AirTree, the $60 million venture fund, has just invested $4 million in DesignCrowd

DesignCrowd founder Alec Lynch.

AirTree Ventures, the $60 million fund which has former Microsoft exec Dan Petre and ex Expedia MD Craig Blair running point, has today invested $4 million in design crowdsourcing platform DesignCrowd.

The fund led a $6 million series B capital round into DesignCrowd alongside existing investor Starfish Ventures — which previously invested $6 million into the startup.

The latest round takes DesignCrowd’s total capital raised to over $12 million.

Dan Petre of AirTree Ventures

“AirTree Ventures is excited to be able to lead this round,” Blair said.

“Crowdsourcing is still only a fraction of the $44 billion design industry and the DesignCrowd team has managed to take market share from incumbents by obsessively focusing on product to deliver the best design outcomes for customers.

“We are looking forward to being part of the DesignCrowd growth story and welcoming the team to the Airtree Ventures family.”

Blair will also take a seat on the DesignCrowd board.

Petre said DesignCrowd was one of about 230 companies the fund has looked at since launching last year. AirTree made its first investment in December, committing $1.5 million to pet-sitting marketplace PawShake.

“DesignCrowd is obviously a much later stage investment than a PawShake,” he said, adding DesignCrowd is growing fast, has a strong business model and is operating in a marketplace the fund is interested in. “It met all these criteria.”

While the company valuation was undisclosed, Petre said: “We were very pleased with valuation.”

DesignCrowd founder Alec Lynch said the funding will be used to expand the company internationally. Already about 75% of DesignCrowd’s revenues come from outside Australia.

“We will use the new capital to invest in three things: sales and marketing; product and innovation; and customer service,” he said.

“We plan on scaling sales and marketing globally, that is, outside of Australia and especially in the US.

“We will also be investing heavily in product and customer service, and plan on doubling the size of our engineering and customer service teams in 2015.”

Last year the total value of designer projects on the site hit $20 million and it’s hoping to double that in 2015.

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