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Perth startup Canva from couch to Silicon Valley heights

Australian tech start-up has reached the 'unicorn' $1 billion mark in valuation
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  • Australian tech start-up has reached the 'unicorn' $1 billion mark in valuation
  • Design company Canva was started by young owner Melanie Perkins in 2012
  • It has now reached Silicon Valley heights and shows no signs of slowing down
  • Office is based in Sydney's Surry Hills and is thought to be the 'dream' work place

By April Glover For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 21:06 EST, 8 January 2018 | Updated: 01:57 EST, 9 January 2018

Canva, a graphic design company, was founded by Melanie Perkins (pictured) at age 24 despite having zero experience in the field

Canva, a graphic design company, was founded by Melanie Perkins (pictured) at age 24 despite having zero experience in the field

A home-grown company which originated from a dusty couch in Perth has reached Silicon Valley heights after hitting $1 billion in value.

Canva, an online graphic design company, was founded by Melanie Perkins at age 24 despite her having zero experience in the field.

It has now become the first Australian start-up to hit the coveted billion-dollar mark ($1.28 billion) since software company Atlassian, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Tucked away in a Google-HQ style office in Sydney's Surry Hills, Canva employs over 80 people and has climbed to behemoth success thanks to venture capitalist Sequoia Capital, which has invested in the likes of Apple, Yahoo and WhatsApp.

Ms Perkins (middle) started Canva in 2012 with friends Cliff Obrecht (left) and Cam Adams (right) after beginning her first business from her mother's couch in PerthMs Perkins (middle) started Canva in 2012 with friends Cliff Obrecht (left) and Cam Adams (right) after beginning her first business from her mother's couch in Perth

Ms Perkins (middle) started Canva in 2012 with friends Cliff Obrecht (left) and Cam Adams (right) after beginning her first business from her mother's couch in Perth

Ms Perkins, from Perth, didn't even study graphic design at university but fell in love with it during a first-year subject in digital media in 2005.

She started Canva in 2012 with friends Cliff Obrecht and Cam Adams after beginning her first business from her mother's couch in Perth.

It now has users from over 190 countries and has been translated into 100 different languages.

But her already enormous success is not enough for Ms Perkins, who wants to grow even bigger still.

Ms Perkins and boyfriend Cliff Obrecht founded the first company from her mum's Perth living room in 2007Ms Perkins and boyfriend Cliff Obrecht founded the first company from her mum's Perth living room in 2007

Ms Perkins and boyfriend Cliff Obrecht founded the first company from her mum's Perth living room in 2007

But her already enormous success is not enough for Ms Perkins, (Pictured) who wants to grow even bigger stillBut her already enormous success is not enough for Ms Perkins, (Pictured) who wants to grow even bigger still

But her already enormous success is not enough for Ms Perkins, (Pictured) who wants to grow even bigger still

Canva (website pictured) now has users from over 190 countries and has been translated into 100 different languagesCanva (website pictured) now has users from over 190 countries and has been translated into 100 different languages

Canva (website pictured) now has users from over 190 countries and has been translated into 100 different languages

'I know we have a $US1 billion valuation but we like to say we are a baby unicorn. There is a lot more to do before we are grown up,' she told the Australian Financial Review.

'I think we can make Canva the most valuable tech company in the world.'

It might seem like a lofty goal for a company which actually lost $3.3 million in the last financial year.

But it has found its niche as one of the fastest growing software businesses in the world.

Canva generates its revenue from user subscriptions but it does offer some limited free usage.

It started from a simple idea after Ms Perkins (pictured) realised the software programs on the market at the time were very 'clunky'It started from a simple idea after Ms Perkins (pictured) realised the software programs on the market at the time were very 'clunky'

It started from a simple idea after Ms Perkins (pictured) realised the software programs on the market at the time were very 'clunky'

It follows a search and drag format, where users can choose from Canva’s gallery of photographs, graphic elements and cut-out images.

It started from a simple idea after Ms Perkins realised the software programs on the market at the time were very 'clunky'.

'It was really complex and difficult, and it would take the entire semester to just learn where the buttons were on the software,' she previously told Daily Mail Australia.

'At the same time Facebook was taking off, and it was so easy to use and everyone was on it.'

'It was really complex and difficult, and it would take the entire semester to just learn where the buttons were on the software,' Ms Perkins (right) previously told Daily Mail Australia'It was really complex and difficult, and it would take the entire semester to just learn where the buttons were on the software,' Ms Perkins (right) previously told Daily Mail Australia

'It was really complex and difficult, and it would take the entire semester to just learn where the buttons were on the software,' Ms Perkins (right) previously told Daily Mail Australia

Ms Perkins (middle) pictured with her boyfriend Cliff Obrecht (right) in the early days of her businessMs Perkins (middle) pictured with her boyfriend Cliff Obrecht (right) in the early days of her business

Ms Perkins (middle) pictured with her boyfriend Cliff Obrecht (right) in the early days of her business

It was Ms Perkins' dream to create the perfect workplace for her employees.

Canva staff are offered free overseas trips with the entire office and are allowed to work the hours they wish to work.

Other extravagant incentives for more than 80 staff members include 'elaborate celebrations' when the team hit their target goal, free gym and yoga membership cards and free meals.

Lucky employees treated to freshly-made meals cooked by top chefs and Ms Perkins strongly believes siting down with the entire team in a lunch room is a great way to bond over work.

Canva staff are offered free overseas trips with the entire office and are allowed to work the hours they wish to workCanva staff are offered free overseas trips with the entire office and are allowed to work the hours they wish to work

Canva staff are offered free overseas trips with the entire office and are allowed to work the hours they wish to work

Other extravagant incentives for more than 80 staff members include 'elaborate celebrations' when the team hit their target goal, free gym and yoga membership cards and free mealsOther extravagant incentives for more than 80 staff members include 'elaborate celebrations' when the team hit their target goal, free gym and yoga membership cards and free meals

Other extravagant incentives for more than 80 staff members include 'elaborate celebrations' when the team hit their target goal, free gym and yoga membership cards and free meals

Lucky employees treated to freshly-made meals cooked by top chefs and Ms Perkins strongly believes siting down with the entire team in a lunch room is a great way to bond over workLucky employees treated to freshly-made meals cooked by top chefs and Ms Perkins strongly believes siting down with the entire team in a lunch room is a great way to bond over work

Lucky employees treated to freshly-made meals cooked by top chefs and Ms Perkins strongly believes siting down with the entire team in a lunch room is a great way to bond over work

'One of the Canva perks people hear about a lot is the chef cooks lunches every day,' she said.

'The chefs are very talented of course, but the real value and exciting part of the lunches is the team sits down with a changing range of people every day and connect as people.

'That feeling of community and connection is really important for any business that wants to try to achieve big things, because you're going to need to take risks and try things together, and so trust is very important.'

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia

Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Australia

Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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