Durham e-commerce startup Spoonflower bought by Shutterfly for $225 million

·2 min read

Durham e-commerce startup Spoonflower, which sells custom fabric, has been bought by Shutterfly in a deal worth $225 million.

The sale comes after Spoonflower saw record growth during the pandemic, as consumers chose to shop online instead of in-person and more people turned to crafting while stuck at home.

The 12-year-old company saw its sales grow by 162% in 2020, The News & Observer reported, leading to the opening of a new manufacturing facility in Durham and a plan to grow its team to 450 employees from 350.

California-based Shutterfly, founded in 1999, is a website that lets users store photographs and offers a variety of printing services. The company says it has 21 million active users.

The company said it made the purchase so it could tap into the home decor market — especially as Spoonflower has seen recent growth in fabrics for wallpaper, linens and bedding.

Spoonflower lets artists upload their own designs to its platform, making it easier for them to create custom products. The company also launched a recycled canvas that can be used for outdoor pillows.

“Driven by its passionate creative community and a visionary management team, Spoonflower has ... experienced explosive growth over the last 18 months amid the thriving DIY consumer movement,” Shutterfly CEO Hilary Schneider said in a statement. “It’s a highly complementary strategic fit for Shutterfly and a win/win for consumers, employees, and members of our creative community alike.”

Shutterfly said that Spoonflower will keep its own branding going forward, and Michael Jones, Spoonflower’s CEO, will continue to lead the company.

Schneider added that the acquisition of Spoonflower will give Shutterfly access to the Triangle’s growing tech talent base.

“The Research Triangle Park area ... is also home to a talented workforce and an entrepreneurial culture,” she said. “We are excited to have a growth hub in RTP for further expansion across Shutterfly.”

The sale will also be a win for local investors.

Spoonflower had raised $25 million from investors in the past, according to venture capital tracker Crunchbase. One of its main investors was Durham-based investment firm Bull City Venture Partners.

This story was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work. Learn more; go to bit.ly/newsinnovate.

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