​Australian startup Canva raises $6 million

Australian online design startup Canva plans to pump its latest $6 million funding effort into bulking up its engineering team in an aim to release its new 'Canva for Work' product by June.

Australian online design platform startup Canva has raised $6 million (AU$7.67 million) in additional funding led by Silicon Valley's Matrix Partners and Shasta Ventures, along with local VC players Blackbird Ventures and AirTree Ventures.

The latest capital injection pushes the Sydney-based company's total fundraising tally well over $12 million, adding to its $3.6 million funding round completed in July last year, and its initial $3 million seed funding round in early 2013.

The company, which operates a platform that combines a host of editing and online collaboration tools with over 1 million images and hundreds of free design elements, plans to pump the new funding into the impending rollout of its new "Canva for Work" product, due for launch in June.

According to a Canva representative, the additional investment will be used to bulk up the company's Sydney-based engineering team in order to build the new product, and will also be funnelled into marketing and promoting Canva for Work.

The new offering is a subscription-based product intended to see the company broaden its customer base to include larger organisations. As an additional product, it departs from the company's existing model, which lets people use the platform for free and purchase images for $1 apiece.

"Ever since we launched, we've been flooded with interest from a broad spectrum of companies, from large multinationals and franchises to design agencies, startups, and even real estate agents who want to ensure consistent branding across their marketing materials and documents," said Canva co-founder and CEO Melanie Perkins.

Over the past 20 months, Canva has grown its user base to 2.4 million, collectively creating more than 15 million designs, with over 200,000 organisations represented on its platform.

"Canva is one of those very rare companies that experiences rapid growth as a utility tool," said Matrix Partners' Josh Hannah. "It's phenomenal to see the fan base behind Canva and the immense potential of their new product."

In April 2014, Canva took on Apple's former chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki to help build its brand internationally.

"It's so WYSIWYG; there's no programming, it's just a beautiful, beautiful thing. So I came out of semi-autonomous retirement, and now I'm a full-time employee of Canva. Canva is my life right now," he said in July last year.