Canva buys two design startups after doubling its monthly users to 50 million in just 12 months

- February 23, 2021 2 MIN READ
Canva cofounders
Canva co-founders_Cameron Adams, Cliff Obrecht and Melanie Perkins. Photo: supplied.
Online design platform Canva is bolstering its capacity in the artificial intelligence (AI) and automation space with the acquisition of two European design startups.

The Australian unicorn has bought Austrian AI platform Kaleido.ai, which built the popular background removal tool remove.bg and Unscreen, as well as Czech-based product mockup generator Smartmockups.

The acquisition costs were not disclosed.

Canva co-founder and COO Cliff Obrecht said: “Both Kaleido and Smartmockups bring an incredible wealth of talent and innovation in the visual design and AI space which will seamlessly integrate into Canva’s rapidly growing repertoire of visual communication tools as we double down on our investment and product innovation in the design AI and automation space.”

Head of apps and integrations Seb Ruiz said the two startups bring a new range of visual design tools to Canva’s ecosystem.

“The combined power of Canva, Kaleido.ai and Smartmockups unlocks endless opportunities for continued innovation in the design AI space. From powerful AI-based tools such as the hugely popular ‘one-click background remover’ to design automation features including the ability to create realistic product mockups at the click of a button,” he said.

Kaleido.ai is currently being used remove more than 100 million backgrounds from photos and videos monthly according to co-founder Benjamin Groessing, for clients ranging from  Alibaba, to The New York Times, and Samsung.

“In the last year alone, Kaleido’s userbase has grown by more than 600% as millions of people around the world seek out simple and affordable tools for traditionally complex problems. By integrating with Canva, we’re able to expand and accelerate our product roadmap and continue our R&D work in this space,” he said.

Meanwhile, Smartmockups was used to create more than 3 million mockups, from t-shirts to flyers, mugs, books, and devices, in 2020.

Both companies will continue to operate autonomously from their existing locations in Europe meaning Canva’s global footprint now spans Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria.

Alongside announcing the acquisitions, Canva also revealed that it now had 50 million monthly active users – an increase of more than 25 million in the last 12 months.


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