Elevator Pitch: Canva

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Melanie Perkins from Canva.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Canva is an online design platform that enables everyone to create great designs very quickly, and allows professional designers to easily collaborate with their clients.

For the first time, Canva takes graphic design from the desktop to the Web. Canva makes design amazingly simple for everyone by bringing together a drag-and-drop design tool and a library of more than 1 million stock photographs, graphics and fonts.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Our focus has been creating a product that solves a real pain point for a lot of people. We were fortunate to raise a $3 million seed round earlier this year from some fantastic investors in Australia and the US such as Facebook Director of Engineering and co-founder of Google Maps Lars Rasmussen, Yahoo! CFO Ken Goldman and funds including Matrix Partners, Interwest Partners and 500 Startups.

We want to ensure that every user has a magical experience with Canva. We want users to feel confident whilst designing and proud of the designs they create. We believe the key to strong growth is people coming back to Canva time and time again and promoting Canva to their family, colleagues and clients.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

After a year of development, we have just launched Canva to the world. Our goal now is getting Canva into the hands of as many people as possible, and continuing to ensure that people are able to feel confident using Canva and proud of the designs they have created.

How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?

Canva is a simple new way to design and gives you everything you need to easily turn ideas into stunning designs. We’ve built a library of professional stock photography, graphic elements and great fonts.

Canva has a very simple-to-use interface which enables people to spend more time designing and less time learning how to use the tools. Also, Canva is online and enables simple collaboration between team members or between a designer and their client.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Canva, of course! I also couldn’t live without Gmail and Skype.

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

One of my favourite business quotes is from Steve Jobs, who said “you’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology — not the other way around.”

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