The Revolution Growth fund today announced a $40 million investment in CustomInk, the web-based, market-leading custom t-shirt company for groups and occasions. The investment will support CustomInk’s rapid expansion and new growth initiatives as it approaches $200 million in annual revenues, with year over year growth of 50 percent. As part of the transaction, Ted Leonsis, co-founder of Revolution Growth, will join CustomInk’s board of directors.
“CustomInk sits at a sweet spot of community, creativity, social commerce, and technology. They are revolutionizing their category by combining these elements with a deep dedication to the needs of their customers,” said Ted Leonsis, co-founder of Revolution Growth. “The company has already experienced tremendous growth, and we look forward to using our own experience building consumer brands to help the company strategically accelerate that growth.”
CustomInk serves hundreds of thousands of groups and occasions each year in its mission to unite people through the power of custom t-shirts — from companies and charity events to schools and family reunions. With an unparalleled focus on customer care, CustomInk leverages its expansive art and font library, sophisticated fulfillment operations, and consumer-friendly website to give its customers a fun and easy way to design top quality products quickly, on-time, and to their exact specifications.
With a proven track record of innovation, CustomInk is well-positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities, including the recent launch of Booster, a new platform designed to help people raise money and rally support for their causes, loved ones, groups and projects through the online sale of custom t-shirts. The company also sees a promising opportunity for a media business and is developing a sponsorship platform, called Pear (www.PearUp.com), to enable brand sponsorship of groups and occasions on a grassroots level.
“We believe custom t-shirts have the power to bring people together. That’s why we say ‘T-shirts Unite!’ and it’s what inspires us to continue to innovate and offer incredible service to our customers,” said CustomInk co-founder and president, Marc Katz. “The Revolution Growth team has a uniquely strong track record of building groundbreaking companies around the idea of human connection, and their insight, guidance, and capital will be a huge help as we grow and pursue new opportunities. I’m particularly looking forward to having Ted on our board.”
Co-founded in 2000 by Marc and two former Harvard classmates, CustomInk today holds a leading position in the $5 billion custom apparel market, delivering approximately 20 million t-shirts per year, and currently employing more than 800 people. In addition to its customer-centric approach, the company is known for its strong character and commitment to giving back to the community. It has been named to several best places to work lists, including Fortune’s 50 Best Small and Medium Sized Companies to Work For. Its charitable and community relations arm, the Three Hearts Initiative, partners with non-profit organizations and encourages “Inkers” (CustomInk team members) to get involved with causes that matter to them.
“CustomInk is the type of company we like to invest in at Revolution Growth –attacking a significant market with an innovative approach,” said Donn Davis, co-founder of Revolution Growth. “We focus our energy and capital outside of Silicon Valley as we believe great companies can be built everywhere, and CustomInk is a perfect example of that, based here in greater Washington, DC.”