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Canva's Melanie Perkins becomes Australia's third wealthiest woman

Melanie Perkins, Co-founder & CEO, Canva, on Centre Stage during the opening day of Web Summit 2019 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal.
Melanie Perkins speaking at the Web Summit 2019 conference in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images)

Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins this week became Australia's third wealthiest woman after her software business doubled its value.

The company announced that it had raised US$60 million from investors, taking its worth from US$3.2 billion to US$6 billion (AU$8.74 billion) overnight.

The online graphic design firm saw user activity grow during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to co-founder Cliff Obrecht.

"Canva’s accelerated growth is indicative of the 'new normal', as more teams realise the need for a more scalable, more collaborative, more affordable and more user-friendly design platform."

Obrecht launched the startup with his now-fianceé Perkins back in 2013, along with former Google staffer Cameron Adams.

The doubling of Canva's value will have meant the couple's worth will also have doubled, now estimated at AU$2.5 billion.

According to News Corp, this leaves only mining tycoon Gina Rinehart ($16.25 billion) and TPG co-founder Vicky Teoh as the only Australian women wealthier than Perkins.

But Perkins, who thought of the idea behind Canva while in university, is just 32 years old. This makes her Australia's youngest billionaire.

Despite such success at a young age, Perkins' advice to entrepreneurs starting out is that it all takes a long time.

"I’ve never heard of a company that’s an overnight success, not when you hear the real story," she told Business Insider back in 2016.

"Every single company goes through a lot of trials and tribulations, and faces a lot of rejection and has a lot of really hard times and huge roller-coasters that they have to contend with. It’s really important just to continue to persist and to see it through."

Perkins originally came from Perth but Canva is now headquartered in Sydney. On the way, she wooed Silicon Valley for funding, once landing actors Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson as early investors.

She met the Hollywood stars through unusual circumstances.

"I had to learn to kite-surf to go to this conference to meet some great investors. Then through that conference that’s how I met with Owen."

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