A note to the Canva Community
An exciting update on Canva’s two-step plan
To the Canva community,
Today is a very special day for Canva — we have some exciting news that we’d love to share with all of you. News that has been many years in the making, that wouldn’t exist without the hard work, and support of millions of people like you all over the world.
There have been so many people who have contributed throughout Canva’s journey — from recommending us to their friends and colleagues to sharing Canva in their classroom, to our incredible team who have helped to build our product and company, and the many investors who have supported Canva’s growth and development over the years. Canva certainly wouldn’t exist without the contributions of many, many people, nor would this exciting news that I’m about to share…
Back in 2012, we set out with the crazy big goal of empowering the whole world to design. We believed that design was something that should be accessible to everyone, not just a privileged few. It shouldn’t matter where you live, your socioeconomic status, or even your computer experience — design should be accessible to everyone.
Why did we care so much about design? We believe that design goes far beyond the way something looks — design is a critical skill across almost all professions and industries:
- Designing a great resume enables people to land a job
- Creating great marketing materials enables small businesses to get their ideas off the ground
- Designing a great pitch deck enables people to turn their dreams into reality
- Creating cards helps people to celebrate important milestones
- Express their creativity and cheer themselves up when they need it
Empowering the world to design has been our mission for the last 10 years, and remains just as important as it was on day one.
In order to empower the world to design, we needed to simplify the whole design process and integrate everything into one place.
After many years (and a lot of learnings!), we launched the first version of Canva back in 2013. While our product has evolved a lot since those early days, the core premise has remained the same.
Today, Canva empowers more than 60 million people across 190 countries every month:
The Canva platform can be used to design everything for work and play: from presentations, videos, marketing materials to almost anything else you could possibly want to design:
Our community has created more than 7 billion designs, at a rate of more than 120 designs every second. And we have invested heavily to ensure that our community have all of the ingredients they need to succeed.
There are millions of small businesses, teachers and students, and people from organisations of all sizes, using Canva every day, including people like:
- Jess Ekstorm, the CEO and founder of Headbands of Hope, where for every headband purchased, another is donated to a child with an illness. Jess uses Canva to collaborate with her team across the US to create social media assets, website banners, email templates, and more.
- Tiana Day, the 18-year-old student who founded Youth Advocates For Change created a flyer in Canva that she says changed her life and sparked a Black Lives Matter protest across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in the summer of 2020, attracting more than 50 thousand protesters. She uses Canva to collaborate with her nonprofit team.
- Mike Drafts, the Operations Manager of K9s for Warriors, America’s largest provider of service dogs for U.S. veterans that supports and connects rescue dogs with returned vets. Mike has been using Canva to create everything from presentations to invitations to fundraising events.
I personally spend a lot of time reading stories from our community. It’s incredible to see that wild dream that we dreamt of turn into reality through the hard work, creativity, and passion of our incredible team and the impact it’s having for millions of people around the world.
We’ve always had a deeper mission surrounding Canva — which we talk about as our ‘simple’ Two-Step plan and has become a core part of Canva’s DNA:
Fortunately, we have made some significant progress on both of these steps, which I’m pleased to share with you today.
Step 1: Become one of the most valuable companies in the world
We’re excited to share Canva is now valued at $40 billion USD, following an investment round of $200 million. We’re incredibly fortunate to be able to work with world-class investors — from those who took a chance on our ambitious vision back in 2012, to those who are joining us today in Canva’s next phase of growth. This milestone is a huge vote of confidence in what we’re doing and where we’re going.
This investment has been on the back of the continued and rapid growth that Canva has been experiencing in teams and workplaces across the globe.
We now have more than 500,000 paying teams on Canva, and team adoption has more than quadrupled over the last year as teams of every size embrace Canva to unlock their creativity and achieve their goals. We’re really looking forward to continuing to further invest in this space and unlocking the potential of design for organisations of all sizes.
After years of effort (and a long-awaited haircut!), we released real-time collaboration to the world, and have invested heavily in catering to the needs of large organisations with everything from brand kits to brand controls, which has unlocked a whole new level of growth within teams and enterprises across the globe.
It’s been incredible to see the uptake of Canva by well-known companies such as American Airlines, Zoom, SkyScanner, Intel, Salesforce, PayPal, Marriott International and many more, each of whom use Canva to streamline design in their organisations.
As part of our mission to empower the world to design, it’s been critical to invest in schools. We have a tailored product for teachers, students, and their schools and districts which gives them the power of creativity in the classroom, for free. We have seen rapid adoption across the globe, with more than 10 million students and teachers now using Canva for everything from digital literacy, to creativity across many subjects.
As we continue to make progress on Step 1, Step 2 becomes more important than ever…
Step 2: Do the most good we can
As we have made progress towards Step 1, Step 2 has become more important than ever. We try to “do the most good we can do” through many different avenues.
We try to bring this to life through our product, ensuring that everyone across the globe can access our product, regardless of their income, where they live or their prior computer experience.
We try to bring this to life through our company values. Our company values include “be a force for good”, “be a good human” and “empower others” and it’s incredibly heartwarming to see the countless examples of our team bringing these to life every day.
We try to bring this to life through the 1% pledge, where we have committed: 1% of our equity, 1% of our profits, 1% of our team’s time and 1% of product, to be a force for good in the world. Through these efforts, we have:
- Given away our premium product for free to over 130,000 nonprofits
- Allocated more than 45,000 volunteering hours each year (3 full days for everyone at Canva)
- Supported crisis relief efforts globally; such as the Australian bushfires and COVID response
- Launched Print One, Plant One: planting a tree for every print order placed through Canva, where we have now committed to planting over 2 million trees.
- And many other initiatives across our company.
However, the thing about “doing the most good we can” is we can only ever continuously strive towards it, we are never done. We only ever feel like we are scratching the surface of what’s possible in this space. The larger the opportunity that we have, the greater the responsibility that we feel to live up to it.
The next dimension of Step 2
We’re excited to share another dimension today — something that Cliff and I have wanted since our earliest days. While Canva’s equity has grown, our intention has always been to use the vast majority of that wealth to do good in the world. It has felt strange when people refer to us as “billionaires” as it has never felt like our money, we’ve always felt that we’re purely custodians of it. As we’ve previously shared, it’s long been our intention to give the wealth away, and we’ve been thinking long and hard about the best way to start that journey.
So today, we are very pleased to share the news that Cliff and I will be committing the vast majority of our equity (30% of Canva) to do good in the world, and plan to do this through the Canva Foundation.
We wanted to ensure that everyone who is contributing to Canva’s success in Step 1 is able to feel pride in their contribution to Step 2. Every time a new subscription is purchased, a new t-shirt is printed, a new team signs up for Canva, our community is directly contributing to Step 1 and Step 2. Every time a new team member joins Canva, or launches a product, or achieves a goal — their work is contributing to both Step 1 and Step 2.
We truly believe that Step 1 should fuel Step 2, and in turn Step 2 should fuel Step 1. As Canva’s value grows, so too does our ability to have a positive impact on the world. And as we have a positive impact on the world, we believe that Canva will grow too by being able to attract and motivate the best team and our community who care about having a positive impact on the world too.
We have this wildly optimistic belief that there is enough money, goodwill, and good intentions in the world to solve most of the world’s problems, and we want to spend our lifetime working towards that. We see the best way to do that is to continue to work towards both Step 1 and 2 Step of our plan: to scale Canva into one of the biggest companies in the world and build an organisation that at its core is focused on being a force for good.
We’ve had many conversations with people over the years that have encouraged us to do Step 1 and then Step 2. We’ve been encouraged to do them sequentially, not at the same time.
But we truly believe that good for humanity is good for business. And the more that we can do to grow Step 1, the more that we’ll have contributed to Step 2. We also really want to ensure that everyone who contributes to Step 1 feels incredibly proud of their contribution to Step 2 as well.
There are some great examples of companies that do this already, for example, Patagonia is well known for building a beloved business that is doing good in the world. Their two steps are intrinsically intertwined. We think this will happen more and more as the years go by, as more people are looking to work for and buy from companies that are aligned with their own personal values and are contributing to the world in a way that they believe is meaningful.
Something that moves us deeply is inequality. There are 711 million people who live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 a day, which means they have to make unfathomable decisions between basic human needs, for themselves and their families. It’s an issue that we have wanted to contribute towards for many years, but haven’t known where to start.
Many studies have shown that an effective way of helping someone who has no money, is to give them money. It enables recipients to buy what they need, and have a consistent and predictable source of income, which enables them to invest in themselves and their children.
We are really excited to launch our first pilot program with GiveDirectly. We will begin by distributing $10 million to some of the world’s poorest people in Southern Africa, using mobile payments to reach those in need.
Following the learnings from this pilot, we hope to rapidly scale this more broadly and to contribute to the lives of as many people across the globe as we can.
This is the first step in a long journey ahead, and we’re really excited about what we can do as we continue towards building both Step 1 and Step 2 over the years to come.
We often say internally at Canva that we’re only 1% of the way there — and it’s certainly never been truer than it is today, as we dream bigger dreams.
Thank you to each and every one of you — from our community to our team, our investors, and everyone who has been a part of Canva’s journey over the years. We truly couldn’t have done it without you, and we hope we can do you proud as we look towards the 99% ahead.
Ps. Thank you for reading this and for the role you’ve played in Canva’s journey so far. There’s a beautiful African proverb that says “it takes a village to raise a child” and in our case, it has certainly taken a village to raise Canva. Truly thank you. We hope to work hard towards living up to the mammoth opportunity and responsibility that we have over the months, years, and decades to come.