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IPrint.com Takes The Hassles Out of Custom Printing

Despite the proliferation of Internet and electronic mail, people still rely on paper to communicate. Business cards, stationary, custom greeting cards and personalized envelopes are necessary avenues to establish a business identity or to promote individual expression. With this in mind, iPrint.com allows people to design these items online, then placing orders to have the items printed and delivered.

iPrint.com clients have the ability to customize their products by filling out a short form with name, company address, phone, etc., adding logos and colors, selecting paper types and proofing the final product online. From there iPrint.com's network of nationwide printers completes the order, sending the product to the customer within days. Strategic partners on the printing end include 3M,. Kinko's, Office Max and Sir Speedy Printing

According to iPrint.com, the cost savings is significant, from 25% to 50% over traditional print . This is due to the much more reliable pre-printing process since you are the type setter and designer. No second guessing or typos by the printer. You OK the final version and that is what is printed. According to iPrint.com, this produces less than one percent of orders needing reprinting. IPrint.com contends that traditional print shops have a 10 percent to 15 percent "reprint due to error" ratio, increasing their prices dramatically.

Along with its own Web site and a cadre of affiliates, IPrint.com now offers its services through FreeAgent.com and more recently AllBusiness.com, two sites which offer a wide variety of services to small and growing businesses.

Founded in 1996 and live online in 1997, iPrint.com had revenues of $1 million in 1998 and anticipates revenues over $5 million by year end 1999. In a small order, mass market printing sector of over $23 billion, they have lots of room to grow. The company has raised $31 million in three rounds of financing,. The first round was angels. The second round was completed in February 1999 raising $7.5 million lead by Canaan Partners and including Robe5rt Lessin, CEO of Wit Capital and former vice chairman of Salomon Smith Barney through his fund, DawnTreader LP and Jerry Kaplan, co-founder and CEO of Onsale.com (ONSL), as well as the Robertson Stephens and Co. partner fund, Bayview.

The third round was completed in September. The lead investor was SOFTBANK Technology Ventures with other participants including AT&T Ventures as well as existing shareholders including Intel Corporation, Canaan Partners, ITV (Infomaton Techology Ventures), the Robertson Stephens' Bayview fund and DawnTreader LP.

Royal Farros, founder of the company, was former co-founder and chairman of T/Maker Company, a Silicon Valley software company which produced such programs as ClickArt, WriteNow and PFS: First Publisher.

"We're creating something very different," said Farros. "We are going after a personalized marketplace. We give people the services they expect to get for free--the design of the material--and charge for the printing, which they expect to pay for. To accomplish this, we have developed the most sophisticated interactive e-commerce site on the Web."

His co-founder, Heidi Roizen, now with SOFTBANK says that this is a category of service that Mr. Farros has focused on for a long time.

"It makes perfect sense for him to be doing this on the Internet, Roizen told VC Watch. " It's a net friendly process with lots of freedom for customer choice. Each order is a unique custom product." She indicated that the deep technological team (many of which she had worked with at T/Maker) and the customized core technology they have built will be a strong barrier to entry for the competition.

"I think they've identified a huge opportunity on the Net, in that real costs can be takeno