Melanie Perkins

Friday 8 October, 2021
by Gaurika Madan

"Solve customer problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula."

This week's quote is by is an Australian technology entrepreneur and the chief executive officer and co-founder of Canva Melanie Perkins

Melanie was studying at the University of Western Australia (Perth) when she was first struck by this idea. She used to teach design programs to other students on the side for a little income. During that time, she realised that students found the platforms offered by Microsoft and Adobe “crazy hard” and she felt there must be a better way.

She told in an interview later, “People would have to spend an entire semester learning where the buttons were, and that seemed completely ridiculous. I thought that in the future it was all going to be online and collaborative and much, much simpler than these really hard tools.”

So with that in mind, she set out to turn her vision into reality with Cliff Obrecht (former classmate, now husband).

Melanie and Cliff started out small and created an online school yearbook design business, Fusion Books, to test out their idea. Their business was a success and remains active to date. But for Melanie, it was just the first step in her “crazy, big dream” for a one-stop-shop design site. So after the success, she started chasing investors.

That was just the beginning of a crazy journey. As she impressed investors from Silicon Valley, there was no looking back for their venture Canva.

Especially in 2012, when they met their tech co-founder Cameron Adams and a tech developer, Dave Hearnden. That paved the way for the company and went live, allowing subscribers to create a variety of online designs for free.

As of September 2021, Canva is one of the world's most valuable startups after raising $200 million in new funding at a $40 billion valuation.

However, the road to success wasn't easy. Generally, one investment is often preceded by at least 10 rejections, but in Melanie's case, it was 100 rejections. But she didn't give up on her dreams and believed in her vision.

Not only did she believe in her idea, she knew that the problem that she is trying to solve is faced by a large chunk of people. This is what made Canva massively successful today. It's not just about what you think will be a good idea, it's about what the majority of your customers think too.

We at DDSN are so inspired by what this Aussie businesswoman has achieved along with her co-founders. We are big believers in studying the market intricately, and providing custom solutions to all our current and potential customers. Every business is different, and to cater to their exact needs, we always follow a number of steps to help them achieve their desired goals. However, the major thing to remember is that you need to figure out as a business, what kind of problem your customers are facing - they won't come and tell you. It's all about observation, testing, and iteration.

Today's Quote

Graphic depicting Melanie Perkins and her quote - "Solve customer problems and make sure that the customer is representative of a large market and then you will have a pretty good formula."

Who is Melanie Perkins?

Melanie Perkins is an Australian technology entrepreneur who is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Canva.

She is one of the youngest female CEOs of a tech start-up valued at over A$1 billion. As of 2021, Perkins is one of Australia's richest women. 

Melanie is the CEO of one of the few ‘unicorn’ start-ups that are profitable.

There have always been controversies surrounding gender disparity in the tech industry, with only one in four start-ups founded by females. Melanie is amongst the 2 percent of female CEOs of venture-backed companies.

However, when asked about it, she said she prefers to focus ‘on what she can control’. She has implemented policies at Canva that eliminates bias in the hiring process, which has resulted in Canva obtaining 41 percent female representation

DDSN Interactive is a leading web design and development company based in Melbourne, Australia. We specialise in agile digital technology and we have helped multiple businesses leverage tech to accelerate their digital transformation. 

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