Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Stationery Startup Minted Raises $41M for Larger Crowdsourced Design Push

A few years ago on the crowdsourced design site Minted, an unknown designer from Galena, Ohio, asked for feedback on a wedding invitation design that had fireflies flying out of three Mason jars. Minted commenters helped strip the design down to a perfectly twee finished product with a single jar, which was posted on the site. Paige Rothhaar’s “Fireflies” has now sold more than a million dollars worth of print-on-demand stationery on Minted. The designer won a cash prize on Minted and continues to receive at least six percent of retail sales.

“On the right substrate, the combination of medium and design are magical,” said Mariam Naficy, founder and CEO of Minted. Naficy has just raised $41 million in Series C financing for Minted led by Technology Crossover Ventures and including Allen & Company and Benchmark Capital. Minted is also backed by some 37 angel investors including Kevin and Julia Hartz, Jeremy Stoppelman and Marissa Mayer.

San Francisco-based Minted has “substantial eight figures of revenue” (meaning tens of millions), is growing more than than 100 percent per year and is cash-flow positive, Naficy said.

Minted founder and CEO Mariam Naficy

Minted founder and CEO Mariam Naficy

After six years on $11 million in funding and with 115 employees, “Once we started researching how much we had underfunded the company, we realized we had a much bigger opportunity,” Naficy said.

Minted has started expanding into products that aren’t printed on paper, like party favors, and Naficy’s goal is for the site to become a broader crowdsourced design marketplace. This week Minted announced its first retail partnership, a selection of wall art to be sold at West Elm.

Who uses Minted? Brides and moms. Naficy won’t give an actual customer number, but said Minted cards have so far been received in 29 million households.

Of 5,000 designers, 98 percent are women and 40 percent are mothers. “We see lots of submissions at 1 a.m. and 2 a.m.,” Naficy said. “And I, being a mom myself, am right there with them.”

“This is blurring the line between a lay person with a great hobby and professional,” Naficy said, pointing to other crowdsourced design businesses like Threadless, Quirky and 99designs. What’s different about Minted is the brand is all about women and premium products, Naficy said.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”