World-leading Australian crowdsourcing platform 99designs gets $35 million, shows depth of Australian tech


As I have written before, Australia is a global hub for crowdsourcing platforms, with the likes of, 99designs, DesignCrowd, Kaggle, Ideas While You Sleep and many more resident here.

We have tapped some of this Australian expertise for our events, notably our Future of Crowdsourcing Summit, held last November simultaneously in Sydney and San Francisco.

The latest news is that design competition platform 99designs, in its first external fundraising, has just received an investment of $35 million from major VC firm Accel Partners. Techcrunch reports that 99designs has been growing at 120% per year, and that the number of design competitions hosted by the firm has doubled in the last four months. While the company didn’t need money, it started to see the potential of investing in growth. According to Techcrunch,

“..the clincher was how hard 99designs found it to hire once they moved the sales part of the business to the Valley. “Any employee you look to hire here asks, ‘Who funds you?’” Llewellyn says. “You realize there’s a psyche that’s very different from Australia. To go to the next level and bring on the talent we wanted was going to be hard being a bootstrapped company from Australia.”

This is now the third investment Accel has made recently in Australian tech companies, rounding out its $60 million investment in Atlassian and $70+ million into OzForex.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Accel Partner Andrew Braccia as saying, “We’re looking more closely at Australia. Australia has a lot of opportunity and promise.”

Absolutely. These recent larger deals are just the tip of the iceberg of the quality of Australian tech emerging currently, with start-up seed accelerators such as StartMate and PushStart helping to grow the next generation.

The size of the investment also points to an inflection point in the growth of crowdsourcing. As people begin to understand the power of using crowdsourcing in growing their businesses, and how to use these tools well, distributed work will shift how organizations large and small work. More on those bigger shifts from us soon.

We have used 99designs to create the logos for 4 of our companies and ventures across the AHT Group. Here are our 9 practical steps to getting great outsourced design on 99designs.