Category Archives: VENTURE CAPITAL

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

What’s the future of crowdfunding?

Leader-Jon Medved's site OurCrowd has described itself as Kickstarter for rich people image www.money-au.com

Leader: Jon Medved’s site OurCrowd has described itself as “Kickstarter for rich people”. Photo: Bloomberg

Instead of taking pledges from individuals in return for a reward or service, such as the campaigns offered by Kickstarter and Pozible, equity crowdfunding allows individuals to invest for financial return in the business.

Described by Forbes as “one of the largest crowdfunding organisations on the planet” and The Wall Street Journal as “Investment of the Week”, Medved’s pioneering site OurCrowd has raised $60 million for 47 portfolio companies since its launch in February 2013.

Self-described as a “Kickstarter for rich people”, OurCrowd links accredited investors willing to put forward a minimum of $US10,000 with carefully vetted start-ups looking for funding, and joins AngelList, CircleUp and the UK’s Crowdcube as the current leaders in the industry.

It’s the kind of investment, Medved says, that will soon change the world of innovation finance as we know it.

“Equity crowdfunding is one of those hugely under-hyped things. People don’t understand how massive it is going to become. There is real science behind the wisdom of the crowd. The difference between now and 10 years ago is that we had no way to harness this wisdom or power,” says Medved.

“Just think – the iPhone is less than seven years old; the iPad three or four. People make fun of Facebook or Twitter, but they have unleashed a series of platform capabilities that are changing the way that we do business, and in terms of finance and funding, the impact is absolutely fundamental.”

Australians will particularly benefit from the “level-playing field” that equity crowdfunding creates in a hitherto “stuffy” market, says Medved.

“The whole innovation finance world has been closed and restricted, geographically as well as by class and economic status. If you were outside of Silicon Valley or Israel then tough luck,” Medved says.

“Until now, the average Aussie ran a wonderful super plan but has been frozen out of most of the innovation because of the tyranny of distance and lack of connections. We already have 500 people from Australia active on our platform with tens of millions of dollars invested in crowd-funding.”

The advantages also extend to isolated start-ups in need of funding, such as the second Aussie company about to be endorsed by OurCrowd.

“Imagine you live in Bulgaria or Thailand and you have a cool idea for a start-up, but no money and no culture of investment. Crowds are now transnational – we have people from 114 countries investing in what could be two men and a dog in a garage with a brilliant idea,” says Medved.

“The future of Aussie tech is hugely positive, especially in a market where minerals and mining are less attractive and Aussies are looking for a little buzz in their portfolios.”

Equity crowdfunding is not yet legal in Australia. A report by the now-defunct Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee last year recommended it be formalised, saying crowdfunding may play a key role “in the development of innovative start-up and other small enterprise companies”.

Aussie crowdfunding platforms Pozible and OzCrowd along with incubators York Butter Factory are currently in round table discussions with Small Business Minister Bruce Billson about the best approach to legalise equity crowdfunding.

Claire Merquita, HR manager at Pozible, says the company are buoyed by Billson’s stated intention to have legislation put before parliament in spring this year.

“It’s still early days for us and a lot depends on the outcome of the registration process, but we’re planning to be key players in this arena,” says Merquita.

Started in 2010, Pozible has so far raised over $31 million for over 8000 projects, experiencing a 50 per cent increase in revenue raised in the last year, and launching in China.

Pozible are currently focusing on creative partnerships with federal and state governments that match creative projects dollar for dollar up to $10,000.

“Crowdfunding started very grassroots and emerged from creative industries. Now we’re seeing it move on to other industries, including the private sector very fast,” says Merquita.

Medved agrees that getting the regulations right is important.

“Equity crowdfunding is just getting start and we need to make sure it’s being done responsibly. The consumer is going to have to be careful and the regulators working over time,” says Medved.

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Henry Sapiecha

FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR A VARIETY OF AUSTRALIAN BUSINESSES & REAL ESTATE AS WELL AS PROJECT FINANCE

IT SEEMS WE HERE IN AUSTRALIA HAVE COME OF AGE & ARE BEING OFFERED A GREAT ASSORTMENT OF FINANCE OPTIONS. THESE PACKAGES ARE BEING OFFERED BY A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT ENTITIES & MOSTLY ARE PRIVATE LENDERS LOOKING FOR A BETTER RETURN.

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OPTION [A]…These vary from loans up to $250k for filling a gap in your cash flow for a period of between 3months to 24 months. Real estate is not required but the ‘loan’ will be bsed on a % of your turnover per month & you must have some figures for at least 6 months.

The interest rate is negotiable based of various factors taken into account by the lenders

A leasehld business with no freehold property component still can qualify for a loan, This business could be a bakery, supermarket, distribution or manufacturing business or ones that are trade or sales based… So long as you have some numbers.

Start up business from scratch is another field where venture capital will be required.

You do not have to be buying your work premises nor your home as the loan is based on t/o.

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OPTION [B]…Project & construction finance for a variety of models, including sub-divisions, commercial, industrial. rural, unit & residential development & civil works etc. These loan providers will go to $25m per project. What do you need?. Enquire now… Interest rates depend on what is involved as well as the security & risk factor.

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OPTION [C]…House & or land purchases funded by private lenders. Banks may be hard on you, but these people are a little more understanding for a slightly higher interest rate for their $$$.

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OPTION [D]…Fast Caveat Loans / Bridging Finance  … This Finance is Australia’s largest short-term business lender and the funder of choice for fast, short- term business loans…. otherwise known as short-term caveat loans or business bridging loans.   As we make the decisions “in house”, this enables us to give you an answer on your application within ONE HOUR. (in most cases)   In addition, we do not require valuations or financials, which enables HomeSec Business Finance to be able to genuinely settle loans in just 24 hours!  Send us an email to learn more on Short Term Business Loans and how they can benefit you.
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*The various finance providers are yet to supply me with more details as to how their preferred models should be with guidelines for the borrower & on receipt of same they will be posted here for your access. In the meantime email me with your enquiries & I shall see the appropriate finance provider to assess your needs & do an official application if necessary to facilitate your funding requirements.

More options will be added to this site as they become available & I am made aware of themcomponent-qared arrow banded to leftFOR ENQUIRIES CLICK HERE WITH YOUR DETAILS

Henry Sapiecha

sydney skyline