Custom Ink Welcomes New Investors

Even though ownership of the business is changing the managment team and, they say, the company's vision, will not be.

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Fairfax, Virginia-based Custom Ink, an online retailer specializing in a variety of custom clothing items and promotional materials, announces its entrance into a definitive agreement with an investor group led by Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners to recapitalize the company for its next chapter of growth and innovation.

Custom Ink’s current management team will continue to lead the company, with co-founder Marc Katz remaining a major shareholder as well as chairman and CEO. Custom Ink’s current shareholders, including Revolution Growth and SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, will exit their investments. Financial terms of the private transaction have not been disclosed.

The company’s projected revenues for 2019 exceed $400 million, and it notes its core values-The Golden Rule, Ownership and Innovation-and purpose-driven culture are the reasons it has made it onto local and national “best places to work” lists.

“This is a really important milestone for Custom Ink,” Katz says. “It’s a testament to the great work of our team over the past 19 years, and it positions us well for the future. Our early investors were friends, family, and angels who saw the potential in Custom Ink, and more recent investors provided expertise and support to accelerate our growth. Now they are passing the baton to our new partners, who also embrace our values and vision. Great Hill, in particular, has an outstanding track-record of enhancing e-commerce and direct-to-customer companies that are similarly passionate about marketplace and workplace excellence.”

Fred Schaufeld, SWaN co-founder and partner and longtime Custom Ink adviser, will remain an investor and board member in a personal capacity.

Ted Leonsis, co-founder and partner at Revolution Growth, says, “When Revolution first invested in Custom Ink in 2013, we were impressed with how the company was using technology, combined with a passion for service, to revolutionize the custom apparel category and bring people together. We saw power in Custom Ink’s community-driven growth model, and this has proven to be a very successful investment. We’re proud of our role at Custom Ink and think Great Hill will be an excellent partner for the company’s next stage.”

Investing alongside Great Hill is HarbourVest Partners, a global private markets asset manager. GSO Capital Partners is providing committed debt financing as well as an equity investment in connection with the transaction. Guggenheim Securities LLC and DLA Piper advised Custom Ink on financial and legal matters, respectively.

The transaction is expected to close in May.

Alexandria Bruce

Allee Bruce is the managing editor of GRAPHICS PRO and WRAPS magazines.

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