Australian venture capital firm Blackbird Ventures has sold a portion of its stake in design platform Canva at a valuation of $25.5 billion. The secondary market sale to US investors, Coatue Management and ICONIQ Capital, brings Canva a step closer to its US listing. Blackbird first invested in Canva in 2012 at the seed stage with $250,000 and currently holds a stake worth around $5 billion.
Blackbird has been a shareholder in Canva since its founding in 2012. Over the years, the VC has supported the tech scaleup through eight funding rounds, with the most recent valuation of $54.5 billion in a $273 million raise in September 2021. However, in the past year, Blackbird, along with Canva’s other major VC investors, Square Peg and Airtree, had to reduce Canva’s valuation by 36% due to the impact of the pandemic on private tech company valuations.
Blackbird sold 3% of its 15% stake in Canva, generating $150 million. The funds invested in Blackbird’s early funds include AustralianSuper, Hostplus, HESTA, Telstra Super, Aware Super, and the Australian government’s Future Fund. This transaction is a significant return of capital to Blackbird’s investors.
Blackbird co-founder Rick Baker expressed his confidence in Canva and considered the sale to be a vote of confidence in the company. He highlighted Canva’s success and its strong performance driven by its Worksuite and AI product releases, which have led to user and revenue growth.
Canva, unlike other Australian tech giants like Atlassian, has been profitable since 2017. Cofounder Cliff Orbrecht stated that Canva is at a scale where it could consider an IPO. With the support of US investors, who have experience taking companies public, Canva is strategically preparing itself for a potential Nasdaq listing in the future.
The Nasdaq has shown interest in Canva, and the company’s presence has been highlighted on the Nasdaq’s digital billboard in New York’s Times Square. Canva aims to prove the repeatability and predictability of its big bets before going public, ensuring it meets the expectations of public market investors.