Back in April, 99designs raised a sizable, $35 million series A funding round from Accel and angel investors like Michael Dearing, Stewart Butterfield, Dave Goldberg and Anthony Casalena. Today, in celebration of the launch of its 99,999th design contest, the startup is announcing its own fund to give back to design students. The $99,999 fund will award 1,010 $99 bonus payments to students on top of every contest prize won beginning today — until the pool runs dry.
For those unfamiliar, 99designs launched in 2008 to bring a crowdsourced design marketplace to designers and small businesses looking to find and showcase quality graphic design work, network, and build lasting professional relationships that benefit both sides of the table.
According to 99designs Co-founder Mark Harbottle, over $1.2 million is paid out to designers every month as a result of work commissioned by the community of SMBs in the startup’s eMarketplace. Since launching, the startup has grown into a hub of over 125,000 designers (from more than 192 countries), paid a total of $25 million to those designers, and is now uploading a new design to the site every six seconds. And, of course, it’s also launched 99,999 design contests to date.
It’s a great resource for designers to be sure, who can expose their work to upwards of 1,200 new client opportunities at any given time. And 99,999 contests launched ain’t bad for a couple of years of work. No wonder Accel was so eager to invest in this fast-growing Aussie startup.
“What better way to celebrate [99,999 contests] than by offering additional support to design students across the globe as they acquire the skills they need to build their careers”, Harbottle said.
For more on the new design fund for students, check out the details here.