taxable income in line with inflation.

The most charitable region in the nation was the ACT – with 109,121 people claiming $62.7 million in deductible gifts and donations. The average claimed in ACT per person was $575. Overall $2.3 billion worth of gifts and donations were claimed nationally, with the average claimed per individual totalling $504.

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Henry Sapiecha
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