One shouldn’t get into the arts for the money, but even starving artists need to get fed. The good news is that there are zillions of ways to capitalize on creativity, now that everything can be a canvas.
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Today, Minted, an online marketplace for home goods, art, and stationery designed by independent creators, announced it’s raised $208 million in Series E financing. The growth-stage deal was co-led by German PE firm Permira and T. Rowe Price Associates. The company and its investors did not disclose financial terms of the transaction.
This is, by far, the company’s biggest round raised to date. From seed through Series D, the company raised over $89.1 million in prior funding, according to Crunchbase Data. Including this Series E round, the company has raised roughly $300 million to date. In other words, in this one deal alone, Minted hauled in more than twice the sum of its prior rounds, tripling its total capital raised.
In a statement, Permira partner and co-head of technology investments Brian Ruder called Minted “a market leader,” in the creative goods space. He cited Minted’s brand, analytics capabilities, and community of contributors as its main pillars. A representative for the company did not provide specific details about the business, saying only that Minted is currently profitable.
Minted intends to use this fresh capital to expand into new market segments. The company will begin “leveraging its archives of thousands of unique designs” through its design licensing and wholesale businesses, according to its funding announcement. Minted has partnered with retailers like West Elm and Pottery Barn Kids, which sell art and other merchandise adorned with designs from Minted’s portfolio.
Henry Ellenbogen, the fund manager representing T. Rowe Price on this deal, said in a statement that “Minted is successfully both selling directly to consumers and supplying other retailers. It has the ability to build a much larger company.”
Minted has come a long way since its inception over a decade ago. In August 2007, Mariam Naficy started Minted.com, a website selling high-end stationery from big brands and indie designers alike.
Minted isn’t Naficy’s first e-commerce rodeo; in the heady days of the late-90s tech bubble, she co-founded online cosmetics company Eve.com1. She led that company for over two years and sold it for $100 million in 2000, just as the walls of the previous tech bubble came crashing in.
Later, once Minted got up and running, it became clear that stationery from independent designers was selling better than the big-brand stuff. Minted subsequently developed a system for crowd-sourcing designs from the general public, and built its business around that creative marketplace model. No longer only an internet card shop, Minted expanded beyond stationery, into wall art, decor, and household goods, providing multiple media for its community of contributors to create with.
“To be an independent creative today is tough,” said Naficy, who is still CEO of the company more than a decade on, in a statement. “Few artists are lucky enough to be able to do it on their own, and the rest have to rely on a system that isn’t transparent or meritocratic, and by nature edits their work,” she continued.
From her perspective, this round is not just a milestone for Minted, but one for market-driven meritocracy as well. “Getting design in its purest form from creator to consumer […] ultimately produces the best business results.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
The domain is now owned by the makers of Eve Online, a video game.↩
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