CafePress Looks to Public Markets to Raise $80 Million

CafePress, which can print just about anything on a mug, poster or T-shirt, unfortuantely can’t print its own money.

It will have to ask the public markets for that. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, founded in 1999, has filed to raise $80 million in an IPO.

While a number of companies are rumored to be contemplating filings after LinkedIn’s recent rally, this one wasn’t particularly high on the list. But it looks like CafePress has built a fairly sizable company, according to the document filed with the SEC today.

In 2010, it shipped six million products from a catalog of more than 325 million products, and as of March 31, it had more than 13 million members and more than two million shops.

Also in 2010, the company recorded a profit of $2.7 million on revenues of $128 million. In the most recent quarter, ended March 31, it lost $831,000 on revenues of $32 million. In the comparable quarter a year earlier, it lost $40,000 on revenues of $21.9 million.

However, revenues have not always been on the upward trajectory and were hit hard in 2009 by the recession. Because of that, however, the company adjusted its royalty and pricing structure, which allowed it to increase earnings before some non-cash items by 46 percent, even though revenues dropped by 14 percent.

It believes a key differentiator of its business model is its ability to produce customized merchandise profitably in small quantities.

It said the cash raised from the stock offering would go toward general corporate purposes, including working capital and capital expenditures. In addition, it could acquire or invest in another business.

Underwriters include J.P. Morgan, Cowen and Company and Jefferies.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work