Melanie Perkins Success Story: How Melanie Perkins Built Canva

Manav Makhija Manav Makhija
Oct 15, 2021 6 min read
Melanie Perkins Success Story: How Melanie Perkins Built Canva

Today the demographic characteristics of businesses have changed because of the increasing presence of women entrepreneurship and their leadership skills. In today’s world, women-led businesses are playing a very prominent role in the economic growth of the society, generating more employment and the upliftment of the society as well.

According to an analysis made by Boston Consulting Group, women-driven startups which get funded are way more successful in terms of generating higher revenue. It is said that women have strong business plans and have high resilience and adaptability skills.

In today’s highly competitive market, there is one woman that has not only emerged to be a great entrepreneur but also has proved to compete and survive with tech giants like Microsoft and Adobe. The Australian entrepreneur has built a design platform that is a big rival to the tech giants. So, Let's look at the success story of Australian billionaire Melanie Perkins.

Melanie Perkins - Biography
Melanie Perkins - Childhood
Melanie Perkins - Education
Melanie Perkins - Early Career
Melanie Perkins - Journey With Canva
Melanie Perkins - Personal Life

Melanie Perkins - Biography

Name Melanie Perkins
Born 1987
Age 34
Citizenship Australian
Education The University of Western Australia
Occupation Technology Entrepreneur, Canva
Net worth $5.89 billion as of 2021
Spouse Cliff Obrecht

Melanie Perkins - Childhood

Born to an Australian mother and a Malaysian father, Melanie has had a multi-cultural family. Her parents belong to engineering and teaching backgrounds. Melanie had an entrepreneurial spirit since her childhood. She started her first business around the markets of Perth, where she sold handmade scarves at the age of 14.

Melanie Perkins - Education

For most of Melanie’s childhood, she attended Sacred Heart College. Melanie pursued her career in communications, psychology, and commerce from the University of Western Australia. As part of her major studies, she also taught basic computer design. This was when she realized that students struggle to work in technical and complex platforms like photoshop and illustrator.

At the age of 19, she dropped out of college to pursue her dreams of being an entrepreneur and business career.

Melanie Perkins - Early Career

Melanie Perkins with Cliff Obrecht
Melanie Perkins with Cliff Obrecht

It was with Cliff Obrecht her husband when Perkins co-founded her first startup named Fusion Books. It is a platform that allowed students to design their yearbooks of school by using simple tools like drag and drop, illustrations, fonts, etc.

She started working on this platform at her mother's place where her parents helped Perkins to print these yearbooks. She started connecting with people in colleges and universities to get new clients for her business. Very soon, it started to grow and become the largest yearbook company in entire Australia.

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Melanie Perkins - Journey With Canva

Melanie Perkins - Fusion Books
Melanie Perkins - Fusion Books

It was the time when Fusion Books was performing very well but Cliff and Melanie were running out of funds for growth and expansion. They wanted to take assistance and help from venture capitalists but no one agreed and believed in the idea.

During this period, Fusion Books became Canva Inc. In the beginning, it was very challenging for Perkins and Obrecht to get funding from investors. They had an opportunity to visit a prominent investor Bill Tai in the year 2011 in Perth.

They didn’t receive any funding from Tai but were regularly invited to kite-surfing gatherings where many other tech investors joined too. A few of these gatherings were held at Silicon Valley, where Perkins and Obrecht touched every single opportunity they could, but still couldn’t get any help.

The Launch of Canva

Melanie Perkins with Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams
Melanie Perkins with Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams

One fine day they met with a former Google executive who after years of struggle came as a blessing. Cameron Adams joined the team and also supported Canva to get funding for the brand to grow.

In 2013 the company was officially launched after two rounds of seed funding where Melanie Perkins was announced the CEO of the Canva, Obrecht as the COO, and Cameron Adams as the CPO of the company.

Canva started to grow and diversify its business operations at a rapid speed. In the initial year, they had more than 600,000 users. The company also expanded its reach to places like Beijing and Manila. As the years passed, the company kept adding more distinguishing features to its platform.

Even with just a little diversification outside Australia, Melanie got popular in Silicon Valley and among the tech businesses of the United States. In 2016, she was named the Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Asia List.

In 2020, Canva raised $60 million and the company’s valuation went up to $6 billion making Perkins the third richest woman in Australia with a net worth of $1.3 billion.

Melanie Perkins - Growth of Canva

Perkins's dream of building a graphic design platform that was easy to use with limited design skills came to be true with Canva. The platform has been an amazing alternative for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator where the users have endless options of designing unique graphics.

Even when Adobe dominates the global market, Canva has an active user base of more than 30 million across 190 countries.

One of the rare stories in the startup industries is when Canva in 2017, posted a profit of $1.86 million on $25.1 million revenue in just the first half of the year. Melanie and her team have made it possible to give access to more than 40,000 templates for its premium users. The platform works on a freemium business model.

Melanie Perkins - Personal Life

Melanie Perkins with her husband, Cliff Obrecht
Melanie Perkins with her husband, Cliff Obrecht

Cliff Obrecht was the long-time boyfriend of Melanie Perkins. They together found their first startup Fusion Books and then Canva too. During the trip to Cappadocia, Turkey in 2019, Obrecht proposed to Melanie.

Both of them are known for their philanthropic work and most of their earnings go to charity. Soon after they started traveling for kite-flying events invited by Tai, Melanie started developing an interest in traveling.

Perkins is very proud of her work and she wants to continue growing herself as well as her designing platform Canva. More than 85% of the Fortune 500 companies are using Melanie’s platform.

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Being in the early ’30s of her life, Melanie Perkins has struggled and achieved a lot at a very young age. While she got happily married to Cliff Obrecht in January 2021, both of them plan to have a happy and successful future in building and growing Canva Inc and helping people with all the possible resources that they have.

Melanie believes that her community and connections are really important for her business to reach new heights and she trusts that together with her team they will soon become a global leader in the tech design industry.


What is the net worth of Melanie Perkins?

The net worth of Melanie Perkins is approximately $5.89 billion.

What is the age of Melanie Perkins?

Melanie Perkins was born on 1987 and is 34 years old.

Who is the husband of Melanie Perkins?

Melanie Perkins is married to Cliff Obrecht.

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