Exciting news: the next chapter for 99designs

When we set out to launch 99designs 3 years ago we knew we were solving an interesting problem in the design world for both customers and designers but we had no idea how big it could be…

In a nut shell 99designs removes risk from the design process for business and provide designers with an opportunity to earn an income from their passion and meet new customers. Today 99designs is by far the biggest graphic design marketplace of its kind in the world. We host thousands of design projects and pay out close to $1m a month to designers.

For the last 3 years ago our team has focused mainly on laying the foundations – making sure the platform is solid and scales, adding in necessary features, and getting our payment systems streamlined and secure, so our designers can get paid no matter where in the world they live.

We have also done a lot of work on the customer side – making sure that when someone visits our site for the first time it’s crystal clear how 99designs works. Behind the scenes we’ve been busy building out a sales support team to take customer calls. Like Zappos, we encourage our customers to call us with any questions – we love speaking with them.

To date very little has been spent on marketing. Our growth has been based purely on word of mouth. We have also never taken external investment – every cent has been invested back into the business. While extremely proud of that fact, we are acutely aware that for 99designs to grow and take the next step that needed to change…

So today, I’m proud to announce that 99designs has just raised $35m from arguably one of the most successful technology investors in the World, Accel Partners. Accel have been around the block a few times to say the least. They hold investments in Facebook, Groupon, Dropbox, Etsy, and Squarespace, just to name a few. Most importantly they understand the vision and challenges that lie ahead for 99designs, and they’re happy to roll up their sleeves and help us out.

So, how will this change the 99designs you’ve come to know and love?

Well, we plan to spend a good chunk of this investment on distribution and marketing, which means more customers for our design community. We also plan to build out the platform with many of the features our customers and designers have been asking for to improve the overall experience. And finally, we will create new and exciting opportunities for designers to connect with clients, enhance their skills, and earn an income doing what they love…

Most importantly, this investment goes a long way towards guaranteeing that we will be around long term. As a designer you can build your profile and customer relationships on 99designs.com with confidence. We’re just going to get bigger and better!

On a personal note, I want to thank our community and customers for your support. I also want to thank our awesome team, particularly Lachlan Donald and Paul Annesley who we locked in a small dark room for at least the first 18 months to get 99designs off the ground. The real challenge and fun lies ahead of course, but it’s nice to look back and appreciate how far we’ve come in a short amount of time.

We have a formal press release that you’re welcome to read. I look forward to organizing events in the coming year so I can meet more of you, our customers and designers, in person.

Here’s to a big year for you and 99designs.

All the best,

Mark Harbottle

Jason Aiken is the Community Director of 99designs.
Jason Aiken
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  1. Dani_Dani

    Cool ^^

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm
  2. Jonathan Frost

    Congrats guys, you’ve earned your number 1 spot and I look forward to seeing the results of this new investment!

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Thanks Jonathan,

      We are all super excited over here – there are great things to come!


      Reply April 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm
  3. Aaron

    Read the article on TechCrunch. Great news! Looking forward to new features and benefits!

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 1:46 pm
  4. gabi

    Congratulations Mark, Jason, and each memeber of the 99designs team!!!!!!! we are proud of been a part of the 99designs family ;)

    All the best and keep it up !!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm
  5. Alex (“babakonda”)

    Whoa, great news – congrats!

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 3:49 pm
  6. PavkeNS

    Great ! Now when you will have more customer, maybe you should increase logo prize minimum. So the minimum for logo design should be $300. Also maybe to change some rules. If a client on his contest have more then 30 design examples, he can’t refund that contest. They should also learn to respect our time, and to learn a fact that they will have better results when they are communicating with us. There is a lot of clients who refund contest without any feedback to us. You are the best, you are the #1 in the world…just try to stay #1 among us designers also, and not just clients.
    Your faithful designer PavkeNS.
    Regards guys

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm
    • Rioda

      Great! please don’t allow the CH to refund the contest cuz it such a waste of time doing there design need and making revision as they requested and end up to refund status.
      Don’t allow them to combine many design in 1 contest
      please put also a minimum reward money per design on each category
      No refund feature please so they don’t steal our idea/concept and waste our time.

      Reply April 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm
    • Moss

      Agreed. Improve the feedback system, that’s all.

      Reply April 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm
    • Blaze

      +1 agree

      Reply April 29, 2011 at 6:49 am
    • Mike

      Good luck with that buddy, 99Designs or the CHs don’t care about peons like you. Want clients to respect you and your work? Start charging for your services instead of getting involve in spec work

      Reply May 1, 2011 at 8:30 am
    • paul

      With a broad audience attracted to 99 designs, there is also a broad array of designers and skill levels.
      Although this is expected and many designers will grow through this process, they also need to understand that many clients have high expectations.
      So when a contest has 40 logo submissions you can expect many of these to be below par with a decent amount being variations of the same.
      Sometimes its like finding a needle in a haystack.
      My personal opinion is that a good logo requires a 600+ budget.

      Reply May 1, 2011 at 7:49 pm
    • Cindy

      Totally agree :)

      Reply May 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm
  7. Jason Cartwright

    Massive congratulations guys, its gotta be a great day ! Celebrate in style at your awesome achievements. Great service has clearly been recognised.

    Cheers !

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm
  8. Peper Pascual

    Congrats to those people in dark room for 18 months. that’s a serious job just to strengthen 99designs. It’s nice to hear the phrase “guaranteeing that we will be around long term”, I have this feeling of security that we could be together till my hands gets astonished. Hehehe! Congratulations to the 99designs community, More Power!

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm
  9. rembrandtjurin

    Congratulations 99designs! Wow. Huge investment and a good choice by Accel Partners! So does it mean we will have more “FREEBIES” to come??? :)

    Mabuhay 99designs!


    Reply April 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm
  10. Jurgen

    a BIG BIG congratz. I don’t know what we would do without 99designs already :) Its already a big part from us. Meeting would be really cool to meet some of you guys. Looking already forward.
    best regards


    Reply April 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Jurgen – if you are ever going to San Francisco or Melbourne… please let me know.


      Reply April 29, 2011 at 6:31 am
  11. Prity

    Congrats …. its really feels good to be a part of 99designs… this really is a great place to work for designers, since not all designers are good at marketing. 99designs take all the pain of marketing and getting good projects for designers to work on. That’s really great!!! :)

    Reply April 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      Thanks Prity!


      Reply April 29, 2011 at 6:30 am
  12. Sam @ Free Business Listing

    Congratulations guys, keep it up

    Reply April 29, 2011 at 5:33 am
  13. RotRed

    CONGRATS 99DESIGNS !! i wish you all the best always , for all of you in the team , and all designers work in here , you have become our big graphic company that we love!!!
    meeting the team and other designers would be the greatest thing ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D my cousins lives in Sydney , i was thinking if i had the chance to go to Australia , i will sure pay you a visit in Melbourne =)
    wish you all the best always ;)

    Reply April 29, 2011 at 10:28 am
  14. ulahts

    WOW, congratulations team 99!
    I always knew that this is the only crowdsourcing website that worths, especially that it all began with a beautifull community like SP!!!

    Congrats again!

    Reply April 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm
  15. Ledevil

    Congratulations Team 99DESIGNS – you are best

    Reply April 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm
  16. webknix

    WOW …Congrats to you guys for such an awesome achievement !!! Your phenomenal growth is a testament to your commitment to both designers and clients alike. Wishing you many more years of success and I personally can’t wait for the exciting times ahead.

    Reply April 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm
  17. jinukumar

    All the best 99designs :)

    Reply April 30, 2011 at 11:01 pm
  18. Yulia

    Hi! I cant upload my designs!
    It seems there was a problem. The 99designs development team has been notified and are likely addressing the problem at this very minute. Sit tight, grab a coffee, we should be back on the air within minutes.”

    Reply May 1, 2011 at 6:28 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Are you still having trouble uploading your designs?

      Reply May 1, 2011 at 10:22 am
  19. angmari

    congrats! I’m honoured of being in this community
    thankyou to give opportunities to people like me

    Reply May 1, 2011 at 6:34 am
  20. Adnanza

    Congratulations to whole team of 99 designs,

    I am with 99 Designs (as a part of designer community) when it was just a contest forum at sitepoint., and only one to max. two projects used to be posted every day at that forum.

    Now it have been grown as one of the biggest crowdsourcing website. Although I have not won much projects at 99designs, but it have played a very important role (as an institution) for my designing career, and now I find myself a successful designer at may different platforms.

    Reply May 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm
    • Adnanza

      Thank you 99DESIGNS !

      Reply May 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm
  21. Marcin

    It’s a great news, and I am not surprised… I have recently got a couple of projects for my cute virtual agent hybrid chat project that can be viewed at http://www.inteliwise.com … designers from all over the world contributed and that’s awesome, I find the 99designs really contributing to customer service sites like ours …

    Reply May 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm
  22. SuhailBhat

    I live in small town and give my graphic design service to local newspapers on a small amount here in my city. it was not possible for me to work in such great environment. 99designs has simply changed my work into my passion
    I am really happy with this news and congrats 99design team for such efforts..

    Reply May 2, 2011 at 6:32 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Thanks for sharing how 99designs has had a positive impact for you!


      Reply May 2, 2011 at 10:02 am
  23. true02

    Congrats guys and girls! I am honored to work with someone like you! This is the job of my dreams and now I know that I’ll be dreaming for a long, long time :)

    Reply May 2, 2011 at 8:56 am
  24. true02

    Also, Accel Partners don’t have modern, trendy website.. ;)

    Reply May 2, 2011 at 9:00 am
    • Jason Aiken

      Maybe we’ll have to sponsor that as our next community contest ;)


      Reply May 2, 2011 at 10:02 am
      • true02

        At least you can do that. And we’ll do rest! :)

        Reply May 2, 2011 at 10:37 am
  25. secret

    almost 50% of my design submission are refunded.. please be strict on some clients…
    anyways congrats 99.. it really change my life.. i hope i can write a letter to share my stories…

    Reply May 3, 2011 at 7:44 am
    • Jason Aiken

      50% is many, many times more than the refund rate – if what you say is true… I think you are either having REALLY bad luck or not picking the right contests.

      As far as 99designs changing your life – that is great. Please feel free to share stories.


      Reply May 3, 2011 at 9:55 am
  26. KarinaA

    I’m yet to win a contest, and the last one I participated seams to be taking it’s time to award a winner(s).
    Being part of 99designs it’s been the greatest thing tha has happened to me in the design world. I’m not going to give up, I look forward to growing with you guys.
    Best of luck and congrats.

    Reply May 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm
  27. Liquid Pixel

    This is fantastic news!

    Reply May 4, 2011 at 2:28 pm
  28. ngMedia

    My day starts and ends with 99designs. I’m addicted to it. This news brings in immense pleasure. All the best guys. Wish you grow bigger n better.

    Reply May 5, 2011 at 6:23 am
  29. mmj

    Congratulations guys, sounds pretty mega!

    Reply May 6, 2011 at 12:11 am
  30. Nicholas Riley

    You presented the world with a solution to a difficult problem. 99Designs is nothing short of the ideal business model for any future web based design company in the world. Bravo!

    Reply May 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm
  31. CreativeDezigner

    This is AWESOME!..;P ..Congratulations!!! 99designs, You people are superb! …. I feel so good to be a part of 99designs ( feel my LUCKY DAY when I joined the community ).

    P.S. Thank you 99designs.


    Reply May 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm
  32. Getgraphic

    :) fantastic news! Congrats guys!


    Reply May 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm
  33. EDesign

    Wow!..!! it’s the news exciting and wonderful.

    Reply May 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm
  34. Terry Bogard

    That is great news Jason. We can expect to be really busy out here then :).

    Oh & BTW… I know this is not the topic here but just curious about bringing back the “unwithdraw” option for designers. Its really been bothering for a while.

    Reply May 11, 2011 at 9:11 pm
    • Jason Aiken

      I will get an update on unwithdraw.

      Reply May 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm
    • LKirk

      Agreed, I hate that we can’t unwithdraw a design. :-( Why was this option removed anyway?

      Reply June 7, 2011 at 11:20 am
      • Jason Aiken

        You can unwithdraw a design so long as it was not withdrawn as a result of a dispute.


        Reply June 7, 2011 at 12:50 pm
  35. mahamahim

    congrats….99designs team.

    Reply May 12, 2011 at 7:25 am
  36. bronking

    HI and congrats,

    may I suggest that clients are not allowed to give stars without feedback, I have had entries with 4 stars and no feedback whatsoever I may be so close but I’m definatly not telepathic or have it where they feeback or eliminate to save us designers wasting ours and there time.

    Reply July 1, 2011 at 8:15 am

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