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Australia’s Third Richest Woman Is Giving Away All Her $16B Fortune

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Australia’s Third Richest Woman Is Giving Away All Her $16B Fortune

“Mel and I are committed to giving away all our money to make the world a better place.”

Melanie Perkins’ success story was similar to many people – she loved what she did and saw how she could use her skills to start a business. But she and her then-boyfriend Cliff Obrecht probably never foresaw how they could become billionaires with the app.

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Canva

Canva made almost $1 billion in revenue last year before Christmas as WFH orders became the norm for more than 60 million customers.

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Canva
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Canva

It all started in 2005 when Melanie started Fusion, a software that helps schools design their own yearbook.

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Canva

A passionate graphic designer then and now, Perkins’ friends remember her as an “intense” and ambitious woman who dreamed of having “every single person on the planet to use Canva.” She said exactly just that to her 2500 employees back in December.

And it is indeed moving forward, leaving even Fortescue Metals Group behind in terms of value.

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Melanie Perkins

But even when she’s ambitious, Perkins and her husband have signed up to the Giving Pledge by Bill Gates, where they promise to donate their fortune during their lifetimes. The couple gets to choose how they wish to do this, and the couple pledge letter reads:

“We have this wildly optimistic belief that there is enough money, goodwill, and good intentions in the world to solve most of the world’s problems. We feel like it’s not just a massive opportunity, but an important responsibility, and we want to spend our lifetime working towards that.”

“Who needs all that money? Personally?” wrote the third richest Australian woman, pictured on her getaway vacation at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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Cameron Adams, her business partner, says, “She’s unequivocally the boss.” While her husband makes the solid statement, “She’s usually right.”

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Canva

Most people didn’t know that during the time they first met at the University of Western Australia, the couple was selling spray-on tattoos at local fairs.

Melanie who loves graphic design, was an aspiring figure skater as well. Her dedication to the things she loves was shown in her diligent daily routine of training at 4.30 AM every morning before she attends her classes at the Sacred Heart College.

The couple took out a loan and a tax rebate of $5k to promote Fusion and send samples to schools.

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MelanieCanva

After Fusion, the couple started Canva in 2013 and spent $2,500 to buy the domain. It took off, and the couple moved to Sydney to focus on business.

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Canva

“My boyfriend became my co-founder, and we started in my mum’s living room,” Melanie recalled. To get photographers and designers in, Obrecht attempted to convince photographers with the 25 cent price tag for their pictures as opposed to the one-time fee from Getty.

The couple worked hard to find partners and investors, and they eventually got the hang of it and had Google Maps co-founder Lars Rasmussen invest in her app.

Canva predicts their staff will grow to 4,000 this year. The couple also got married back in January 2021 and still live together in your average Sydney house at Surry Hills.

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Melanie Perkins

Obrecht proposed during their trip to Turkey, and the couple continues to enjoy traveling despite planning to give out all their fortune. The man explains, “Mel and I are committed to giving away all our money to make the world a better place.”

“I think with running such a large company with such a significant valuation now, it’s an obligation on us to use that to be a force for good and make the world a better place, rather than just hoard s**t,” he added while talking to The Australian.

“We live pretty modestly, and we don’t really see the need to just accrue wealth.”

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“The priority for the company is education because we really feel educating underprivileged people gives them the opportunity to break the cycle,” he continued.

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Canva

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