Canva has a freemium business model but receives revenue mainly from its monthly subscription services. The company also generates income through its marketplace, a design school, and printing services. That’s why Canva hit the $1 billion revenue rate in 2021 and 2022, and its valuation is $40 billion.
I use Canva in almost every graphic design task, from creating a logo to making a Facebook cover design. It’s the best online graphic design tool for me because of its simplicity and highly accessible and versatile interface.
On top of that, Canva has tons of fantastic features available, including high-quality stock photos and layouts. In my review of Canva, I detailed these features but left out how the online tool makes money.
In this post, I’ll lay out Canva’s different revenue-generating channels and other essential information about the company.
Canva is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) program mainly used for graphic design. Some content you can create using the online tool are the following:
You can do numerous things using Canva, like:
- Edit PDFs
- Add frames or filters
- Remove the background from photos
- Create short videos
- Add animations to text
- Use different stock images, music, and videos
Due to the numerous features, professionals in the creative industry widely use the tool. However, Canva became the go-to tool for individuals wishing to visualize their ideas and develop a design without prior experience. These people lack the resources to hire a designer and the time to learn complex design software programs like Adobe Suite.
Canva is the brainchild of three individuals: Cliff Obrecht, Cameron Adams, and Melanie Perkins. But Perkins was the actual mastermind behind the creation of Canva.
In the mid-2000s, she saw that the design platforms were over most people’s budgets and challenging to use. Perkins then set out to make design available to everyone, regardless of skill, ability, or financial resources.
That’s why she and her partner Obrecht founded Fusion Books to explore the sustainability of her proposal. The online company designs school yearbooks which became popular immediately and is still offered today.
But Perkins wanted to take the idea even further. That’s why she didn’t hesitate to present her concept when invited by Bill Tai to his retreat called MaiTai. And in 2012, Canva received the support of investors and a group of computer engineers.
By August 2013, Canva began accepting users. The platform was a sure hit and had over 50,000 users registered in the first month. But by 2014, the online design tool had accumulated 600,000.
Canva kept expanding its user base and feature set throughout the years. The company’s growth was also partially aided by acquiring other firms. For instance, it acquired the presentation startup Zeetings in 2018 and incorporated the product into its ecosystem.
And last, as it grew, Canva went into regional markets. For example, when it first launched in China, it included regional fonts, regional layouts, and a Chinese customer service staff stationed in Beijing.
How Does Canva Work?
Canva differs from most graphic design software because it doesn’t require a specialized operating system or complex equipment. Instead, anyone can simply access Canva through a browser and stable internet. Moreover, the platform is mobile-friendly and compatible with iOS and Android phones.
Unlike conventional graphic design programs, Canva has a drag-and-drop editor that makes it incredibly easy for people to use without training. You can choose from various templates or create your own design with different graphics, icons, stock photos, and fonts available. Also, Canva lets you:
- Link your social media accounts for easy posting
- Attach your work in an email
- Send the design through messaging apps
- Download your work in different formats
- Save your work in various cloud storage providers
On top of that, you can add your teammates to the projects you’re working on for seamless collaboration. Lastly, Canva is popular among businesses because of its brand kit feature. A brand kit includes the color, font, and logo you can quickly put on all your designs.
How Does Canva Make Money?
Last October 2022, Canva announced that over 100 million individuals use the platform monthly. Although some use Canva for free, a significant amount is paying subscribers.
But how does Canva make money? Here are the different ways the company earns its keep:
Main Income-Generating Channels
Canva was first offered without any fees or charges. You can use the platform for free by simply signing up. Of course, using Canva for free has limitations.
That’s why the platform offers subscription services, specifically the Canva Pro and Canva Enterprise. Take a lot at each one below:
Canva Pro is a high-end membership service that offers extra features not included in the free version. You can create brand or company logos and business presentations with premium and free templates. Other than that, the Pro plan’s premium features include the following:
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- Premium stock videos, photos, graphics, and audio
- Creation of up to 100 Brand Kits
- Features like Magic Resize and Background Remover
- Folder management for different projects
- Schedule social media posting
- One terabyte of cloud storage
- 24/7 customer support
The Canva Pro comes in at $12.99 a month, or you can pay yearly for $9.99 a month (or $119.99). And if you’re still hesitant, Canva offers a 30-day free trial to test the premium features before subscribing.
Moreover, the royalty rate paid to creators for content sold under the Pro subscription is 50% of the net income the Pro plan generates. Canva also deducts taxes and payment processing fees.
Canva For Enterprise
As its name suggests, Canva For Enterprise’s main customers are organizations, businesses, and institutions. The features of this subscription are as follows:
- A team dashboard to manage teams and assign responsibilities
- Provide various access privileges to team members
- Built-in comment feature for easy revisions and communication
- Team folders for easy collaboration
- A personal account manager and priority help whenever a problem occurs
Like Canva Pro, this has a monthly subscription price. It starts at $14.99 per first five persons. But using Canva For Enterprise is free for non-profit organizations. On the other hand, educational institutions can get it for a discounted price.
Other Revenue Sources
Aside from the subscription fees, Canva generates income through these channels:
Canva offers printing services for the design you’ve created. You can print business cards, postcards, brochures, invites, and t-shirts. Canva calculates the fee through the following criteria:
- Product type
- Order volume
- Country of residency
Canva’s printing services are available in over 30 countries. But note that some products aren’t available in some countries. You can check Canva’s website for a detailed list.
What’s excellent about Canva’s printing services is its sustainability. Through its One Print, One Tree Program, Canva plants a tree for every print purchase placed. The program aims to promote biodiversity, wildlife restoration, and regenerative agriculture.
Plus, to reduce waste, Canva makes all of its products made-to-order. The company also works with printers worldwide, so you can relax knowing your orders are being printed nearby.
Another income-generating channel of Canva is its Design School. Canva launched the Design School in 2014 and has classes covering all aspects of design, social media, and branding. The classes are offered online and physically.
The online classes are self-paced and free. On the other hand, physical education lessons might begin for about $5.
Canva employees and creative professionals mainly create the courses. The course materials will teach the student how to use the platform to its potential and advance design abilities.
On top of its subscription service, Canva runs an online marketplace. Customers who do not have a Pro or Enterprise plan can buy premium designs on the Canva website for one-time use.
The content creators are then given a portion of the profit from these design purchases. 35% of the selling price goes to Canva, while the remaining goes to the creator.
Funding, Revenue, Acquisitions, and Valuation
With 35 investors, Canva has $572.6 million in funding. The company hit the $1 billion revenue rate in 2021 and 2022, and its valuation is currently at $40 billion. Companies like General Catalyst, Softbank, Felicis Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Blackbird Ventures have made notable investments in the company.
Currently, Canva has six acquisitions:
- Flourish (Feb. 2, 2022)
- Kaleido (Feb. 23, 2021)
- Smartmockups (Feb. 22, 2021)
- Pixabay (May 17, 2019)
- Pexels (May 17, 2019)
- Zeetings (Apr. 24, 2018)
Key Partners of Canva
Canva’s partners enable the digital startup to expand its reach and offer top-notch goods and services to customers. Here are Canva’s key partners:
- Print Partners – the print partners assist Canva in printing and providing users with a range of products. They accomplish this by letting customers use Canva to design their websites before placing their orders.
- Digital Partners – Canva’s digital partners, like Wattpad, integrate Canva into their platforms to make designing content easier for their customers.
- App Partners – by making its API available to developers, Canva provides a platform for creating apps. Thus, the developers can incorporate outside resources and expand the service’s functionality.
- Pre-install partners – Samsung is Canva’s pre-install partner at the moment. By preloading Canva on devices, the pre-install partners advertise the business. In this manner, the customer would become accustomed to the software and be forced to use it anytime they buy a device.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can you pause your Canva subscription plan?
Yes, you can. You may put your plan on hold for three months. Your account will pause when your current billing cycle expires.
And after three months, your plan will automatically resume. But we’ll send you an email before it resumes.
2. Can you switch from Canva For Enterprise to Canva Pro?
Yes, Canva allows you to switch between the two subscription plans. But you’ll need to remove everyone from your team to upgrade to Canva Pro.
3. Is there a payout threshold for Canva Creators?
Yes, there is. The payout threshold is the minimum royalty amount your profits need to reach so Canva can pay its creators. Currently, Canva has a fixed $10 payout threshold for all its creators.
What Makes Canva Unique?
Canva is a versatile online design tool that anyone can use. The company adopts a simplistic strategy and runs on a plain SaaS business model. The tech juggernaut’s success can be attributed to its capacity to attract clients and keep existing ones by offering top-notch services.
Using the different income-generating channels, Canva is predicted to grow upward in the coming years. Even if a small proportion of its users choose to purchase the paid plans, the business still makes money and can cover its expenses.
Like this article? Learn more from other articles I’ve written:
- How to build a profitable business
- Tips on creating viral videos
- How to make press kits for your business
Are you a Canva Pro user? Is there anything else about how Canva makes money that needs to be clarified? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.