CanvasPop has raised $3.3 million in a new funding round.
The Ottawa-based company saw the new round led by Celtic House Venture Partners and BDC’s Growth & Transition Capital group, a division within BDC itself. Well-known angel investors also took part, including Shopify co-founders Tobi Lutke and Cody Fauser and philanthropist Richard L’Abbé.
CanvasPop provides online photo printing services that let any kind of user print any kind of image. That may seem easy in principle, but when people are taking photos with Instagram, Facebook, and every kind of phone imaginable, it becomes a daunting task to make sure the printing platform can handle all those kinds of mediums.
That task becomes especially challenging when looking at what CanvasPop focuses on—large scale canvases. This means finding new ways to take a small lower-quality image and stretching it to make sure it looks great as a several-foot image. The results have been great though, as CanvasPop has earned great reviews from outlets like PC Mag.
“We’re proud to be working with BDC and Celtic house and our team of world-class investors,” said Nazim Ahmed, CEO of CanvasPop. “We are energized by the confidence these investors have shown in our business plan, our marketing strategy and our vision to become a leading platform in the canvas printing and photo gifting space.”
The new funding will go towards expanding CanvasPop’s share in a market that is highly fragmented and full of smaller competitors. In addition, they will look to grow their focus on innovation in a space that lacks cutting-edge advances and thought leadership.
Founded in 2009 and now boasting 56 employees, the company has facilities in both Canada and the U.S. but has never seen an “official” round of funding. CanvasPop was mostly bootstrapped by rounds of debt and mezzanine financing from BDC, and now they have a base of over 450,000 customers.
“CanvasPop is at the forefront of the rapidly growing shift from in-store to online shopping as consumers seek out customized products, services and buying experiences,” said David Adderley, Partner at Celtic House. “We are excited to be part of such an innovative company led by two proven entrepreneurs who have successfully built a number of online businesses over the past decade.”
CanvasPop might have been founded in 2009, but the idea for the company really began in 2005 with the launch of DNA11, a company that creates canvas art with DNA portraits. That idea took off and the founders realized that there is a lot of business when it comes to printing photos and art from their customers while focusing on great quality and customer service.