99designs, the largest online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design services, announced today it has launched into the UK at 99designs.co.uk and begun hiring staff locally as part of its strategic international growth plan. The company was founded in Melbourne in 2008 and began building out its San Francisco headquarters in 2010 - the UK will be the company’s launch pad for its European expansion.
“The UK has been a significant market for 99designs from the very beginning in terms of the design talent and customer base we’ve attracted there,” said CEO Patrick Llewellyn. “We’re looking forward to building a strong presence on the ground to help UK designers build their businesses, enable companies of all scope and size to source affordable high-quality graphic design work, and enhance and expand our services on all fronts.”
The UK is among 99designs’ fastest-growing major markets — the company has increased its monthly UK design contests 120% year over year, and expects accelerated growth as it ramps marketing and local outreach activities. 99designs has held more than 120,000 design contests on its site to date in categories ranging from logo, stationery and t-shirt design to website and mobile app design, and expects to surpass 200,000 design contests by year-end.
Some of 99designs’ top graphic designers reside in the UK, including Michael Kirby of Newcastle in the northeast of England. Kirby has made more than $30,000 in the last six months through a combination of designer payouts secured on 99designs plus ongoing client work sourced through the marketplace. 99designs has distributed more than $30 million to designers worldwide since its inception and projects it will pay out $25 million in 2012 alone.
“99designs offers the perfect solution for talented designers living in the north of England or less commercial areas to find work on a global stage without having to relocate, allowing them to grow and develop their business with little risk or overhead,” said Kirby, who was prompted to join 99designs after his design business took a hit in the recession. “I now have a huge amount of content and glowing testimonials from clients to populate the new business website I’m launching.”
UK businesses that have used 99designs for their graphic design needs include technology startups like Cambridge-based Hubflow, an enterprise mobile learning platform; brick and mortar retail outlets including London café and patisserie Le Petit Village; and charities such as KiDs of Bolton, founded by Bolton Wanderers captain Kevin Davies and his wife, Emma Davies.
99designs, the largest online marketplace for crowdsourced graphic design services, enables businesses to source custom logo design, web design, t-shirt design, print design and other graphic design work quickly and affordably by launching design projects to a global community of more than 140,000 designers in 192 countries. In addition to its design contests, 99designs provides a 1-to-1 invoicing system that enables designers and customers to work together efficiently, and offers a ready-made logo store stocked with more than 13,000 high-quality logos available for customization and sale right off the shelf. The company was co-founded by serial entrepreneurs Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz (SitePoint, Flippa), and is backed by Accel Partners and angel investors Michael Dearing (eBay, Harrison Metal), Dave Goldberg (Survey Monkey), Stewart Butterfield (Flickr, Tiny Speck) and Anthony Casalena (Squarespace). To learn more about 99designs, including where the company is hiring, visit www.99designs.com.
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