99designs makes first European acquisition

99designs is expanding its presence around the world, starting with Germany

Australian crowdsourcing company 99designs has acquired 12designer, a German company, for an undisclosed amount.

12designer is the second largest creative design marketplace in Europe after 99designs, with Germany one of 99designs’ fastest growing markets.

Eventually, 99designs aims to operate 12designer as a standalone site in the future.

“Berlin has emerged as the tech start-up and design hub of Europe with more than 1300 start-ups there and home to a deep multilingual talent pool to help to help us grow our presence. It's a very exciting and innovative place to be right now,” Patrick Llewellyn, CEO of 99designs, told Computerworld Australia.

The acquisition is 99designs’ first and will allow the company to crowdsource in non-English languages, including German, French, Spanish and Italian, and in European time zones.

To date, although 99designs has only offered its services in English and has carried out minimal marketing to the region, European business already makes up around 15 per cent of the start-up’s business.

“One of the big reasons why we liked 12designer is that they have a strong European presence so our first step is to take advantage of their multi-lingual team and local marketplace experience in markets like Italy, France and Spain, as well as obviously Germany,”

“Berlin will become 99designs regional base from which we will execute strategic regional expansion plans.”

Llewellyn said he would approach further potential acquisitions on a case-by-case basis and will be looking for like-minded companies with a similar vision. Partnering with overseas companies could also be on the cards, he said.

“Beyond Europe, we see opportunities in countries like Brazil where there is a vibrant small business economy, as well as countries like Japan where there is a strong appreciation for creative design,” Llewellyn said.

“True localisation and marketing of our services for European markets will be a key focus for 99designs in the coming year.”

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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