Growth Rate (y/y)
Canva has raised a total of $572.6M since being founded in 2013. They've been valued at $39B since their September 2021 round of fundraising led by T. Rowe Price and joined by Franklin Templeton, Sequoia Capital Global Equities and Bessemer Venture Partners.
Canva is a subscription SaaS company that primarily prices based on the number of professional/enterprise and productivity features that a team needs—cloud storage, SSO, premium stock photos, post scheduling, and more.
Canva has a strong organic acquisition engine founded on SEO—they rank #1 or near #1 on Google for terms like "ai image generator", "graph maker", "resume templates", "logo maker", "photo editor", "business cards", "tier list maker", and "gif maker".
Farming the free individual users that they acquire through this SEO engine and upselling them to paid plans contracts has been a powerful growth tactic for Canva. With its focus on ease of use and increasingly broad range of use cases, now including videos, Powerpoint-like presentations, and websites, Canva is well set up to bring in free users from every part of the organization—and create maximally fertile ground for upsells.
The Pro plan ($119 per year for one person) is mainly for people that want access to the advanced content library and want to collaborate with more than one fellow creator, or that need more storage—it's mainly a plan for SMBs.
Canva's enterprise offering is where they offer things like account management, access control, SSO, and bulk pricing. Canva's enterprise adoption, however, is still relatively nascent—about 10% of Canva's revenue came from enterprise plans, though we estimate that to have grown to roughly ~20% as of 2023.
Canva was founded in 2013 by Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht during the rapid rise of image-based social media.
As Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006) grew and aggregated audiences in their feeds, digital marketers trying to stand out and win traffic started going multimedia, crafting preview images, infographics, and other visual collateral to go out with every new blog post, case study, or announcement.
This multimediaification of the feed created a need for companies to do some basic graphic design work for each new post—frequent but unsophisticated work that companies didn’t want to spend a $30/hour designer on.
The basic feature of being able to throw text on top of images became Canva’s “sepia filter”—the feature that, like Instagram’s filters, got them product-market fit (5 million users in 2 years) by helping marketers create quick, branded social media graphics using free, browser-based tools.
Other products like Unsplash (2013) followed Canva by giving marketers access to high-quality, free stock photography, while on the other hand, Buffer launched Pablo (2015) to use a free social media graphic builder as lead gen for their post scheduling product.
Since then, Canva has grown to 150M monthly active users, with support for all kinds of graphic design tasks outside social media—presentations, docs, videos, posters, billboards, business cards, and more.
Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud—which 100M+ organizations already pay for—which are aggressively investing in generative AI via Bing Image Generator (1 billion images created so far) and Firefly (3 billion images created) to own graphic design and image creation.
Canva’s B2B suite product has 16 million paying users, but lacks the primary access to a company’s workflows and design library that Microsoft and Adobe have.
The rise of multimodal LLMs like Google’s Gemini and OpenAI’s GPT-Vision that can process both text and images threatens graphic design tools like Canva by drastically undercutting human designers on price (at roughly $0.005 per image) and replacing WYSIWYG editing with natural language prompts.
Where Canva consists of a core editing technology applied to different sizes of rectangles to make everything from business cards to billboards, Gamma and Tome are forging a new interactive, responsive “mini-website” form factor that breaks free from the dimensions of physical paper and fixed screen sizes.
Figma is a browser-based online design tool used to build mock-ups, wireframes, product diagrams, and other visual collateral primarily focused around the designer and product manager roles.
Figma's lack of direct substitutes makes it hard for teams to stop using it once they've become accustomed to its workflow. Teams use Figma for brainstorming, prototyping, user research, and to hand off the design system to developers—other tools don't do all of that.
Figma is relatively easy to self-serve into even for bigger companies because IT departments that centralize purchasing on software like Salesforce or Hubspot will devolve buying decisions on tools like Figma to the design team thanks to (1) the lower, more flexible pricing, and (2) the less sensitive files involved.
While both are bucketed as design products, only about 20% of Canva's use cases ultimately overlap with Figma's. Canva differentiates with features like video editing, presentations, and print—and from our research, teams will frequently pay for both tools with Figma being used more on the product side of the organization and Canva being used more on the marketing side.
Canva's expansion and transition from simple graphic design tool to enterprise productivity suite has them on a collision course not just with Adobe's Creative Cloud ($275B market cap), but Microsoft Office ($2.23T), Wix ($10B) and others.
Canva is betting big on the primacy of the rectangle, drilling down into different industries like education and different rectangle types—collaborative whiteboards competing with Figma ($400M ARR) and Miro ($17.5B valuation), slides competing with Google Slides (2B+ Workspace users), and one-page websites competing with Squarespace ($931M revenue).
Canva is stitching together this suite of rectangle-designing tools into a full suite of products, leveraging their ownership of companies’ brand assets and marketing workflows to own the entire productivity suite.
Their long-term goal is to displace the traditional productivity suite of email, word processor, and spreadsheet with the visual communication tools—slides, images, and videos—that have become essential for every role in an organization, from sales & marketing and product to HR.
With their now-$39B valuation, Canva's long-term upside hinges on how well it can sell this platform into the enterprise with Microsoft Office ($35B ARR) and GSuite (3B+ users) standing in the way.
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