In 2008, Melanie Perkins was supporting herself as a part-time graphic design tutor while studying at the University of Western Australia, when inspiration struck. After seeing her students struggle to learn Adobe Photoshop, she envisioned a new graphic design platform that wouldn’t require multiple credit hours of experience to master. Over 10 years later, Perkins and her co-founder/husband Cliff Obrecht are billionaires thanks to Canva, their alternative to overcomplicated design software. With more than 60 million monthly active users, Canva is now a staple platform for everyone from small businesses to social media managers due to its simplicity and effectiveness.
Since founding Canva in 2013, Perkins and Obrecht have fought to attract investors and expand their platform to the masses. The latest round of funding valued Canva at $40 billion—and with their estimated ownership stake, the couple finds themselves worth nearly $6 billion each. The duo, who were married in early 2021, still serves on the company’s leadership team, with Perkins as CEO and Obrecht as COO. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to shift to remote work, Canva (and other platforms) grew exponentially. As hybrid business models become permanent, so does the platform’s popularity.