Canva launches US$50m fund for app developers

Canva launches US$50m fund for app developers

Canva co-founders (L-R) Cliff Obrecht, Melanie Perkins and Cameron Adams.

One of Australia’s largest tech companies, Canva, has introduced a new developer platform alongside US$50 million ($73 million) of funding that will go towards investing in app developers.

The Sydney-based graphic design platform announced the new Canva Developers Platform and its Canva Developers Innovation Fund at the company’s first developer conference, Canva Extend, held in San Francisco on Thursday.

With the goal of accelerating growth and adoption of apps on Canva, the multi-million-dollar commitment will provide support for new developers in the form of monetary grants and expert guidance, and will focus on empowering developers who are underrepresented in the global market.

The new platform for designers includes a set of Canva Connect APIs (application programming interfaces), the company’s first REST APIs, and development tools that allow developers to put their app or platform in the hands of the company’s 135 million monthly active users. 

The APIs will simplify and automate processes for teams using Canva, allowing developers to connect any app with Canva to seamlessly sync designs, assets, comments, and more across platforms. 

Canva also unveiled a multitude of ways for developers to build on the platform and released the Canva Apps SDK (Software Development Kit) for public use. The Canva Apps SDK has been in beta for the last nine months, with more than 11,000 developers on the waitlist.

“We’re thrilled about the momentum gained from working with our beta partners to streamline app creation in Canva,” Canva’s head of ecosystem Anwar Haneef says.

“By opening our design engine to a wider community of developers, we’re enabling instant distribution of their apps and services to millions of people on Canva. They can tap into the valuable feedback and creativity of our community, who will benefit from new ways to achieve their goals.

Canva, which is the world’s only all-in-one visual communication platform, was founded by university friends-turned-partners Melanie Perkins and Cliff Obrecht after meeting through their Bachelor of Arts and Commerce degrees at the University of WA.

Their entrepreneurial journey began mid-way through their university degrees in 2007 when Perkins and Obrecht took out a loan, pulled together a tech team and designed a tool to create school yearbooks for a company called Fusion Yearbooks, which is still in operation today.

They later teamed up with co-founder Cameron Adams, Canva’s chief product officer, an ex-Googler who joined as the third cofounder in 2012 before Canva was launched in 2013.

Canva hit 100 million users in October 2022, and is used across more than 190 countries globally.

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