Canva Business Model | How Does Canva Make Money?

Canva is a visual creation tool renowned for its simplicity and openness to users. The site operates on a freemium model, with users encouraged to pay (Canva Pro) for additional features for a monthly cost of $12.99. 

Canva Enterprise ($30/month) is another option. Other services include Canva Print (which enables consumers to print a chosen design on real material) and the Marketplace, allowing users to sell designs in bulk for a fee.

What is Canva?

Canva is a software-as-a-service program for graphic design that enables users to create and edit visual content. Posters, presentations, infographics, and logos are just a few examples.

Canva Business Model

Canva business model is subscription-based for both consumers and enterprises. There are also revenue streams from the sale of physical prints (via Canva Print), courses (via Design School), and the design marketplace.

Canva was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Sidney, Australia. Canva is currently worth $15 billion.

Company NameCanva Pty Ltd
Company TypePrivate
FoundersMelanie Perkins,
Cameron Adams, and Clifford Obrecht
OwnerCanva Pty Ltd
Founded Date2012
HeadquarterSydney, Australia
Location ServedWorldwide

How Does Canva Work?

Canva is a visual content creation program that enables users to create infographics, posters, presentations, logos, and other types of visual material.

Its primary differentiator is that it began as a web application. Historically, design tools were downloaded as desktop applications. You can also use Canva’s design tools on iOS and Android.

Canva is an all-in-one design tool that aims to cover all aspects of the visual design process. Several of the most popular characteristics include the following:

  • Pre-designed templates
  • Changing fonts, colors, and size, as well as a variety of other visual elements
  • Editor with drag and drop functionality
  • By incorporating filters or frames

… and plenty others. The application is hosted in the cloud (rather than on a local machine, as with most classic desktop applications), so work is automatically synchronized across all registered devices.

Furthermore, users can create Brand Kits, enabling them to apply the same visual style to multiple projects at once.

Finally, all completed work is shareable across registered members, allowing other people to work on the same projects concurrently.

How Does Canva Make Money?

Canva began as a free tool. This method was intended to attract users and establish a steady and devoted following. That user base would grow over time as a result of word of mouth and a high-quality product.

Although Canva is a free service, the firm has developed many revenue streams throughout the years.

Canva Business Model

Canva has established various revenue streams over the last few years, ranging from subscriptions to business solutions.

The following chapter will examine each of those revenue streams in further detail.

Canva Premium

Canva Pro is a subscription plan that includes features not found in Canva’s free version.

The Pro plan’s premium features include the following:

  • Possibility of developing a Brand Kit
  • Numerous folders for archiving your work
  • There are over a thousand readily available fonts.
  • Access to high-quality animations
  • Dedicated support

… and plenty others. The free trial allows consumers to test out all of Canva’s premium features before signing up for a subscription.

Users of Canva’s Pro plan are often graphic designers who utilize the program for their professional duties.

Canva Enterprise Plan

The Canva For Enterprise platform is intended to help businesses use the platform for their design (and other) teams.

Teams may use a dashboard for managing teams, defining their responsibilities, setting different access levels, adding built-in comments to facilitate discussion, or sharing work through folders.

Teams will also receive a dedicated account manager and priority support in case of an incident.

There is a monthly subscription cost as with the Pro plan. The package costs $30 per user per month. The team’s access is free if they work for a non-profit organization. A discount is available to educators.

A few of the company’s enterprise plan clients are Warner Music Group, HubSpot, American Airlines, and Duke University.

Design School

The Canva Design School offers online and in-person training in all areas of design, social media, and branding.

The courses are free, and the students can complete them at their leisure. A physical education lesson can be had for as little as $5.

Students will learn about the platform and perfect their design skills and abilities through the course material. Canva workers and creative gurus offer both online and in-person courses.

Canva Print

Customers may print their creations on tangible material using Canva Print. Designs can be printed on a variety of items, including:

  • T-Shirts
  • Posters
  • Flyers
  • Postcards
  • Wedding Invitations
  • Business Cards

… and plenty others. Canva Print ships to more than 30 countries. Prices vary depending on the type of article, order volume, residency country, and customizations ordered.


Canva offers premium designs for purchase on its platform for one-time use to users who do not have a Pro account or an Enterprise account.

Canva operates both a subscription service and an online marketplace in addition to its freemium strategy.

Canva Business Model

Content providers receive the cash generated by these design purchases. Canva keeps 35% of the sale price, while the artist keeps the rest.

Contributor royalties are paid as a percentage of the Pro plan’s net income (fewer taxes and processing fees).

Canva’s publicly available photos are largely drawn from its May 2019 acquisitions of Pexels and Pixabay (for an unknown amount).

What is the Funding and Valuation of Canva?

Crunchbase reports that Canva has raised $372.6 million in venture capital funding over 13 rounds.

Canva achieved a valuation of $15 billion during its most recent funding round in April 2021. Perkins and Olbrecht have now been estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Some notable investors in Canva include Softbank, General Catalyst, Sequoia Capital, Felicis Ventures, and Blackbird Ventures.

What is the Revenue of Canva?

Canvas, which has maintained profitability, recently reported that its revenue had topped $500 million annually, increasing 130%s from last year.

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Success Story of Canva

Canva was started in 2012 by Melanie Perkins (CEO), Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams in Sidney, Australia.

The company’s adventure began six years ago in Perth when Perkins and Obrecht met while attending the local university (they remained a couple to this date).

Perkins supplemented his income by instructing others in the use of design applications such as Photoshop or Sketch. 

Students used to spend an entire semester figuring out where different buttons and features were located in those days. 

An activity as basic as exporting a PDF would require more than 20 clicks.

Additionally, the software needed to be downloaded and installed on a user’s PC. Students and designers were unable to collaborate on many projects because they had to work on local computers.

Perkins and her partner were struck by the complexity of those applications. What if design tools were intuitive to use and accessible with a few mouse clicks?

The couple founded Fusion Books, an online yearbook design platform for high schools with this concept in mind.

Fusion Books was a forerunner of the Canva program. Perkins and Obrecht established their business in her mother’s front room, borrowing funds from relatives and friends to hire software experts to assist them in building the platform.

Fusion Books eventually grew to be Australia’s largest printer of yearbooks, expanding into France and New Zealand. 

The enterprise was an instant success with Australian schools. Melanie chose to leave university to devote her full attention to the venture.

Perkins and Obrecht decided to broaden the scope of Fusion beyond yearbooks in 2010. 

Perkins met Silicon Valley investor Bill Tai at a conference in Perth, and he urged her to fly over to pitch the idea that would eventually become Canva.

How Does trivago Make Money?

Tai (who eventually became one of the company’s original investors) invited Perkins to one of his famed retreats at MaiTai, his private retreat estate for investors and kitesurfers. 

The catch: he advised Perkins to learn to kitesurf to enhance her fundraising possibilities.

The funding process was much more difficult for her than the sport itself. 

Perkins traveled to the Valley many times during the next two years, meeting hundreds of investors.

However, the kitesurfing ties ultimately paid off handsomely. They met Cameron Adams, a former Google executive who had founded a business in Sydney, through the surfing club.

Adams was expecting to meet with them in March 2012 as a board advisor but was instead encouraged to join the firm as third cofounder the following June. David Hearnden, a former Googler (Maps, Wave), came as another early employee.

With their tech leaders in place, the founders achieved success and announced their first fundraising round in March 2013.

A few months later, in August 2013, the platform opened its doors. 

The freemium model provided the company with a quick method of recruiting consumers. The site received close to 50,000 registrations in its first month. There are 3.5 million designs created by 600,000 users by the end of 2014.

Canva continued to grow its platform throughout the years, primarily through word of mouth. 

Additionally, features such as automatically resizing a visual for social media posts make it incredibly simple for users to share their ideas across various channels.

Additionally, Canva drove a portion of its expansion through acquisitions. It acquired presentation startup Zeetings for an unknown sum in 2018 and quickly integrated the technology into its ecosystem.

Lastly, Canva adjusts to local markets as it expands. It included native typefaces, templates, and a Chinese support team based in Beijing when it launched in China.

To date, Canva users have created over two billion designs. More than 50 designs are created every second by the Canva community. 

Meanwhile, the site has been translated into over a hundred languages. Melanie Perkins’s account is credited with almost 6,000 designs (for comparison, Canva’s most productive user has created over 45,000 design projects!).

The company now employs over 1,000 individuals across five offices in Beijing, Sydney, Austin, Manila, and San Francisco.

Key Takeaways From Canva Business Model

Canva is a graphic design platform with the mission of leveling the design playing field. Australian university students developed it and saw that existing design software was unreasonably expensive and required excessive time to learn.

Canva generates revenue through two subscription models. Canva Pro is perfect for individuals, while Canva Enterprise is perfect for enterprises that require design team management.

How Does Flexport Make Money?

Canva also generates revenue through a marketplace service that enables customers to purchase material as needed. Additionally, the company generates revenue by printing designs on physical products such as t-shirts, postcards, and business cards.