Did you know that 9 out of the 10 startups fail within the first 10 years? So you can imagine how happy we are that we are still standing strong. Yes, we did it! Today we are celebrating 10 years of Crowdsite. Damn, what a fun we had along the way. Great thanks to the Crowdsite team, the designers and customers. Without you this would never be possible.
I (Roel Masselink, Founder) think this is a good moment to write a personal note and share my experiences, the good ones, but certainly also the bad ones. Hopefully some of you can take an advantage of it!
In 10 years a lot of special moments came along. We’ve had drawings by hand of children willing to compete in a contest, we scanned it and added it to the contest. The contest holder loved it! There were also tears, especially when we found out one of our designers passed away, one day after he had won his first contest.
It feels very appreciated if you are selected for an award. We have won several and that’s why we also created our own designer award. We were the first design platform to do a designer award in 2012! This year we will start handing out multiple awards in different categories.
A brief history of Crowdsite
- The launch of ontwerpen-voor-geld.nl
We have launched Ontwerpen-voor-geld.nl in the Netherlands! As the first design platform in the Netherlands we quickly became famous around designers and small businesses. This is how the website looked back than
- The launch of logo-design.de
Our first international experience! It took us years to get a good understanding of the German market. But we succeeded, we changed to name logo-design.de to our international name crowdsite.de. Quickly crowdsite.ch and crowdsite.at would follow.
- 1 million to designers
Within 3 years after launch we already paid out 1 million euro to designers. A thing we are very proud of!
- The first designer award
- New website and corporate identity.
We changed to the logo and website as you know it today.
- Crowdsite is selected by The Next Web
We are selected by The Next Web to show Crowdsite to the world!
- Opening a German office
We have opened our second office in Germany.
- New design contest page
We launched a new contest page design.
- The launch of the Crowdsite App
Business is done on mobile devices more and more. So we launched our mobile app for iOS and Android.
- We zijn er, 100.000 Gebruikers!
A great milestone for Crowdsite!
- 10 Years of Crowdsite!
Investors, grow money… The true story
If your company is growing, there will always be investors, willing to get a slice of the cake. And the money is very appealing for the founder, with the extra money you can grow faster. Isn’t it? I was thinking the exact same thing..
So I went looking for an investor, I found two. Within a few months the deal was done. I sold 66.6% of the company. Now we had 3 shareholders with 33.33% of shares. In the beginning the shareholders were very active and we had some great successes. But I made one big mistake, I didn’t had the majority stake in the company anymore.
Quickly I started to have the feeling that I didn’t had control over the company anymore. My interest in the company decreased and there was only one solution. Buy back the shares of the shareholders! After about a year of negotiation we agreed and I bought all the shares (100%) back of Crowdsite.
You could name it a mistake, I rather see it as an very good lesson for a young entrepreneur. After this I missed a sparring partner, I had the team to discuss day to day operations, and they are terrific. But for discussions about the future, it’s good to have an external mentor with a clear view on the company. I went looking and I found a mentor who was willing to buy a small amount of shares. I sold 15% of the shares a couple of years ago.
So, 10 years later, I still own 85% of the company. There is no pressure of external investors. This gives us freedom and I really like it. I think this makes the company more personal and innovative than others. Of course there is also a downside, we have limited resources for development and marketing. That’s why big updates, as we are working on, can take a bit longer to complete.
A bright future
So what’s next? What will happen the next 10 years… hmm a good question. 10 years ago I couldn't imagine what would happen. And that didn’t change. We are always looking for new ways to expand our business or do something that has never been done before.
Some big changes are coming. We will rebrand ontwerpen-voor-geld.nl (and .be) to Crowdsite, so we have only one name; Crowdsite. Also we are developing some new contest categories where I’m very exciting about.
Mobile will become more and more important for us. The new platform is designed mobile first instead of desktop first. Hopefully we will migrate to our new platform this year, it’s almost ready! With the launch of this platform also new rules will apply, badges will become active and one-on-one contests will disappear. Read everything about these changes here! https://www.crowdsite.com/what-will-change/
Proud founder of Crowdsite