CafePress Files For IPO With Goal Of Being The World’s Customization Platform

June 13, 2011

12:16 pm

Last week, CafePress, the company that allows you to put your logo or design on just about any kind of merchandise, filed an S-1 with the SEC to file for IPO to raise up to $80 million. The company has been operating since 1999 and includes a couple of different brands such as CafePress, CanvasOnDemand, ImageKind and GreatBigCanvas.

According to the filing:

We believe customers recognize us for our pioneering role in the industry, as well as our continued innovation advancing the breadth and quality of expressive customized products. Our mission is to offer an unrivaled platform that is the world’s premier source for self-expression through product customization and personalization.

To save you time, I’ve pulled out some of the most interesting points about the CafePress business, which are as follows:

  • Developed a strong brand with a growing community that, as of March 31, 2011, had more than 13 million members and more than two million shops, shipping six million products in 2010 from a growing catalog of over 325 million unique products.
  • Net revenues grew by 24% in 2010 ($127.9 million) compared to 2009 ($103.4 million), and by 46% in the three months ended March 31, 2011 compared to the prior year period.
  • Customer acquisition, primarily through online marketing efforts, including paid and natural search, email, affiliate and an array of other channels, as well as the acquisition efforts of content owners.

CafePress has proven that you can build a business by printing only one or two items with artwork that has been crowdsourced or provided by content partners. The big question is, will this $127 million net revenue business benefit by going public as shareholders will surely want to make this company more profitable, which could negatively affect the quality of the merchandise that is produced. We’ve included the entire SEC filing below for your reading pleasure.
CafePress Form S-1 IPO Filing Documents as published on

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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