Custom Ink Lands New Private Equity Ownership
Custom Ink, Fairfax, Va., announced that it has entered into an agreement with private equity firm Great Hill Partners to recapitalize the company. Custom Ink’s current management team will stay on board, and company co-founder Marc Katz will remain a major shareholder as well as chairman and CEO. According to a press release, the company’s current shareholders will exit their investments.
“This is a really important milestone for Custom Ink,” Katz said in the release. “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-consumer companies that are similarly passionate about marketplace and workplace excellence. I think they’re an ideal partnership to help us continue to build out our unique brand, offering and platform.”
Great Hill Partners has previous experience with companies in the consumer, e-commerce and retail sectors, such as Wayfair, Bombas and more. This appears to be the private equity firm's first foray into promotional products.
“Custom Ink helped pioneer online customization and has created the industry’s leading end-to-end digitally-powered platform for customized apparel,” Michael Kumin, managing partner for Great Hill Partners, said in a statement. “This is a terrific brand with outstanding operations in a highly fragmented category where we see huge growth potential for the company. We’re thrilled to back Marc and the team, and are excited to help Custom Ink extend its market leadership, both organically and inorganically.”
Ted Leonsis, co-founder and partner at Revolution Growth, one of the private equity backers exiting its investment in Custom Ink, said he was impressed with the company’s technology and service when it was founded in 2013. (Leonsis is also the owner of the Washington Capitals NHL franchise.)
“We saw power in Custom Ink’s community-driven growth model, and this has proven to be a very successful investment,” Leonsis said. “We’re proud of our role at Custom Ink and think Great Hill will be an excellent partner for the company’s next stage.”
Fred Schaufeld, co-founder and partner of SWaN (another of the private equity backers exiting), will remain in his position as an an investor and board member in a “personal capacity,” according to the press release.
The transaction is expected to be finalized in May, and financial details have not been disclosed.
Prior to this, Custom Ink has been increasing its physical presence, opening more brick-and-mortar locations mostly on the East Coast.