Online print platform Helloprint has received a “multi million euro” injection of funding from existing investors Bregal Unternehmerkapital and Project A. This comes a year after the two funders made their first investment in Dutch company.
The money will be used to strengthen the platform which directs incoming jobs to a network of partner printers using a complex algorithm to direct the work to the most suitable production outlet. For UK buyers this has often meant a printer on the Continent, limiting the ability to meet any demand for high speed turnaround or same day delivery.
Now CEO Hans Scheffer says that he aims to increase the number of UK partners in the coming year thanks to the additional investment. “Our aim is to increase the number by at least 50%,” he says. “It’s not a fixed number: we can add more than that. It’s a matter of contacting them and connecting them to the platform.”
The business is growing rapidly. “We expect to cross the 50 million euro revenue line in 2018, a growth rate of approximately 50% compared to last year, the fourth full year since our inception. Our business model has proven itself over the last years, and we see interesting things happening in the fast growing online print market.”
That includes a diversification away from simple cut and fold products, flyers, business cards and the like. “It’s still a large part of what we do. Now we have invested a lot into larger format and we also see opportunities in labels and packaging.
“We want to have the most complete marketplace where customers can buy all their printed products.” These customers are in the main small businesses, though can also include graphic arts professionals, printers and designers included “from two men with their Macs to larger design agencies” says Scheffer.
The company offers more than 3,000 product types reaching 200,000 customers last year.
And the UK is particular target because, compared to Germany and the Netherlands where online print is most integrated, it remains under developed. And thanks to a historic connection to Printing.com, now part of Grafenia, there is an understanding of the UK above France, Spain and Italy which are also growing markets.
“In Germany the amount of print purchased online is still below 20%, but the percentage in the UK is not more than 5-10% we think,” he says.
Helloprint is not the only online print investment for the VC businesses. Bregal Unternehmerkapital and Project A also have stakes in Onlineprinters.de, a company which focuses on producing everything that it sells.
A year after receiving its first VC interest, Helloprint has received a multi million euro investment from the same time, validating its network approach to exploiting online purchase of print.
And it will use the money to increase the percentage of work that is produced in the UK by lifting the number of partners it works with in this country.