Canva opens shop in Manila

Canva, a budding online graphic design platform from Australia, has expanded by opening an office in the Philippines just 11 months from its debut.

An idea in the works since 2007, founders Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht and Cameron Adams created a way to simplify graphic design with a drag-and-drop tool paired with a library of more than 1 million photographs, graphics and fonts.

By boiling down the design process to its simplest components, users from any experience level can now create professional looking projects like those done in Photoshop of InDesign - a particular interest to marketers especially in the digital and social media space who need to quickly create content like a picture or a header.

“Canva can be used to create almost anything for Web and print, including presentations, blog graphics, Facebook covers and invitations. Our biggest users are marketers, bloggers and small business using Canva to create their own marketing materials,” Perkins, Canvas CEO, shared with Marketing via e-mail

Since its launch, the company has amassed over 650,000 users and has piqued investor appetite. Just this July, Canva raised an aditional $3.6 million in funding from Shasta Ventures, Founders Fund, Matrix Partners, Blackbird Ventures and Square Peg Capital.

Canva Manila, formally launched last 8 August, will be the startup’s first shop outside its home country, which will be manned by eight people to work initially on marketing, customer service and graphic design. The office will be headed by Kei San Pablo as Manila Office Manager.

Perkins confirmed that they are currently recruiting marketers, graphic designers and customer service professionals sourced from the local talent pool.

Without citing hard numbers, she confirmed that the Philippines is one of the company’s top 10 markets, owed to the Filipinos’ strong design aesthetic and being fast adopters of new technology. So far, over four million designs have now been created using the Canva platform.

Supporting the company’s overall strategy is Guy Kawasaki, which joined Canva last April as Chief Evangelist, a former role he had with Apple in the 1980’s. He is also an advisor to Google, co-founder of venture capital firm Garage Technology Venture and behind the online magazine rack, Alltop.

To add to Canva’s creative muscle, Peg Fitzpatrick has also joined Canva as Head of Social Strategy. Prior to this, she worked with Kawasaki as his social media architect, and she was the co-founder of the 12 Most website.

Canva has also announced a series of partnerships with companies including GoDaddy, Tailwind, Agora Pulse, Post Planner, and TabSite. Users of these websites will be able to create Canva graphics without leaving their page vial the newly released Canva Button.