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The creative crowdsourcing platform 99designs announced earlier today that it is expanding into Latin America and Spain. The company also said it is launching a site for Spanish speakers residing in the U.S.
99designs will now offer Spanish-language customer support and will operate in local currencies of Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia.
This is a logical move for 99designs, which launched German, French, and Italian versions of its platform since acquiring European competitor 12designer in August. Indeed, expanding internationally was one of 99designs’ stated goals following a $35 million funding round two years ago.
“The establishment of new government initiatives to fuel business innovation and a significant increase in venture capital investments in Latin America over the past several years has set the stage for tremendous expansion in the region’s startup and small business sectors,” said president and CEO Patrick Llewellyn in a press release.
Llewellyn announced that Angela Peña, who previously worked at Talenthouse, will serve as the regional manager. In order to promote the expansion, the company is running a “99designs Habla Español” t-shirt contest. It has been a busy start to the year for 99designs, as the company also recently introduced Pro Tools, a suite for agencies and high-usage businesses.
Since its founding in 2008, 99designs attracted a community of over 200,000 designers, and has doled out nearly $50 million in prize money. Its latest move into Latin America should help the company increase both of those numbers.
The region has seen a lot of activity related to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding over the last several months. Large institutions like the Inter-American Development Bank are even considering supporting the crowdfunding industry in the region (disclaimer: with the help of massolution, our sister company). Latin America does have some barriers to overcome when it comes to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, key being the lack of a widespread, secure online payments system. That has deterred most creative crowdsourcing companies from entering the region – until now.
One of 99designs’ biggest competitors in the region figures to be Adtriboo, which we recently profiled here, though more established competitors like DesignCrowd may soon be entering the region, as well. We’ll be sure to keep our readers up to date on the latest news from Latin America.