99designs, which is the the largest online graphic design marketplace in the world and the largest in Europe, has acquired 12designer – the second largest design marketplace company in Europe – in what is a significant step in furthering the company’s international expansion plans.
The acquisition of Berlin-based12designer gives 99designs’ a base for its European operations, with the regional headquarters in that city, and with the founder and CEO of 12designer appointed as the company’s General Manager for Europe.
The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, follows 99designs’ capital raising $35 million Series A investment led by Accel Partners last year, and which CEO, Patrick Llewellyn says will enable the company to build significantly on its existing momentum and resources in Europe.
Llewellyn said the acquisition of 12designer gave the company an ideally situated base in Berlin which was the design hub of Europe. “There is no better place from which to implement our aggressive regional growth plans.”
According to Llewellyn, Germany is 99design’s number one non-English language market, its fifth largest overall and one of its fastest growing.
“Despite minimal marketing in Germany and other European countries, European small businesses and startups have accounted for approximately 15 percent of the 155,000 graphic design contests held on 99designs’ English-language site to date. The 12designer acquisition will allow 99designs to better meet the needs of European customers by providing support in their own languages and time zones,” Llewellyn said.
The founder and CEO of 12designer, Eva Missling, has been made General Manager of Europe for 99designs, tasked with optimising localisation of 99designs services for European markets, accelerating growth in Germany and across Europe, and building the company’s Berlin team.
Missling will also continue to oversee 12designer, which will continue to operate as a stand-alone site in the near term, servicing a community of more than 20,000 designers and their interaction with customers in German, French, Spanish, Italian and English.
“We’re very excited to welcome 12designer Founder and CEO Eva Missling and her talented team into the 99designs family. We believe their deep regional marketplace expertise and multi-lingual capabilities will prove instrumental in accelerating our delivery of truly localized world-class design services to European businesses and designers,” Llewellyn said.