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Staff and shareholders at online graphic design juggernaut Canva are set to share a $2.3bn windfall, with a secondary share offering imminent, according to Bloomberg.

The founders of Canva: (l-r) Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins.
The founders of Canva: (l-r) Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins

The sale of shares in the 11-year-old business, started by three friends in Melbourne – Melanie Perkins, her husband Cliff Obrecht, and ex-Google staffer Cameron Adams – means it would be valued at $26bn, with the secondary offer preceding its IPO, expected next year or the year after. The founding trio's wealth is estimated to be $6.6bn each.

Canva partners with several ANZ Print operations who print the products that are designed in the site.

Canva will be one of the highest secondary events in the history of global technology companies. Secondary share deals enable existing shareholders – typically staff who have been given them as part of their remuneration, and early investors – to sell their shares which are largely illiquid, without waiting for an IPO.

Reports suggest a whole suite of blue chip investors are lining up to buy the shares that will be offered. None will likely see the same return as Blackbird, which invested $3m in Canva a decade ago, an investment which is now worth $1bn.

Canva has annualised revenue of $2bn, which according to Bloomberg means it is now growing faster than any public software business. It now has some 170 million users every month, and is growing rapidly, reports suggest it added more new users in the past year than in the previous nine years combined. It is strongly adopting AI in its products, which is helping drive growth. 

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