DesignCrowd takes on 99Designs in the US, seeking to grow its crowdsourced design business tenfold

DesignCrowd takes on 99Designs in the US, seeking to grow its crowdsourced design business tenfold

DesignCrowd, the Australia-headquartered crowdsourcing service for designers, has big plans: it wants to grow its business from $10 million to $100 million as quickly as possible — and its first step is to conquer the US.

With this goal in mind, it is taking on 99Designs — which has been based in San Francisco since 2010. Interestingly enough, 99Designs was also founded in Australia.

To stand out from the competition presented by the incumbent in the online design services space, DesignCrowd employs a slightly different model of crowdsourcing. For example, instead of only paying the chosen design, DesignCrowd pays participation payments to more designers, rewarding more of the crowd.

Alec Lynch, founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, tells TNW he believes the company has developed a crowdsourcing process that has helped it grow faster than its competitors.

In particular, we’ve developed a crowdsourcing model that is fairer and more lucrative for designers and, in turn, better for customers. Going forward, we think the design crowdsourcing process will continue to evolve and improve and we plan to continue investing in our product and pioneering the model.

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Lynch also tells us that the US has become the company’s biggest source of sales, making up 40 percent of the total. The country also provides DesignCrowd with its largest source of designers, and revenues there have doubled in the last six months alone. Lynch explains that this stems from how people in the US have embraced crowdsourcing.

We see the biggest demand for crowdsourcing and our service coming from small businesses and entrepreneurs in the US who seem to love crowdsourcing. This is because design crowdsourcing is so compelling and game-changing.

Essentially, DesignCrowd offers graphic design service on steroids – it’s cheaper, faster and more creative than going to a traditional agency.

Basically, DesignCrowd is a is a virtual marketplace which connects designers with companies of all sizes that want to outsource design projects. Companies simply list a job for a logo, Web design or other visual products and receive a number of options from designers all around the world. A typical logo design project costs $200 to $400 and gets over 100 different designs.

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To get a headstart on its US plans, DesignCrowd has secured a further $3 million in funding from Starfish Ventures, taking its total funding to $6.3 million. Back in 2011, Starfish Ventures had already pumped about $3 million into DesignCrowd.

The latest funding will be used to set up a US office and build up a team in the next 12 months.

DesignCrowd is also keen on exploring new markets. A year ago, it entered Asia via launches in India, Singapore and the Philippines — three months after the site rolled into Canada and the UK. The extra capital will go to helping it suss out even more potential markets in Europe, South America and Asia — Lynch says the company is planning to launch DesignCrowd in at least two new languages in the next six months.

As DesignCrowd embarks on its journey to take traditional design studios head on though, Lynch notes that the stalwarts in the industry still have an overwhelming market share of 99 percent.

The global design industry is large — at least $44 billion — but incredibly fragmented and competitive with thousands of design studios worldwide…

The biggest opportunity for DesignCrowd is to take a larger share of the $44 billion traditional design industry and this is our focus.


Headline image via Shutterstock

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