Canva business model is a SaaS that provides graphic design software for people who are not professional designers and don’t have an interest or cannot afford to hire one. The user has access to innumerous ready-made templates, fonts, and even free images, in a user-friendly interface, able to feed any kind of social media, and more.
Keep reading to understand how this company which started from two in-love Australian youngsters back in 2012 became a graphic design software used by 85% of Fortune 500 companies.
A brief history of Canva
Despite the foundation, in 2012, Canva’s journey began five years before, when Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht were students at the University of Western Australia. At that time, Perkins used to give InDesign and Photoshop classes to students – and realized that people considered that software really tricky to learn and use indeed.
The students would append nearly half a year only learning what the available tools in the applications were and Perkins thought there should be a way of doing the same kind of work with simpler tools.
This way, together with her boyfriend, Obrecht, Perkins had the idea of developing a simple online tool to create school yearbooks. They took a loan and built Fusion Books. Users would design the books, while the young couple would then print and deliver them to schools across Australia.
It was a success – and remains: it is currently the largest school yearbook publisher in the country, with expansion in New Zealand and France. But, as Canva can tell now, they have not stopped there.
Some years later, in 2010, Perkins attended a conference in Perth and met Bill Tai, a legendary venture capitalist from Silicon Valley. Tai was a passionate kitesurfer and Perkins realized that practicing the sport would be a way to keep contact with the investor, and, thus, have a network.
Her dedication paid off, and, in a short time, they won major investments and were able to create Canva with a great team of engineers. But, to go beyond that, they would need some tech person, and that came with Cameron Adams, one ex-Google.
A few months after that, within 2012, their first funding round was able to put the Canva website online. Nowadays, Canva has helped create around 2 billion designs in 190 countries. Its valuation reached USD 15 billion in 2021 and keeps counting.
Canva mission statement
To empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.
How Canva makes money
Canva is a freemium business model: it is free to use, with subscription plans that offer additional features, images, and templates. There are five revenue streams at Canva:
1. Canva Pro
- 75+ million premium stock photos, videos, audio, and graphics
- 420,000+ free templates with new designs daily
- 1 Brand Kit with your own fonts and logos
- Unlimited use of Background Remover
- Saving designs as templates for your team to use
- 100GB of cloud storage
- Scheduling social media content to 7 platforms
2. Canva Enterprise
Canva Enterprise is another subscription plan, aiming at large businesses, interested in managing their brand. The cost starts at $ 20.50 per person, monthly. The Enterprise features include:
- Establishing your brand’s visual identity with logos, colors, and fonts across multiple Brand Kits
- Controlling your team’s access to apps, graphics, colors, logos, and fonts with brand controls
- Controlling team uploads into Canva
- Built-in workflows to get approval on your designs
- Setting which elements your team can edit, and stay on-brand with template locking
- Unlimited storage
- Single-sign on (SSO)
- 24/7 Enterprise-level support
Educations institutions have discounts on Enterprise plan and non-profit organizations can access it at no cost.
3. Canva Print
Canva has partnered with printers to print and deliver the material printed. Users can make their designs in the applications and receive the physical material at their address. Canva charges the service according to the type of product, order volume, and location for delivery.
Sometimes people do not see the necessity of subscribing but want to buy some premium design. In these cases, Canva charges a one-time fee for single usage. Users can find paid images and templates, ready to use.
The content is developed by designers, who leave their work available on the platform. For every sale, Canva takes 35%. For content sold in the Pro plan, creators received 50% (cutting off taxes and processing fees).
5. Design school
Canva also has a Design School, by which the company offers online and in-person classes, about design, branding, and social media, hosted by Canva’s experts. Online classes are free and the presential ones start from $5.
Canva business model
Canva customer segments
Anyone. From casual individual users to businesses’ teams. From non-designers to professionals. Also, non-profit organizations and educational institutions.
Canva value proposition
- Simple and flexible design platform
- Quick and easily done graphics
- Marketing material with no expertise
- Variety of customization
- Accessible through mobile and browsers
- Mobile app
- Canva button (integrated into any website that hosts user-designed content)
- Social media
- Affiliate program
Canva customer relationships
Mostly self-service, but the platform offers the marketplace, the Design School, a blog, and social media accounts.
Canva revenue streams
Canva revenue is based on the sale of user subscriptions and single-use licensing of content. Additionally, there are the Design School in-person classes and printed delivered material.
Canva key activities
- Graphic design
- Platform maintenance
- Product development
- Marketing and sales
Canva key resources
- Graphic design platform
- IT infrastructure
- Library of illustrations, photos, and imagery
- Design community
- Contributor partners
Canva key partners
- Graphics contributors
- Third-party apps and websites
Canva cost structure
- Software development
- Infrastructure maintenance
- Marketing and affiliates
- Adobe InDesign
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
- Adobe Spark
- Design Wizard
- Fotor Photo Editor
- Microsoft Publisher