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10 Lessons to Learn from a Successful Story: Canva

10 Lessons to Learn from a Successful Story: Canva

Canva, an Australian-based graphic design platform founded by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams in 2012, has revolutionized the way individuals and businesses create visual content. With a valuation of over $40 billion (1), Canva offers an easy-to-use interface, a vast library of templates, and collaboration tools that cater to both beginners and professionals. In this article, we will explore 10 key lessons from Canva’s success story, providing examples, statistics, and references.

1. Identify a clear market need

Canva was created to simplify graphic design for non-designers, addressing the complexity and high costs associated with professional design software (2). By offering an accessible, affordable solution, Canva quickly gained popularity among users.

Lesson: Understand the market’s pain points and create a product that offers a compelling solution.

2. Focus on user experience

Canva has consistently prioritized user experience, making its platform intuitive and easy to use, regardless of the user’s design skill level (3). This commitment to usability has contributed to Canva’s rapid adoption and growth.

Lesson: Invest in creating a seamless user experience to attract and retain customers.

3. Offer a freemium model

Canva’s freemium model allows users to access basic features for free, while offering a subscription plan for more advanced functionality and resources (4). This approach has enabled Canva to attract a wide user base and generate revenue from premium subscriptions.

Lesson: Consider adopting a freemium model to reach a larger audience and encourage users to upgrade to paid plans.

4. Continuously innovate and expand

Canva has consistently added new features, templates, and tools to its platform, keeping the product fresh and relevant (5). This constant innovation has helped Canva maintain a competitive edge and cater to evolving user needs.

Lesson: Regularly update and expand your product offering to stay ahead of the competition.

5. Cultivate a strong company culture

Canva has fostered a company culture centered on innovation, collaboration, and a commitment to making a positive impact (6). This culture has attracted top talent and driven the company’s impressive growth.

Lesson: Develop a strong company culture to attract the best talent and foster innovation.

6. Leverage partnerships and integrations

Canva has formed strategic partnerships and integrations with platforms such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and social media networks, making it easy for users to share and collaborate on designs (7). These partnerships have helped expand Canva’s reach and user base.

Lesson: Build strategic partnerships and integrations to enhance your product’s functionality and appeal.

7. Invest in marketing and customer acquisition

Canva has used content marketing, social media, and referral programs to attract new users and increase brand awareness (8). This focus on marketing and customer acquisition has fueled Canva’s rapid growth.

Lesson: Develop and execute a strong marketing strategy to acquire new customers and build brand recognition.

8. Embrace scalability and global expansion

Canva has scaled its platform to accommodate millions of users and expanded its services to over 190 countries, supporting multiple languages (9). This focus on scalability and global expansion has played a key role in the company’s success.

Lesson: Plan for scalability and global expansion, adapting your product to different markets and user needs.

9. Listen to and act on customer feedback

Canva actively seeks customer feedback and uses it to guide product development and improvements (10). This customer-centric approach has helped Canva maintain high user satisfaction and engagement levels.

Lesson: Encourage and utilize customer feedback to refine your product and address user needs.

10. Stay true to your mission

Canva’s mission is to empower everyone to create beautiful designs, and the company has remained committed to this goal throughout its growth (11). By staying true to its mission, Canva has maintained a clear vision and purpose, which has resonated with users and stakeholders alike.

Lesson: Stay true to your startup’s mission and let it guide your decision-making and growth strategy.

To conclude, Canva’s success story offers valuable lessons for entrepreneurs and startup founders looking to build innovative and high-growth companies in competitive industries. By learning from these 10 lessons, you can increase the likelihood of your own startup’s success and make a lasting impact in your chosen market.

About La Pietra Capital

La Pietra Capital envisions a future where our investment strategy focuses on supporting sustainable and solid companies, fostering long-term value creation and contributing to a more resilient economy.



(1) Forbes. (2021). Canva Raises At $40 Billion Valuation. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2021/09/14/canva-raises-at-40-billion-valuation–making-founders-29-billion-richer/?sh=6fb3530d64e7

(2) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). About Us. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/about

(3) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). Canva Features. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/features/

(4) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). Pricing. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/pricing/

(5) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). New Features. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/new-features/

(6) Glassdoor. (n.d.). Canva Company Culture. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/Overview/Working-at-Canva-EI_IE1704454.11,16.htm

(7) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). Apps and Integrations. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/apps/

(8) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). Canva Creators. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/creators/

(9) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). Languages. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/languages/

(10) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). Customer Support. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/customer-support/

(11) Canva Pty Ltd. (n.d.). Mission. Retrieved from https://www.canva.com/mission/

By internalizing the lessons learned from Canva’s journey, entrepreneurs and startup founders can maximize their chances of success and create a lasting impact in their respective industries. These valuable insights can help guide startups through various stages of growth, from initial ideation to global expansion. As Canva continues to innovate and empower users worldwide, its success story remains a source of inspiration and a blueprint for entrepreneurial excellence.

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