Moteefe, the e-commerce platform for on-demand production of merchandise, has raised $5 million in Series A funding.
Leading the round is Gresham House and Force Over Mass Capital. It brings total funding to date to $12.5 million and will be used to expand into new geographies including Australia and LATAM. The U.K. company also plans to launch new products for large retailers and invest in scaling its operations.
Launched in early 2016, Moteefe provides an “end-to-end” technology solution for entrepreneurs, influencers and (micro) retailers wanting to design, create and sell customised products, such as printed t-shirts or engraved jewellery. The platform enables brands to design merchandise and sell it via their own white-labelled Moteefe store or through their own site, app or other marketing channels.
Put simply, you upload your design to the Moteefe site and the company takes care of printing, the store, payments, customer service and fulfillment globally. Moteefe then takes a small commission on sales. However, unlike some traditional marketplaces, users can launch their own store with their own domain, maintaining the customer relationship and data.
“Launching and scaling a global e-commerce business is extremely complex and requires access to a wide variety of capabilities,” says co-founder and CEO Mathijs Eefting. “We provide a complete end-to-end solution that takes care of everything from e-commerce sites and payments up to (on-demand) production, fulfillment, and support at global scale. Everyone can start and scale their own business globally within a matter of minutes, [with] no upfront costs or inventory risk”.
Eefting says that at the heart of Moteefe’s offering is on-demand production. Typically referred to as Print-on-Demand (POD), the company works also with a range of other production methods via its network. “Since POD is difficult to implement — it requires completely different back-end and front-end processes — we have built an interface that allows anyone to leverage the functionality and start building/growing their own retail brands around the world within minutes for free.”
Moteefe has built its own proprietary production software that instantaneously centralises orders via merchant sites. It then routes those orders on a per-order basis directly into the production lines of its partners.
“It takes into consideration end-consumer location, partner inventory levels, capacity, quality and costs,” explains Eefting. “This enables us to deliver 10,000s of products on a daily basis anywhere in the world with a 1-2-day turnaround time.”
On competitors, the Moteefe CEO reiterates that the company isn’t a marketplace like Teespring, Red Bubble, Zazzle, or Café Press, which he says are leveraged mainly by creatives and designers uploading their own artwork onto the marketplace, and earning a small commission when someone purchases a product with their design. “They are not building a business, they’re simply monetising their creativity,” he explains.
Instead, Eefting says Moteefe is empowering brands and companies to take advantage of global on-demand production. “Our users own their brand, client relationship and marketing channels –- we provide the white label store and fulfillment technology,” he adds.