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Meet Australia’s 32-year-old billionaire

Lucy Dean
·2-min read
LISBON , PORTUGAL - 5 November 2019; Melanie Perkins, Co-founder & CEO, Canva, on Centre Stage during the opening day of Web Summit 2019 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images)
Melanie Perkins. Image: Getty

The co-founders of graphic design platform Canva have both made their debuts among the list of Australia’s wealthiest people, with Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht boasting a combined net worth of $3.4 billion.

The two created their first iteration of Canva in 2007 as a platform to help schools automate their yearbook design. They officially launched Canva in 2013 with the company now valued at $8.7 billion.

CEO Perkins, 32, and COO Obrecht, 33, had the highest debut on the Australian Financial Review’s Rich List.

While its graphic design tools have been used by companies around the world for years, Covid-19 accelerated its pickup, Obrecht said.

"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 said.

Perkins was in June named Australia’s third wealthiest woman after the company’s capital raising doubled its value to nearly $9 billion. She’s also Australia’s youngest female billionaire.

Afterpay founder, 30-year-old Nick Molnar, is the youngest Australian billionaire with a net worth of $1.86 billion.

Who’s Australia’s richest person?

Gina Rinehart was named Australia’s richest person, with a net worth of $28.89 billion after toppling packaging magnate Anthony Pratt, who took home the title in 2019.

Rinehart’s net worth has more than doubled since last year, up from $13.81 billion in 2019. The second richest Australian, fellow mining magnate Andrew Forrest, has $23 billion to his name after his wealth nearly tripled on roaring iron ore prices.

Pratt slipped to third place with a net worth of $19.75 billion.

The total wealth of Australia’s 200 richest people increased a huge 24 per cent over the last year to a cumulative $424 billion. That’s despite the country entering its first recession in 30 years amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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