Australia’s Canva Buys European Design Startups to Fuel Growth
An employee works on a packaging design in Australia. (Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg)

Australia’s Canva Buys European Design Startups to Fuel Growth

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Canva Inc., the most valuable technology startup in Australia, acquired two European companies as the online design platform doubles down on visual communications tools.

Canva took full control of Kaleido.ai, an Austrian visual artificial-intelligence startup behind a popular design tool to instantly remove background from a photo or video. It also purchased Smartmockups in the Czech Republic, which allows e-commerce entrepreneurs and other users to quickly and easily create mockups for t-shirts, mugs and other items.

Australia’s Canva Buys European Design Startups to Fuel Growth

“With everyone spending so much time on the internet, the need to communicate visually is becoming a critical skill for individuals but more importantly for businesses,” Cliff Obrecht, co-founder and chief operating officer of Canva, said in an interview. “These acquisitions really tie into us becoming that collaborative visual communications platform for the world.”

The Australian upstart has now acquired a total of six companies, including image providers Pexels and Pixabay. Canva raised $60 million in June to expand features that allows users to collaborate on work in real time. That funding round nearly doubled its valuation to $6 billion from $3.2 billion previously. The company didn’t disclose financial details for the latest acquisitions.

Canva’s business has more than doubled in the past year, Obrecht said. The firm now has 50 million monthly active users, up from 25 million a year ago. Its corporate clients include Skyscanner Ltd., Honeymoon Dessert and McDonald’s China.

While Canva’s valuation has leapt several fold in recent years and its global operations expanded to 1,400 employees, it won’t be joining a red-hot IPO market any time soon, Obrecht said. The company has long been profitable and doesn’t see a need to raise capital by going public in the near future. Instead, it will focus on expanding its business organically and potentially through more acquisitions.

“We’ve got no immediate plans” for an initial public offering, said Obrecht. “We are moving too fast, have too many big plans, to internally distract ourselves with such a big event. We are already a market leader in collaborative communications space, but it’s where we’re continuing to invest very heavily.”

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