Australia's DesignCrowd takes AU$6m investment round

Australian online design crowdsourcing platform DesignCrowd has scored an AU$6 million Series B capital raising effort led by new tech-focused investment fund AirTree Ventures.

New technology-focused venture capital fund AirTree Ventures has led an AU$6 million Series B investment round for Australian online design crowdsourcing platform DesignCrowd, doubling its total capital raised to date to AU$12 million.

The company, which operates an online marketplace platform providing logo, website, and graphic design services via a network of over 400,000 designers globally, previouslyreceived a pair of AU$3 million investment rounds from Starfish Ventures, which also participated in the latest funding round.

The Sydney-based company wants to use the funds to help it scale up its business internationally by investing in global sales and marketing, product and innovation, and customer service.

DesignCrowd estimates that three quarters of its revenues already come from outside of its home country. However, the company's founder and CEO Alec Lynch believes that there is still a long way to go before properly tapping the crowdsourced design market.

"Already 75 percent of our revenues come from outside of Australia, but we believe there's huge room for further growth," said Lynch. "We will also be investing heavily in product and customer service, and plan on doubling the size of our engineering and customer service teams in 2015.

"Crowdsourcing and DesignCrowd will continue to disrupt the AU$44 billion traditional design industry, and the opportunity for DesignCrowd remains huge. Last year, we reached AU$20 million in total designer projects, and we're aiming to double that and hit AU$40 million in 2015," he said.

As part of the capital raising deal, AirTree Ventures partner Craig Blair will join Lynch, Anthony Glenning of Starfish Ventures, and DesignCrowd chairman Garry Visontay, on the company's board.

AirTree Ventures Fund, which is the AU$60 million venture capital fund established in July last year by Blair -- former Expedia Australia managing director -- and former Microsoft executive Daniel Petre, has already put some of its dollars into online pet sitter community platform Pawshake.

The entrepreneurial pair have previously invested in a number of standout companies, including eBay, Travel.com.au, NineMSN, and Ticketek.

DesignCrowd's latest investment round comes as local online education startup OpenLearning secured AU$1.7 million in funding, bringing its total fundraising tally to AU$2.1 million, which it plans to pump into its Asian expansion.