Canva unveils plans for Sydney office tower HQ as staff numbers surge past 4,000

Canva unveils plans for Sydney office tower HQ as staff numbers surge past 4,000

Artist's impression of Canva's plans for its new Surry Hills headquarters

After capping off a year of ‘exponential’ growth in 2023, Canva has revealed plans for a major refurbishment of a Sydney office building that the tech unicorn acquired for more than $120 million last year.

The planned refurbishment of the Surry Hills building, located at 8 Kippax Street, is aimed at bringing Sydney staff under one roof with the workforce currently scattered in offices throughout the city’s CBD.

Canva, which is currently valued at $39 billion, says that despite its no return-to-office mandate, the 12,000sqm office building is primed to deliver additional capacity to accommodate its expanding staff base while the company continues ‘championing hybrid work’.

The graphic design platform reveals that it has increased its global headcount by 39 per cent to 4,000, after adding an extra 1,128 staff in 2023.

“The new office is set to play an enormous role in the company’s plans to accelerate growth as it doubles down on fuelling visual communication in the enterprise sector,” Canva says in an update released today.

The Kippax Street office tower was the first real estate acquisition in Sydney for Canva, which was founded in Perth by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams in 2013.

Plans for the Surry Hills office refurbishment come on the heels of a raft of new campuses opened by Canva in 2023, including at Austin in Texas, Collingwood in Melbourne and its first European campus in London.

Canva is targeting a 2026 opening for the refurbished Sydney headquarters which the company says will become its flagship campus.

The building, located in Sydney’s tech precinct, will include a rooftop recreation zone, ground-floor café and a gymnasium and community space on the lower ground level.

Plans for the upgraded office space comes amid heady growth for Canva which managed to sidestep the layoff trend that hit the tech sector in 2022, with the company building momentum in 2023.

Canva has increased its active user base to more than 170 million people in 190 countries from about 100 million this time last year.

The rooftop recreation zone for employees planned for Canva's new Sydney headquarters at Surry Hills

 

The company’s recruitment drive has also hit new highs, with the more than 358,000 people applying for jobs in 2023, breaking the previous record set in 2022.

“That’s more than 1,000 people applying for a role at Canva every day,” the company says in a recent update.

The valuation of Canva, which was reported to be worth more than $60 billion in 2021, has been subject to a review by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).

The review was part of an investigation by APRA into the valuation methodology applied by super funds in unlisted in the wake of a tech-sector meltdown in 2022 – a period that led to massive writedowns in the valuation of Canva. Australian Super and Hostplus are among the company’s investors.

Venture capital group Blackbird was among a number of VC investors to cut their valuation of Canva by more than a third to about $40 billion in 2022. The most recent share transaction for the private company last year was struck at a $39 billion valuation.

Last September, APRA found no issue with the valuation processes adopted by super funds for Canva.

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