Accenture boosts supply chain capability with acquisition
Accenture has announced its acquisition of Australian-based supply chain and logistics consulting firm, GRA. This latest investment is the latest in Accenture's long-term global strategy to help boost the consulting firm's capabilities.
This latest acquisition from the global consulting firm is designed to strenthen Accenture’s Supply Chain & Operations capabilities that help public and private sector clients address complex supply chain demands to deliver dynamic customer experiences in line with responsible practices.
Founded in 1997, GRA has offices in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane with a team of 50 professionals. The firm Specialising in end-to-end supply chain and logistics strategies and operations, and working with some of Australia’s leading organisations in areas such as government, aerospace & defence and consumer goods, GRA's successful track record of "delivering value across a range of industries is exceptional", says Louise May, who leads Strategy & Consulting for Accenture in Australia and New Zealand.
Supply chains at a pivotal junction
The pandemic has accelerated the need for businesses to transform their supply chains to become more customer-focused, agile, and socially responsible with the flexibility to withstand future disruptions and this addition of GRA to the Accenture portfolio "will expand our supply chain and operations capabilities to help clients with their transformation to intelligent, customer-centric supply chains supporting profitable growth", says Tara Brady, country managing director for Accenture in Australia & New Zealand.
With a team of 50 professionals and offices in Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane, GRA will bring its deep knowledge and skills in supply chain strategy, planning and execution to Accenture's extensive network of clients and partners.
“With supply chains across sectors at a pivotal junction, we are confident that this combination will enable both our team and clients to continue to grow and innovate at an accelerated pace," says Carter McNabb, founding partner at GRA.
Accenture boosting capabilities with multiple acquisitons
Accenture’s acquisition of GRA follows other investments across Australia and New Zealand in the past 18 months. These include the acqusition of cloud-native solutions provider Olikka in November 2020; of SAP and cloud solutions technology firm Zag in October 2020; and of data analytics and supply chain management company Icon Integration in February 2020.
Further acqusitions include that of business strategy and econometrics firm AlphaBeta in February 2020; specialist government consultancy Apis Group in December 2019 and big data and analytics company Analytics8 in August 2019.
C-suite spotight: Melanie Perkins, CEO, Canva
Who is Melanie Perkins?
She’s the co-founder and CEO of Australian unicorn online design platform Canva, who ultimately became one of tech’s youngest female CEOs, at just 30, and recently became a billionaire aged 35, making her one of Australia’s richest and youngest.
Why is she in the spotlight right now?
Because less than a year after securing a US$6bn valuation during the pandemic, which provided a big boost to business, Canva has recently more than doubled its valuation, securing a $15bn valuation, which makes Perkins a billionaire, according to Forbes. The valuation comes in the wake of a new funding round in the first week of April 2021 led by T. Rowe Price and Dragoneer and raising $71m. At the same time, Canva announced its business has passed $500m in annualised revenue, up 130% from the year before.
What is Canva and why is it so successful?
Launched in 2013 by co-founders Melanie Perkins (CEO), Cliff Obrecht (COO) and Cameron Adams (Chief Product Officer), Sydney-headquartered Canva is a free-to-use online graphic design product that allows users to create everything from social media graphics to presentations and other visual content, as well as offering paid subscriptions like Canva Pro and Canva for Enterprise, with 3 million of its now 55 million users taking paid subscriptions.
Accruing 750,000 users in its first year, following a number of rounds of investment including from Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital in 2019 and this month’s massive funding round, Canva now boasts 55 million users across 190 countries, with offices in Sydney, Beijing, Manila, and most recently Austin, Texas, and is valued at $3.2 billion.
And while the company was originally most popular with SMEs, helping them draft and design print and digital assets, it’s since grown to become a real-time collaboration suite that’s being used by big firms including McKinsey, Salesforce and American Airlines. In fact, Canva claims that 85% of Fortune 500 companies use the platform’s services. They continue to add new features and during the pandemic, added presenter video recording tools.
How did Perkins get there?
The idea of Canva came to Perkins when she was at the university of Perth, where to earn money on the side she taught students design programmes. Many of her students found platforms like Adobe complicated and frustrating, and the ideas came to her to simplify and democratise design, to make it more approachable and accessible, more collaborative, and ultimately to empower all in design. So, she and university peer Cliff Obrecht, who became Canva co-founder and Perkins’ husband, created an online school yearbook design business, Fusion Yearbooks, to test it out. Operating from her mum’s living room, the yearbook design business was a massive success, expanding to New Zealand and France, and remains the largest yearbook publisher in Australia.
However, Perkins did not give up on her dream to create a one-stop-shop design site and at one point spent three months living with her brother in San Francisco where she pitched to more than 100 venture capitalists, all of whom rejected Canva. It was following a chance encounter at a conference in Perth with Silicon Valley venture capitalist Bill Tai, Perkins was winning over major investors including Hollywood celebrities Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson and building out Canva’s design platform with a fast-growing team of tech engineers and a high-profile tech advisor, Lars Rasmussen who co-founded Google Maps.
It was in 2012 when things really kicked off however when Perkins and Obrecht found a tech co-founder in Cameron Adams. The same year, they closed their first funding round, which was oversubscribed and raised $1.5m, with Canva going live in 2013. In 2019, an $85m funding round led by Silicon Valley investor Mary Meeker’s Bond Capital gave the company a valuation of $3.2bn, before the most recent funding around in April 2021 leading to a valuation of $15bn.
In her own words…
"I think it's pretty important to know that every single person is going through their own trials and tribulations. Knowing that it's tricky for everyone, that any adventure will be filled with rejections and littered with obstacles – somehow makes the adventure a little less lonely. And it's most important for people who feel like they are on the outside to know this."