Case Study

Displate

Overview

We are confident our strong growth over the years will benefit from our partnership with MidEuropa, whose resources and extensive e-commerce experience will enhance our capability for global expansion.

- Karol Banaszkiewicz, Co-Founder of Displate

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Displates sold to date
Countries present in
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Trees planted

The fine art of ambition

Connecting user-generated content with special interest collectors in a fast-growing global marketplace

 

Managerial ambition combined with know-how is supporting Displate’s unicorn ambitions as it supercharges the metal-printed art’s global managed marketplace. 

 

MidEuropa has been increasingly committed to the technology and particularly e-commerce sectors following its successful investment into Allegro. The firm believes that the abundance of IT talent in CEE makes the region the right place to create a global technology leader and has therefore decided to dedicate resources to the B2B and B2C tech space. 

In 2019, as a result of MidEuropa’s origination efforts, the Warsaw team connected with the current CEO and Founder of Displate. MidEuropa was attracted to Displate’s business model: a global, scalable marketplace connecting user-generated content with special interest collectors, making it uniquely positioned to further expand across an audience of pop-culture enthusiasts, gamers and geeks alike. This gives Displate a market leading position in the most competitive e-commerce markets globally, namely the US, France, Germany and the UK.

Displate exhibits a number of attractive attributes. The company is a first mover in a growing market supported by several underlying trends and remains the global leader in its domain. Its truly differentiated platform combines product quality, the ability to deliver content relevant to core customer groups, increasing brand partnerships and unique route-to-market capabilities based on social media marketing. While these are the right business ingredients for further growth in the years to come, MidEuropa were also drawn to Displate’s impressive focus on ESG. Among other initiatives, for every metal poster sold, Displate is planting one new tree as part of the Trees for Future project. The Company has already helped to plant more than 15 million trees.

The MidEuropa team forged a strong relationship with management and engaged in bilateral discussions, which resulted in MidEuropa becoming a majority shareholder in the business in December 2020. Together, management and MidEuropa are focusing on three key pillars: product, content, and technology.

 

Operational improvements

 

Displate is continuously making progress across all three pillars – it is testing various new features of products and has made significant progress on the content side, with brand partnerships growing from 30 to over 80 (by the end of 2021) since its launch, and roughly 1.5 million designs available on the platform. 

MidEuropa is actively supporting the company’s significant progress on the corporate governance front. Displate has attracted world-class experts including high-tech internet entrepreneur John Pleasants, CEO at Brava Home and formerly with Samsung, Disney Interactive Media Group and Electronic Arts; and Nick Kenn, the former CPO at Redbubble, a global online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on user-submitted artwork. The company has also strengthened finance and back-office processes and aligned reporting procedures with best practices. 

 

Double-down on Technology

 

Displate is focusing on a number of key areas in technology, including refining the recommendation engine; content matching via investment into 1-to-1 personalisation, optimisation of IP management and investment into search algorithms using AI and machine learning; automatic onboarding of new artists, and blockchain / NFT. The technology investments are being supported by MidEuropa and are being executed by Displate’s engineering team, which is expected to more than double in size by the end of 2021. The efforts are spearheaded by the firm’s CP&TO, who was appointed in June 2021, reflecting Displate’s commitment to technological enhancement.

Displate achieved over $100m of revenue in 2020, cumulatively sold over 5 million displates in over 50 countries, currently employs more than 400 people and has more than 35,000 members in its Displate Club.