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DesignCrowd is an online marketplace that specializes in helping businesses outsource or “crowdsource” design projects to a network of freelance designers from around the world. The launch in Asia follows closely after its launch in Canada and the UK, a year after the startup received a US$ 3 million investment from Australian venture capital firm Starfish Ventures.

DesignCrowd is launching its service in Asia to target the large number of small businesses and designers in the region. DesignCrowd’s first priority will be to find new customers needing design services. Other than that, DesignCrowd will also be attempting to recruit designers from the region. DesignCrowd already has 90,000 designers registered on its websites, but estimates India and the Philippines have over 1 million designers willing to work online.

There seems to be a rising trend among graphic design marketplaces. For instance, we earlier reported that 99designs, one of the largest online graphic design marketplaces, has acquired its Europe counterpart 12designer in its aim to expand in Asia. In an earlier interview 99designs CEO Patrick Llewelyn concurred that Indonesia, Philippines and India has a strong community of designers. This seems to coincide with DesignCrowd’s focus on India and Philippines as both of them now seek to establish their presence in this region.

We caught up with DesignCrowd COO Chris McNamara to find out about their Southeast Asia expansion plans.

designcrowd teamCould you share with us the number of designers registered with DesignCrowd?

Right now we have over 90,000 registered designers on DesignCrowd, of these 10,000 designers are registered designers from across South-East Asia, including Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. SEA is DesignCrowd’s fastest growing user-base, with Singapore and Malaysia being our largest sources of sales.

How did DesignCrowd solve the “chicken and egg” problem of an online marketplace? 

We think about our business as a three-legged stool made up of customers, designers and business processes. We believe that each of these legs needs to grow and develop at roughly the same rate. Otherwise, the marketplace is unbalanced and it just doesn’t work. When we first started DesignCrowd we knew that we needed top-tier designers to bring jobs to the marketplace, so we worked hard on building awareness of how the site could help designers reach potential clients on the other side of the world. Since then, the marketplace has largely grown through word of mouth. Right now, we’re keen to build our base of designers in the region and introduce the world to the best design talent which South East Asia has to offer!

Could you share more about the Southeast Asia plans? Specifically, will DesignCrowd setup a physical presence here in SEA? Which countries will be the top most priority?

In a small way we already have! We’ve invested in local customer service based in the Philippines to help serve the region. We have staff who speak Indonesian and Filipino. And we’re available round the clock, so if you’re working then so are we. As our business expands in the region we’ll look to add more staff and capabilities. As for which countries are next, we’re exploring that right now and testing the market, so watch this space!

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Read on for the full press release.

Press Release

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24 Oct 2012–Sydney,Australia–Australian crowdsourcing marketplace, DesignCrowd, has  launched its crowdsourcing service in Singapore, India and the Philippines as its first step into  Asian markets and as part of its global expansion.

DesignCrowd’s entry into Asia comes three months after its launch in Canada and the UK (where it was named Wired Magazine’s UK ‘Startup of the Week’) and one year after it received a $3M  investment from Australian venture capital firm Starfish Ventures.

DesignCrowd is launching its service in Asia to target the large number of small businesses and designers in the region. DesignCrowd’s first priority will be to find new customers needing design services. DesignCrowd’s CEO Alec Lynch said, “Asia has been a good place to crowdsource design work from–India and the Philippines are goldmines for talented designers. On DesignCrowd we’re seeing small businesses from India and Singapore crowdsourcing ideas from Australian and US designers. Asia is DesignCrowd’s fastest growing region and the opportunity for further growth is  huge–India alone has 26 million small and micro businesses.”

DesignCrowd will also be attempting to recruit designers from the region. DesignCrowd already has 90,000 designers registered on its websites but estimates India and the Philippines have over 1 million designers willing to work online. DesignCrowd has made significant in-roads into Asian markets. Half of DesignCrowd’s top 20 designers come from the region while India is DesignCrowd’s fourth largest source of users after the US, UK and Australia and Singapore is DesignCrowd’s largest  source of sales in the region.

Lynch said, “Asia is embracing crowdsourcing like no other region and our launch in India, Singapore and the Philippines is the perfect next step in DesignCrowd’s global expansion.” Following expansion
into Asia, DesignCrowd will be targeting growth in the United States and will also be assessing  opportunities in South America and Europe.

About DesignCrowd
DesignCrowd is an online marketplace that specialises in helping businesses outsource or ‘crowdsource’ design projects to a network of freelance designers from around the world. More than 90,000 designers participate in thousands of design contests launched on the company’s platform each year.

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