6. September 2012–
The news follows US-based 99designs' August acquisition of its Berlin-based clone 12designer, its top rival in Europe, and its $35 million fundraising from Accel Partners and other investors last year.
As part of the acquisition, 12designer CEO Eva Missling (above, with 99designs' founder Patrick Llewellyn in Berlin) is now 99designs’ general manager for Europe. She will also continue to oversee 12designer, which has a community of more than 20,000 users across Europe and continues to operate as a standalone site.
Across its operations, 99designs claims the title of world’s largest online graphic design marketplace with more than 175,000 graphic designers from 192 countries around the world. The new German site is the "first of several country-specific websites, and we look forward to further launches in Europe in the coming months," Missling said.
The new relationship with Jimdo, which has quietly grown to 100 staff, 11 languages and four international offices since starting up in 2007, will see 99designs and Jimdo offering services together in Germany – presumably to help companies both design and build customised websites quickly and cost-effectively.
Some design workers, as reported in the international tech press and also as overheard by VentureVillage in Berlin recently, dislike 99designs – basically an open, online tender platform for design work – because it relies on designers submitting concepts without pay to compete for jobs.
In this lengthy article, ex-TechCrunch writer Sarah Lacy says 99designs founder Patrick Llewellyn was surprised by the criticism and is now working hard to understand and respond to critics. She also shares a few tales from designers who've built "staggering" businesses using the platform.
That debate is likely to continue, as more online marketplaces for design, web and app development and other micro-jobs pop up. Meanwhile, 99designs seems to be ticking over quite nicely in terms of popularity and number of users – check out the latest figures made public on the site below: