The name Melanie Perkins should ring a bell. She’s the youngest female CEO. By the age of 30, she was already CEO of a billion dollar business. She’s pretty much the envy of every single female who are aspiring to become entrepreneurs. Co-founder and CEO of Canva, an online graphic design, she has revolutionized the world of design. On its first year, Canva already had over 750,000 users! But how did she get there? How did she manage to be the youngest female CEO? Well, we’ve go the scoop! So, keep reading to find out how one lady with a dream made it all the way to the top.
Born and raised in Australia, Melanie Perkins was already on the rise. Contrary to popular belief, she didn’t study design. In fact, it’s while she was studying communications in university that she discovered her passion for graphic and digital media. Her love and dedication for design was so strong that the university decided to hire here to teach.
Her first company
It’s while she was teaching students InDesign and Photoshop that she came to the realization of the complexity to understand design.
“It could take a whole semester to learn the very basics. Even the simplest tasks, like exporting a high-quality PDF file, could take 22 clicks.”
After some brainstorming with her boyfriend, Cliff Obrecht, they launched Fusion Books; an online tool to create yearbooks. Fusion Books was designed to show students and aspiring designers that graphic design and digital media are not as complex as they seem. Design is the future. With the constant progress of technology, understanding graphic design and digital media is crucial. That’s why Melanie decided to come up with a solution to show people that design can be simple.
“I realised that in the future design was all going to be online and collaborative, and much, much simpler.”
The beginning of a bright future
The creation of Fusions Books brought Melanie all the way to the Innovator of the Year Awards in Perth, Australia. While she and Cliff were presenting Fusion Books at the awards, they met with Bill Tai, founder of MaiTai and investor. To say that the technology investor was impressed is an understatement. In fact, he was so impressed that he offered to meet with them if they came to San Francisco. So what did Perkins do? She booked the first flight to San Francisco. What followed after was the start of a billion dollar company and what made Melanie the youngest female CEO.
Canva: The Future of Publishing
Melanie Perkins had a vision. That vision was to simplify design and digital media. After spending 3 months in San Francisco learning everything she could about starting up a company and brainstorming on innovative ways to simplify digitalization, she came up with Canva. Canva is basically the future of publishing. It’s an online platform that is engineered to give everyone the possibility to design pretty much anything. From greeting cards to posters, calendars and even websites, sky is the limit!
When she presented the idea to Bill Tai, he wasn’t that interested. However, he was impressed enough by Melanie’s pitched that he did introduce her to a team of investors and ended up investing himself in the project.
A Project that is worth Billions
In 2013, Canva was launched. Backed by $3 million and former Google executive, Cameron Adams, Canva quickly skyrocketed. In fact, it surpassed everyone’s expectations, including its founder. Within its first year, the company already had over 750,000 users! Today, the company has 10 million users across 179 countries. After securing its latest round of investors earlier this year, the company is now valued at $1 billion. With over 200 employees that currently work for Canva, the company is on a rise.
So how did Melanie manage to become CEO of a billion dollar company? Well she does something that is crucial for all entrepreneurs: delegation. Although it’s not easy to delegate, especially when it’s your own company. But it is crucial. The key to the success of any company is delegation. It’s important to have a right team of people that you can trust and count on. Having the right people in, recruiting the right people is crucial. You can’t have just anyone making the important decisions for your company, so that’s why Melanie focussed on hiring the right team of people. That way, when she needs to delegate, she can rest assured that the right decisions will be made to benefit the company.
That’s her number one advice to any entrepreneur. Make sure to have the right team of people behind you. And when you do, don’t be afraid to delegate.