Canva – one of the fastest growing SaaS companies

Software as a Service (SaaS) is gaining popularity all the time. The SaaS industry is estimated to see its largest annual growth between 2021 and 2022, reaching $ 171.9 billion by the end of this year. SaaS is considered the most important technology for business success and the fastest growing segment in the IT security market is security in the cloud.

What is SaaS?

SaaS or Software-as-a-Service – is a business model in which software is hosted by an external provider and delivered to customers via the Internet as a service. Users do not need to install software, they simply access it via the Internet, freeing themselves from software and hardware management. Most SaaS products are aimed at business customers, but some products are very popular among individual customers. Such software can cover an extensive range: from office software to communication among the wide variety of other business applications available.

The essential advantage of SaaS is that you do not have to worry about its infrastructure, and users do not need time for its installation and maintenance. It is (except for failures) always available and up-to-date. Access to data can be obtained from any place and device. Saas is available to a wider range of companies, both large and small. Since SaaS is hosted on the Internet, you cannot use these applications without being connected to the network

There are three types of cloud-as-a-service options, each with some degree of management: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS).

IaaS – Infrastructure-as-a-service or IaaS is an infrastructure including a physical data center, firewalls, network security, and servers and storage. Examples of Iaas include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Alibaba Cloud, Green Cloud Technologies, IBM Cloud, and Vultr.

PaaS – Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a cloud computing model where a third-party provider delivers software tools to users over the Internet. PaaS examples: AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Windows Azure, Heroku,, Google App Engine, OpenShift.

And finally the previously described SaaS – which we will focus on. Examples of SaaS include BigCommerce, Google Workspace, Salesforce, Dropbox, MailChimp, ZenDesk, DocuSign, Slack, Hubspot, and Canva.

SaaS Case Study – Canva

… with a mission to empower everyone in the world to design anything

No doubt, Canva is one of the most rapidly growing SaaS companies in the world. An easy-to-use graphic design tool – this is the first association that comes to mind about the platform. Over 75 million monthly active users are impressive.

source: Canva

Canva was founded in Perth, Australia by Melanie Perkins, Cliff Obrecht, and Cameron Adams on January 1, 2013. When launched in 2013, Canva attracted over 750,000 users in the first 12 months. How is it possible that the website was so successful in such a short time? The answer is simple – with proper targeting. At the very beginning, the platform was aimed at influencers – who needed to easily and quickly create graphics for their social media or blogs. Another group of users

Canva targeted social media marketers and bloggers – who needed to create beautiful graphics quickly and frequently – with no design experience.

In the first 2 years, they reached 2 million users – an average of 3600 registrations per day or 111 111 registrations per month. Canva for Work launched in 2015 with a focus on marketing materials to help you get the job done. 2016-2017 is an extremely breakthrough year for Canva – its revenues increased from $ 6.8 million to $ 23.5 million. In 2017, the company was profitable and had 294,000 paying customers. In January 2018, the company was valued at $ 1 billion. In May 2019, the company raised another round of funding of $ 70 million from General Catalyst and Bond and from existing investors Blackbird Ventures and Felicis Ventures, valuing Canva at $ 2.5 billion. In December 2019, Canva announced the new Canva for Education product, a free product aimed at educational institutions to facilitate student-teacher collaboration. In 2021, Canva was valued at $ 40 billion. Plans for the future? They are not going to stop.

What is their key to success?

Canva lets you design and publish anywhere in the world. It was created for people who want to quickly and easily design graphics. If we look at Canva’s business, we can see that everything Canva does – responds to the real needs and problems of users. Canva is an online graphic design tool that keeps things simple and possible for everyone. Addressed especially to those who do not have the time and skills to create graphics in complex design programs.

No matter what graphics you need – you will surely find them in Canva. It offers the creation of graphics from business cards, and posts on social media channels, to posters, menus, CVs, presentations, as well as videos … etc.

The adventure begins with choosing a template – or for the more courageous – choosing a canvas with a non-standard size. Pre-made templates include documents (including presentations), social media posts, blogs

and e-books, marketing materials, events and ads, social media headlines and emails, business cards, resumes, and more. Canva has the current dimensions – for social media graphics – which is a great help for those starting their adventure with design or needing to make some graphics quickly.

Then, in the chosen graphic format, the user discovers what he would like to create. Intuitive drag-and-drop controls are at the heart of Canva. When the user decides to choose a given template, he can additionally choose various text formats to be inserted in the graphics, any elements, illustrations, and photos. The component finder allows you to find exactly the item you are looking for.

Canva’s biggest advantage is that the platform is extremely simple and intuitive for users. Each selected template starts with the recommended color scheme. Adding and editing text is a simple task. Virtually everything in Canva is done by grabbing, snapping, dragging, or releasing items. Canva allows everyone to create professional graphics. The platform has undoubtedly satisfied the market’s need for the availability of graphic design software for people who do not have special design skills. What distinguishes Canva from Illustrator? It is simple, even banal to use. You don’t need courses to create attractive graphics. You don’t need to install any software. All you need to do is register on the website and this is where the adventure begins. Now EVERYONE can create good graphics in a few seconds.

Read about our favorite SaaS apps: Kreatik loves – SaaS apps!

Canva’s key channels

The platform is available for macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS. Users don’t need to buy a license – or download software to their computer. Canva is cloud-based as a service, users can choose from a free or paid subscription plan. In addition, Canva also has applications available in the Appstore and Playstore, which allows you to easily design graphics on mobile devices.

Free Availability / Subscriptions

Canva offers its users a full-fledged tool with lots of templates, photos, and elements for free. This brought her tremendous success. It is now an integral part of Saas’ marketing strategy – you must first make the tool available for free to encourage users to take advantage of the paid version.

The main purpose of Canva’s free version is to show users – that the software can meet their needs. The user has the opportunity to get acquainted with the product directly.

In its free version, Canva offers:

  • Over 250,000 free templates,
  • Over 100 ready-made projects (social media posts, presentations)
  • Hundreds of thousands of free photos and graphics,
  • Possibility to invite members to the team,
  • Collaboration and commenting in real time,
  • 5 GB of cloud storage.
source: Canva

Canva offers different pricing plans depending on the number of people on your team. Offers monthly or annual plans. Canva is free for schools and nonprofits. In conclusion – anyone can use Canva for free. Or, you can choose a paid plan that offers even more tools and possibilities (Canva PRO, Canva for Enterprise). Canva for Enterprise is perfect for organizations, franchises, and agencies with large teams that need all the features to increase productivity, as well as advanced controls for large-scale commercial collaboration and project publishing.

The answer to a real problem

There was a big problem in the market. Small, small companies with no graphic designers or designers in their ranks desperately began to need more and more professional graphic designs on social media, on their websites, blogs, or promotional materials. Hiring graphic designers or an advertising agency is usually a cost that exceeds the possibilities of small companies. On the other hand, programs such as Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc. are programs that require learning to create any graphics. So we have a real problem that Canva responded to by entering the market with the ability to create clean, easy, and editable designs. What is also important – to a large extent – free of charge – which was immediately received positively and with great value for small businesses. No complicated layers, vectors, filters – just drag and create graphics. With small businesses around the world and individual users, Canva has solved a very important market need.

Do you like case studies? This article will definitely interest you: Netflix strategy analysis!

Collaboration and Sharing

In Canva, you can invite teammates, friends, and family to collaborate and collaborate on any project. There are two types of bands in Canva: Free and Canva Pro. Free teams are available to all Canva users, and each free team can count up to 3,000 members. You can assign the administrator and member roles to team members to control access. It is possible to create up to 20 free teams. Canva Pro amplifies the features found on standard free teams.

Software as a service (SaaS) tools replace and complement existing collaboration tools, helping companies adapt to changing work environments. With Canva, you can design with your team from anywhere. It allows you to create professional projects in real time on one platform. The website allows you to post comments, mark team members and even assign tasks. Users can share designs and solve other users’ suggestions right in Canva. It also allows you to create a “branding kit” ensuring consistency across all projects. Users can create designs using the brand’s color palettes, logos, and more.

source: Canva

Canva also gives you the ability to easily organize, store and update your files, which is an important part of teamwork.

Canva Live

To take engagement to the next level, Canva has introduced real-time interaction that will allow any presenter to easily, effectively, and instantly communicate with their audience. This is how Canva Live for Presentations was born. With Canva Live, participants can ask and answer questions, comment, and participate in discussions.


Scalability is an extremely important feature of the Saas system, which has become more and more important in recent years. Technology has undoubtedly made it easier to attract more and more customers. Scalability is the ability of a system to easily adapt to an increased workload.

Canva users can add more designs to storage quickly and easily without investing in hardware or software. Canva is highly scalable, allowing businesses to access more features and services as they grow.


In SaaS, unlike traditional software, you don’t have to buy a software license. Companies pay for what they use and can terminate the contract as soon as they decide they no longer want to use the app; the monthly or annual SaaS subscription fee is much lower than the upfront cash fees associated with purchasing traditional software. Canva replaces many programs in one: acts as a design tool, but in its on-disk cloud library – holds multiple designs. In her library, you will also find a large number of stock photos to use, and various elements necessary to create graphics.

Data safety

Safety in Canva is a top priority for the developers of the platform. While in transit, projects are only accessible via TLS / SSL, while at rest, projects are encrypted with AES256. Canva employees only have access to the data they need to do their job – and the designs themselves are stored with the cloud providers who control that data.

Canva uses a global CDN to prevent network attacks and ensure the high availability of the service. All in all, rest assured, your private designs won’t be available to anyone who isn’t logged in to Canva, or anyone else using a different account unless you share your designs.

Canva is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the world, with an impressive number of users – they rely on Canva for a variety of design needs every day. The website provides companies, organizations and individuals with a design platform thanks to which they can visualize their design ideas. Canva wins on many levels with the ease of design – everyone is able to create a graphic design in it, so it responds to a real problem – individual units, but also many companies. and organization – and that makes it simply unique.

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Paulina Figlewicz

UX Designer

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