Fast-growing custom apparel startup Teespring, which is backed by nearly $57 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures and others, is making a move to expand its footprint globally through the strategic acquisition of European apparel platform Fabrily.
Headquartered in London, Fabrily has been operating for nearly as long as Teespring, offering its mainly Western European-based customers a very similar service that allows them to design their own t-shirts, create a campaign to fund them, while order fulfillment and payments are handled by its service.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Teespring co-founder and CEO Walker Williams describes it as an “attractive offer” for the self-funded European startup.
Williams also clarifies that global expansion through acquisition wasn’t a part of Teespring’s overall strategy, but rather that decision came about more serendipitously. “We knew we would go to Europe eventually,” he says, but didn’t feel that Fabrily was a direct competitor at the time he took a meeting with them.
Both sites have been largely serving their local audiences – Teespring in the U.S. and Fabrily in Europe – though they both also offered the option to ship worldwide if their customers required it.
However, after meeting with Fabrily, Williams said he found they both shared a similar vision. He noted, too, that Europe is one of the largest B2C e-commerce markets in the world, which is why Fabrily was growing so quickly.
“It’s one of the fastest-growing companies I’ve ever seen,” says Williams. “They had faster growth than we had in our first year – over 2,000% for 2014…It just made sense to join forces, to capture and open up that European market for the tens of thousands or more of entrepreneurs that are joining each month,” he adds.
The companies declined to offer details on their current custom bases or revenue, but Teespring did state that it shipped over 7 million products to over 140 countries in 2014, and that more people bought products from its service last year than backed Kickstarter projects.
Over 20 people made more than a million dollars last year on Teespring, and hundreds have earned in the six-figures.
Fabrily, though a fast-growing company, was smaller than Teespring. It has 30 people in London compared with Teespring’s over 220 in the U.S. Fabrily’s London team today includes members from 13 countries who speak 16 different languages, and have deep local expertise in the fragmented European market.
“The moment we went over there and met with these folks, we knew we had to be on the same team – they just bring so much expertise to the business,” says Williams.
The full Fabrily team is joining Teespring following the acquisition, and some may relocate to the U.S.
In terms of the technology platforms and brands themselves, for now, no decision has been made. Fabrily will continue to operate its own site and service in the near-term as the two companies decide how best to proceed.
Says Adil Mohammed, Fabrily’s founder, of the deal, “we are excited to work with Teespring to expand our business internationally and to accelerate democratization of e-commerce to as many markets as possible.”