Canva introduces new developer tools and $50M investment fund

Canva has been around since 2013, and has been a tremendously successful design platform, raising over $570 million and garnering 135 million users along the way. With that kind of traction, it makes a ton of sense to let developers tap into that user base and take advantage of the work that the company has already done.

Today, at the first Canva Extend developer conference in San Francisco, the company announced a new SDK, more robust APIs and a $50 million fund to help encourage some of the better ideas.

Cameron Adams, co-founder and chief product officer at the company, says they’re staging the developer-focused event because it’s a really new phase in what’s going to be possible for developers interacting with Canva.

For starters, the company is releasing a software development kit (SDK), which Adams calls “one of the slickest experiences I’ve had developing on a platform. It is super polished; the team has done amazing work on it,” he told TechCrunch. This enables companies to build applications on top of the Canva platform.

They’ve also released a slew of new APIs. “So previously, you could build a bit on top of Canva, but with the new APIs we’ve just totally unlocked our platform. So now any developer can start creating an app that allows him or her to truly interact with people’s designs. So now they can add text elements, image elements, video elements, they can create their own shapes and illustrations that end up in people’s designs,” Adams said.

The announcement includes five APIs including Asset for uploading media to the Canva library, Data to add data to Canva, Design for building new design tools on top of Canva, Fetch for sending HTTP requests and User for authentication.

Canva SDK for creating tools on top of the Canva platform.

The Canva SDK developer interface. Image Credits: Canva

He points out that it’s not only taking advantage of access to Canva technology, it’s also giving developers access to the entire Canva user base.“There’re 135 million people waiting to use their app, which is an amazing growth channel for them. And it’s a huge opportunity for them to start interacting with really rich data rich experiences and becoming part of the design ecosystem.”

In addition, the company also announced an app marketplace to distribute the apps built on top of the platform and a $50 million fund to help launch some of the more promising ideas. “As we’re seeing that people can build really viable businesses on the Canva platform, were releasing a $50 million fund that we’re going to use to invest in app developers at all different levels,” he said.

The idea is to help a range of projects from those just starting to those who are experiencing explosive growth on the platform. “We can use that fund to fuel their growth, help them out and ultimately help them grow to a massive size as well,” he said.

The company has been working with developers on the beta for the past 9 months and have a wait list of more than 10,000, but they won’t have to wait any longer as the developer tools will be generally available starting today.

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