There’s no stopping 99designs

Crowdsourcing has radically changed the way business is conducted. Today, creative work, technical tasks, and even ideas can all be crowdsourced. Crowdsourcing allows companies to obtain ideas or services by sourcing contributions from an online community rather than from employees or service providers. Bolstered by a new generation of startups and a global recession that is pushing businesses to tighten their belts, crowdsourcing has now become a mainstream phenomenon. One of the startups at the forefront of crowdsourcing is 99designs. Founded in Melbourne, Australia and now based in San Francisco, California, the company has popularised the so-called “spec design,” which allows customers to post creative projects to a community of designers, who then compete and submit designs to the customer. A typical project usually attracts dozens of submissions. The design winner pockets around $250 while the customer receives a design for a lot less than a professional agency might charge. The business model has been so effective that last year, 99designs announced that it reached a new milestone of paying over $80 million in prize money, a contest revenue of more than $131 million, and over 850,000 designers signed up. Last week, the company raised $10 million in Series B funding so it can bring its marketplace to Japan.
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