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Canva buys European design startups to fuel growth

Yoolim Lee

Canva, 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.

Canva co-founders Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins are paying for meditation apps for their staff.

Canva co-founders Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins have no immediate plans for an IPO.  Supplied

“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 $US60 million ($75.81 million) in June to expand features that allows users to collaborate on work in real time. That funding round nearly doubled its valuation to $US6 billion from $US3.2 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, Honeymoon Dessert and McDonald’s China.

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2021/02/23 00:31