Canva Founder Becomes Australia’s Richest Woman Under 40

Melanie perkins
Melanie Perkins (Canva)

Melanie Perkins (34) and her husband, Cliff Obrecht (35), are now on the list of the richest people in Australia. Reporting from Bloomberg, Friday (9/24/2021), the company they founded, Canva, managed to score a valuation of USD 40 billion. The graphic design company just received an injection of funding last week. The funding makes the Sydney, Australia-based company the world’s largest start-up, according to data from research firm CB Insights. Perkins and Obrecht now each have a net worth of USD 5.9 billion.

Both now occupy positions as the 9th and 10th richest people in Australia based on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

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Perkins is now listed as the second richest woman in Australia. While the first position is occupied by Gina Rinehart (67) with a wealth of USD 17.9 billion. Rinehart’s source of wealth is mostly from the iron ore business. In a post on the Medium platform, Perkins said he and Obrecht had committed to donating most of their stake in Canva. The couple plans to donate the funds directly through a foundation under the company, the Canva Foundation.

In addition, he also announced the GiveDirectly donation program which will distribute US$10 million to the poor in South Africa.

“It’s weird when people call us billionaires when we never think it’s our money,” Perkins said in a post.

“We always feel we are purely just guarding, it has been our goal from the start to give this wealth,” he explained.

Canva’s Beginnings 

Canva started with the concerns of Perkins, who taught design programs on a part-time basis in 2008. At that time, he was frustrated with the device he was teaching his students at a university in Perth, Australia. “At that time Facebook was in its heyday, people could easily access and use Facebook, while on the other hand, the design tools took years to learn,” said Perkins.

“I want to make design software that is simple, online, and collaborative,” he said. 

In fact, Perkins’ anxiety paid off. She and her husband managed to build the graphic design company as one of the fifth largest start-ups in the world. Perkins is now listed as the richest self-made billionaire under the age of 40. 

Some of Canva’s investors include Franklin Templeton and Sequoia Capital Global Equities. Currently, Canva has produced 7 billion designs. Perkins and Obrecht own about 30 percent of the company’s shares. Today, Canva is used by 10 million students and teachers worldwide, as well as companies such as American Airlines, Zoom Video Communication, and PayPal Holdings.

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