Who says the iPad isn’t for creation? Design platform Canva, which first launched last summer to offer an easy to use, drag-and-drop interface anyone can master, has now brought its technology to the iPad. Today, the company is debuting its first mobile application with Canva for iPad – an app that includes access to over a million stock photographs, graphics and fonts that can be used to quickly create layouts for the web, social media and print.
The Australian startup has now raised $6.6 million in funding from Matrix Partners, InterWest Partners, 500 Startups, Blackbird Ventures, Square Peg Capital, and others. Founders Fund and Shasta Ventures joined in the $3.6 million Series A round announced earlier this year.
The company originally grew out of an idea founder and CEO Melanie Perkins had developed for a previous business involving the online publication of school yearbooks. To make the process of building layouts simpler, Fusion Books, as the company is called, offered a similar user interface.
Canva isn’t competing against professional level tools like InDesign or Photoshop, but is rather marketing itself to those who may not have considered themselves “creative types” with a simple tool that lets you quickly build things like flyers, slideshows, invitations, posters, Facebook Covers, cards, photo collages, documents, blog graphics, and more, without needing much in the way of special skills. (Creatives, however, can still use the platform to collaborate with clients on designs.)
On iPad, the software basically functions the same as before, but instead operates by touch and not the clicking of the mouse, and is designed to be more finger-friendly.
Included with the release its Canva’s extensive library of graphics, illustrations and fonts you can use for your designs. Some of its elements are free to use, or you can purchase premium images for $1 each.
This micro-payment system is part of Canva’s overall business model. While some of its catalog was designed in-house, the company reached out earlier to professional photographers, designers, and illustrators, asking them to contribute their own portfolios to the service directly. Whenever a Canva user wants to access a premium graphic, they can buy it for a small fee which allows both the designer and Canva to generate revenue.
Since its launch over a year ago, Canva has grown to over 850,000 users who have created more than 6.2 million designs for web and print, says Perkins. 1.2 million of the designs were created just last month, she says, indicating growing traction.
As to why the company decided to port its web application to the tablet format, Perkins explains it’s about bringing Canva to a wider audience.
“A large number of Canva’s Web users have been asking for a tablet version, we expect they will be excited by the new possibilities our app unveils. Our app will help Canva reach new markets, as people can design wherever they are, whether they are at the office, at home or on the go,” she notes.
The iPad app can also access photos from your device’s Photo Gallery, as well as from Facebook, making it a tool that could work for more personal design tasks, too, like building a photo book while on vacation, for example. Being more consumer-focused could help the company grow and scale its user base further.
The new app is a free download here on iTunes.