World’s biggest online design marketplace launches Australian site
Through 99designs.com.au, Australian businesses will be able to ‘crowdsource’ their web, logo and other design needs by posting contests – receiving 90 designs on average for every contest they hold. The new site will allow Australian businesses and designers to work in their own currency, with local customer service, accounts management and business tools.
99designs is already the world’s largest connector of businesses and designers, hosting 60% of design contests globally. It has over 120,000 designers on its books, has held close to 100,000 contests to date, and pays out more than $1.1 million to designers every month.
Outside the US, Australia is 99designs' largest and fastest growing market, with $3.6 million worth of contests posted to date, prompting the need for a localised version.
The Australian site is the first step in a new localisation strategy, with plans to roll out sites in Canada and the UK. It comes after the company received a $35 million first-round capital investment led by Accel Partners, whose portfolio includes Facebook, Dropbox and Etsy.
Commenting on the Australian launch, founder Mark Harbottle, from Melbourne, said: “Australian businesses have already used 99designs to hold over 3,500 design contests in 2011. We’re here to foster new relationships between businesses and designers and we’re thrilled to be able to launch a local version of the site.”
Businesses can use 99designs to get incredible value for their design dollar, choosing their favourite web, logo, stationary or other design from those submitted by designers around Australia and the world. Businesses also benefit from rapid turnaround (receiving designs in days, not weeks), lower costs (in the order of hundreds, not thousands, of dollars) and a risk-free, with a 100% money back guarantee.
For designers, 99designs’ Australian launch delivers an important new source of opportunities at a time when more and more are relying on freelance work. The casualisation of the workforce, an increase in under-employment , and a desire for work-life balance are just some of the reasons that many Australians are choosing to supplement their incomes by freelancing.
99designs helps their cause by providing access to a global marketplace of ready-to-win jobs.
“The great thing about 99designs is that it’s a true fair go,” said CEO Patrick Llewellyn. “It doesn’t matter how many designs you have in your portfolio, it doesn’t matter whether you live in South Melbourne or Mirboo North, or whether you’re 25 or 60 – with 99designs your work speaks for itself.”
More than 1,000 new projects a week are posted to the site, with a new image uploaded every 6 seconds. Over 6,000 Australian designers are registered – a figure Llewellyn will be seeking to grow.
“We offer a great platform for designers to earn money, hone their skills and gain exposure,” Llewellyn said. “While they focus on what they do best, we help them with finding customers, invoicing, payments, contacts and workflow management. They work how and when they want, and by winning customers from around the world, they’re able to buffer themselves against local economic conditions.”
The company has its origins in Melbourne, where it operates an office in addition to one in San Francisco. The localisation strategy and other growth initiatives will mean that the company will double its number of staff in Australia, its global center for technology and product development. People interested in joining its Australian team are urged to apply at www.99designs.com.au.
Llewellyn said that with an estimated 2 million small businesses in Australia – and with an overall design marketplace worth $4 billion annually growing at 2.2% – the Australian design marketplace is a strong one. “99designs.com.au is about making even more connections between businesses and designers while getting more businesses using design services – especially small businesses who might previously have dismissed professional design as unaffordable,” he said.
One recent customer of 99designs was Lisa Fox, who crowdsourced a logo design for her soon to be launched peer-to-peer rental service, OpenShed.com.au. “We were hugely impressed with the designs we received,” Fox says. “Designers brought their ideas to the table from all around the world. There were five or six designs we would have been happy to go with. Choosing a winner was the hardest part.”
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NOTES FOR MEDIA:
Caroline Shawyer, +61 401 496 334, Caroline@prgroup.com.au or Melissa Shawyer, +61 412 066 048, Melissa@prgroup.com.au
99designs is the world’s biggest marketplace for crowdsourced design. It was founded in Melbourne, Australia in February 2008, when co-founders Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz spun it out of the SitePoint forums (sitepoint.com).
Backed by Accel Partners (whose portfolio includes Facebook, Dropbox and Etsy) – with participation from angel investors Michael Dearing (eBay, Harrison Metal), Dave Goldberg (Survey Monkey), Stewart Butterfield (Flickr, Tiny Speck), Leni Mayo (Learnable.com), Andrew Walsh (Hitwise) and Anthony Casalena (Squarespace) – the company employs over 40 staff in Melbourne and San Francisco and enjoys 120 percent year-on-year growth.
99designs has over 120,000 designers from 192 countries on its books. Since its inception, it has hosted over 96,000 projects and paid out more than $24 million to designers. More than 13,000 high-quality logos are available for instant purchase at its ready-made logo store.