99designs, the largest online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design services, announced a $35 million first-round investment led by Accel Partners, with participation from angel investors Michael Dearing (eBay, Harrison Metal), Dave Goldberg (Survey Monkey), Stewart Butterfield (Flickr, Tiny Speck), and Anthony Casalena (Squarespace).
Andrew Braccia and Ryan Sweeney of Accel Partners will join 99design’s Board of Directors, along with Michael Dearing, 99designs co-founder Mark Harbottle, and company CEO Patrick Llewellyn.
99designs was founded in Melbourne, Australia in February 2008, when co-founders Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz – the entrepreneurs behind sitepoint.com, Flippa.com and Learnable.com – spun it out of the SitePointForums. 99designs, which employs 26 staff in Melbourne and San Francisco, was bootstrapped and is profitable, and has enjoyed 120 percent year-on-year growth.
The new capital will be invested in international expansion, platform development, community initiatives like design scholarships, and aggressive hiring in San Francisco and Melbourne.
99designs is Accel Partners’ third investment in Australia, including Atlassian Software and OzForex.
Accel Partner Andrew Braccia said: “Accel Partners has a history of investing in online businesses that cater to the ever changing needs of small business owners and independent professionals. 99designs has quickly become a global market leader in its category, providing an invaluable service to its customers and their global community of design professionals. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to assist in the company’s next phase of growth.”
Michael Dearing, whose private investments include Admob (Google), Heroku (Salesforce.com) and Mix Labs (Twitter) said: “99designs caught my attention when I realized that nearly every one of the early stage companies and entrepreneurs I work with was turning to them to get great design work done. The team has created a marketplace that is easy for companies to get onboard with, and is also a boon for designers who can go after any of the hundreds of jobs open at any one time.”
99designs Co-Founder Mark Harbottle said: “I’m thrilled that Accel see the same potential in 99designs that we do. This obviously presents a fantastic opportunity for the 99designs team, but I’m most excited about what we have in store for our loyal community of designers, and the hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world who use 99designs.com. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”
99designs CEO Patrick Llewellyn said: “This is an exciting time for the company as it pushes forward with expansion in several key areas. We now have the benefit of our talented and dedicated team, coupled with the best technology investors around. The board and shareholder advisors we have in place provide us with exceptional experience and insight to help guide our future growth.”
99designs is the #1 marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design services. Its ready-made logo store has over 10,000 high-quality logos available for customization and sale right off the shelf for $99, and its Design Contest Marketplace enables businesses to quickly and inexpensively source custom logo design, web design, business cards or any other graphic design work by launching design projects to a global community of over 100,000 designers. 99designs has hosted over 75,000 design contests to date, sees a new design uploaded every 6 seconds, and pays out approximately $1 million to its design community each month. To learn more about 99designs, including where the company is hiring, visit 99designs.com.
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