Australia’s youngest billionaire, Melanie Perkins now the third richest woman in the Country.
Melanie Perkins is Australia’s youngest billionaire who almost doubled her personal wealth in months after her tech company’s popularity soared during the coronavirus pandemic.
Melanie Perkins, originally from Perth, founded the Sydney-based digital graphics business Canva with her fiance Cliff Obrecht in 2014 after dropping out of university. The company expanded to Manila and Beijing in five years that followed, with Ms Perkins amassing a personal fortune of an estimated $1.3billion by October in 2019.
But Canva increased in popularity exponentially when people working from home during COVID-19 lockdowns started utilising the software, The Australian reported.
The growth took the 32-year-old’s wealth to $2.5billion, making Ms Perkins Australia’s third richest woman. Gina Rinehart comes first with $16.25billion (Hancock Prospecting) and Vicky Teoh, $2.6billion, TPG Telcom.
Canva is now worth $8.77billion after raising an estimated $87million in its latest investor round from existing shareholders, including Australian company Blackbird Ventures and Sequoia Capital, from China.
She fell in love with graphic design and developed skills that far exceeded those of her peers, to the point where she was invited to teach graphic design workshops to students in other faculties.
Ms Perkins found most people struggled to use the clunky software, so she developed a business idea.
‘It was really complex and difficult, and it would take the entire semester to just learn where the buttons were on the software,’ she said.
‘At the same time Facebook was taking off, and it was so easy to use and everyone was on it.
In 2007, Ms Perkins came up with the idea to create easy-to-use graphic design software which allows schools and students to make their own yearbooks.
She had no business or marketing experience but said her inexperience gave her confidence that it wouldn’t be too difficult to start a company from scratch.
‘My boyfriend became my co-founder and we started in my mum’s living room,’ she said.
Canva closed its first funding round of $3million in early 2013, and after more than a year of development launched in August of the same year.
By the end of 2014, Canva had reached one million users, and last month the company reached four million users and raised $12.6 million in investment.
The company has since raised more than $400m from investors and increases in value with each investment round.