Home Business 8 lessons from Melanie Perkins of Canva

8 lessons from Melanie Perkins of Canva

by Ana Lopez
0 comment

Unicorn entrepreneur Melanie Perkins co-founded Canva and built it into a “true” unicorn, meaning a company with over $1 billion in valuation and revenue, rather than just valuation like a VC unicorns. VC unicorns are valued at over $1 billion but can have chimeric value as they often have minimal sales.

Here are the unicorn strategies (for more see Nothing ventured All won bee www.dileprao.com) used by Perkins:

· Emerging trend is key. Most Unicorn entrepreneurs focus on an emerging trend (such as Walmart’s Sam Walton) or launch their ventures on an emerging trend – before the industry and market take off. Perkin did the same. She used the internet and the online design trend.

Smart Pivot. Perkins first started Canva in 2011 and serves the yearbook market. In 2013, she moved into the much larger, all-online design market, making it easier for the company to expand globally than a physical product would have. Canva also started with a “freemium” product in the beginning and then expanded to paid users after the company took off.

· Right segment. Perkins focused on design skills for the average user, unlike many of its competitors who served sophisticated designers. This gave her one much larger market to grow into.

· Smart growth rate. Canva grew so fast that it was able to dominate the industry while earning positive cash flow. Perkins avoided growing too fast to reduce errors.

· Use VC-as-a-Tool and Keep Control. Perkins got into Fusion Books, her first venture, and built it without VC. When she switched to Canva, she used financial savvy and grew with cash flow and VC-as-a-tool to reduce dilution and preserve more of the wealth she had created.

· Postpone or avoid VC: Funding VCs after Aha, ie after proof of potential. Instead of seeking VC after product Aha or strategy Aha and losing control of her business, Perkins gained VC after leadership Aha, stayed on as CEO and retained control. By waiting until she had already built Fusion Books and building it out to about 400 clients, she proved her startup and launch skills as well as her leadership skills. By initially getting funding from regional VCs and not the powerful VCs of Silicon Valley, she kept control of her venture and was not replaced by a professional CEO.

· Continuous improvement. Perkins led the continuous evolution and improvement of Canva, starting with internationalization (2016), code rewriting for faster improvement (2017), video editing (2021), and paid customers, including business users.

· Right skills. Perkins was a designer and taught design in the emerging field of social media. This is one of the most important rules of unicorn entrepreneurship: learn the most important skills to get started in a new industry.

MY TAKE: Melanie Perkins is a late VC Unicorn entrepreneur, the largest group of VC using Unicorn entrepreneurs. This means she got VC from venture capitalists who didn’t demand that she step down as CEO in favor of a professional CEO, because she had already built a foundation that proved to investors that she had skills and that her strategy had potential. Mastering Canva allowed her to use her vision and skills to lead it and turn it into a unicorn.

TechCrunchCanva raises $200 million at a $40 billion valuation
FortuneCanva founder Melanie Perkins, 35, was rejected by 100 VCs. Now her $26 billion design startup is poised to take on Microsoft and Google
MORE FROM FORBESHow you too can make a billion dollar unicorn

You may also like

About Us

Latest Articles