The creator economy loves merch, which is great news for on-demand custom printing startups such as Latvia-based Printify -- today it's announcing a $45 million Series A round, led by Index Ventures, off the back of rising demand for its services.
The mission: To keep growing its global marketplace of print shops to meet rising demand for custom wares, shipped.
Also participating in the funding round: H&M Group, Virgin Group, plus the founders of TransferWise, Vinted, Squarespace and RedHat and entertainment industry investors including Will Smith’s Dreamers VC and at least one other person who Printify has asked us not to name for unspecified legal reasons.
TechCrunch understands Printify’s post-money valuation is just over $300 million.
E-commerce and creator-focused platforms like Patreon and Shopify -- which cater to micro-brand creating individual sellers (be they designers, content creators, e-commerce entrepreneurs or other highly online hustlers) -- are helping to fire up demand for custom products like t-shirts, mugs, stickers, etc., expanding the market for on-demand printing and shipping.
Printify says it's now connecting some two million merchants with print providers all over the world -- and shipping a million units per month.
It's also grown to employ close to 500 people -- doubling its headcount over the past year, now with a plan to add a further 200 positions by the end of the year.
"Our main audiences are creators, entrepreneurs; most of our merchants are people who want to build a side-business and earn money in addition to their main income, however, we also see a high growth of creators and entrepreneurs who use Printify as a service that helps building their core business," the startup tells TechCrunch.
It's one of a number of custom printing startups that have positioned themselves to step in to tackle the printing and shipping piece at scale, often building up businesses over several years from a far smaller base. (Others in the space include Printful, Gelato and Zazzle.)
The 2015-founded Printify has slightly fewer years in the business than some of its rivals, but it argues that's allowed it to be more focused on serving the micro-brand building merchants who are now sparking such a boom in demand custom wares.
"Printify gives the ability for everyone to earn additional income," it says when asked about the competitive mix -- touting a focus on product selection, quality and price as its special sauce, in addition to its marketplace's global footprint, meaning it can print and ship products to meet demand from merchants all over the world.
"Those are the key aspects our merchants are looking for," it adds. "Printify provides the largest selection of on-demand printed products for creators and merchants to sell online. Furthermore, Printify provides lowest prices, while ensuring reliable high quality standards."
The most popular products being sold by merchants using its marketplace are "the classics" -- aka T-shirts, hoodies, stickers, mugs, posters and hats.
"We also see a fast-growing market for baby and children's products, sportswear, pet products and drinkware," it adds. "Most merchants choose Printify because of our wide selection and geographical flexibility -- we have 370+ products in our catalog and adding several each week, printed in 100+ locations all over the world."
Commenting on the Series A funding in a statement, Dino Becirovic, principal at Index Ventures, said: "Printify is the leading marketplace for on-demand manufacturing, offering the largest selection of products and print providers. They have removed all the barriers to product creation and enabled over 2 million creators to launch successful merchandise businesses at the push of a button. Over time, as more manufacturers come online and more methods become available, Printify will allow any creator to bring their wildest product ideas to reality."
This report was updated to remove the name of an investor after Printify told us the person in question had requested not to be mentioned in the funding announcement "due to legal reasons".