Spreadshirt closes €10 million in financing led by Kennet Partners

 

Mass customization apparel company secures growth funding

Leipzig (Germany) and Boston, MA (USA), February 23rd, 2009 — Spreadshirt, the world’s creative apparel platform, today announced an investment of €10 million by Kennet Partners, a leading private equity firm, and existing investor Accel Partners.

Spreadshirt is a leading company for online mass customization, where goods can be easily personalized by consumers to make them more relevant and valuable, with a minimum order of one. Spreadshirt extends this capability to partners, large and small, who want to offer personalized shirts and other apparel to their communities and customers. Partners range from individuals with a blog, to the world’s largest brands.

Spreadshirt will use the funding to add new products and capabilities to its online platform, to strengthen its international footprint, and for innovative messaging to the massive market of people who wear clothes.

“Spreadshirt mixes an online ‘Web 2.0’ platform with the offline worlds of fashion, mass customization, and real-time manufacturing. Combining this with our global coverage means we require a financing partner with a range of experience to contribute more than simply cash,” says Jana Eggers, CEO of Spreadshirt. “Kennet, and specifically Managing Director Max Bleyleben, demonstrated their partnership mindset, and past results. We were sold.”

“Spreadshirt is an example of a capital-efficient business that has built not only a strong leadership position in Europe, but also quality leadership in North America,” comments Mr. Bleyleben. “The entrepreneurial team behind Spreadshirt — founder and Chairman Lukasz Gadowski, founder and CTO Matthias Spiess, and CEO Jana Eggers — have built a dynamic, innovative business for mass-customized eCommerce.” Mr. Bleyleben was elected to join Spreadshirt’s board.

“As a post-bubble entrepreneur, it is great to see our idea come to this stage of growth financing,” said Lukasz Gadowski, Chairman of Spreadshirt. “I am looking forward to working with the Spreadshirt team, Accel and Kennet to take personalization and self expression to new heights.”

Accel Partner Harry Nelis underlines the fit with Kennet, pointing out its experience with businesses that want to accelerate growth: “Since 2006, Accel has supported Spreadshirt’s development as it has become the market leader for creative apparel in Europe, and established itself in North America. With Kennet joining the shareholder group, we have additional expertise to take Spreadshirt across the chasm into the mainstream on both sides of the Atlantic.”

About Spreadshirt

Spreadshirt is the “things you wear” answer to the growing desire for personal branding — letting customers quickly create one-of-a-kind, high-quality, expressive apparel. Our customers are:

Buyers. Like tattoos, phone skins and MySpace or Facebook pages, Spreadshirt lets customers show who they are with what they wear, be it customized t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, bags, or accessories. If consumers don’t immediately have their own ideas, they are supported in finding what’s right for them with hundreds of thousands of top-quality designs from Spreadshirt’s extensive design community.

Sellers. Spreadshirt’s online platform supports some of the world’s largest corporations, like CNN, Holiday Inn Express, and Nissan, along with individual designers, bloggers and hobbyists, to offer unique, expressive clothing for their brand without worrying about demand management, inventory, manufacturing, logistics, payments or customer service. A basic Spreadshirt shop is free to set up and to operate.

Designers. Each week designers compete for fame and monetary prizes at laFraise, Europe’s largest t-shirt design competition and a Spreadshirt brand. The community votes, the designers get immediate feedback on their work, and limited edition t-shirts are printed and sold. laFraise also works with top brands like Celio, Greenpeace, and Sony to offer unique, crowd-sourced t-shirt designs to their communities and customers.

Spreadshirt was founded in 2002 in Leipzig without any outside capital and now employs more than 300 people in Europe and the United States. Spreadshirt has millions of individual consumers as customers, and over a half million shop partners worldwide. Meet Spreadshirt and its people at the Spreadshirt Blogs, Twitter, Flickr or Facebook, CEO Jana Eggers blogs at lifeonashirt.com.

For more information: www.spreadshirt.net

About Kennet Partners

Kennet is a leading international private equity firm that invests in growth companies in North America and Europe. Kennet invests in technology and technology-enabled business services, offering expansion capital to businesses that want to accelerate growth and build exceptional shareholder value in partnership with an experienced investor. Kennet has funds under management in excess of $500 million and acts as an advisor to Kennet II and Kennet III.

For more information: www.kennet.com. Kennet Partners Limited is authorized and regulated in the U.K. by the Financial Services Authority.

Max Bleyleben blogs about technology and entrepreneurship at maxbley.typepad.com.

About Accel Partners

Founded in 1983, Accel Partners has a long history of excellence and innovation in the venture capital business and is dedicated to partnering with outstanding entrepreneurs and management teams to build world-class companies. Accel today invests globally using dedicated teams and market-specific strategies for local geographies, with offices in Palo Alto, California; London, UK; and Bangalore, India; as well as in China via the IDG-Accel Partnership.

With over $6 billion under management, Accel has helped entrepreneurs build over 300 successful category-defining companies including: Actuate, Alfresco, AMCC, Arrowpoint, Baidu, BBN, Brightcove, ComScore, Etsy, Facebook, Focus Media, Foundry Networks, Gameforge, GlamMedia, Imperva, Infinera, Interwoven, JBoss, Kayak, Macromedia, metroPCS, Mu Sigma, Polycom/PictureTel, Portal Software, QlikTech, Rapt, Real Networks, Redback Networks, Riverbed, Sohu.com, UUNet, Veritas, Walmart.com, Webroot, XenSource, and Zimbra.

For more information, visit the Accel Partners web site at www.accel.com.

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European media enquiries:
Spreadshirt - PR-Manager, Eike Sievert, +49 341 594 00 5382, eike.sievert@spreadshirt.net
Kennet - Su Johnston, +44(0) 20 7839 8020, sjohnston@kennet.com

US media enquiries:
Accelent Marketing - Theresa Maloney, +1 925 287 1509, theresa@accelentmarketing.com