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Ex-Flickr and eBay execs tip in

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Multi-millionaire and founder of Flickr, Stewart Butterfield is part of a gaggle of high profile investors that have poured US$35 million into Australian crowdsourcing design website 99designs.

The first round of VC funding was led by Accel Partners and includes angel investors like former eBay exec Michael Dearing, Dave Goldberg of Survey Monkey and Anthony Casalena of Squarespace.

99designs, which is now based in San Francisco with 26 staff, was founded in Australia in 2008 by co-founders Mark Harbottle and Matt Mickiewicz. The duo evolved the crowdsourcing platform out SitePointForums along with sitepoint.com, Flippa.com and Learnable.com.

Harbottle said on the company blog that the investment “goes a long way towards guaranteeing that we will be around long term.”

He added that a good chunk of the money will go towards distribution, marketing and international expansion.

“We also plan to build out the platform with many of the features our customers and designers have been asking for to improve the overall experience. And finally, we will create new and exciting opportunities for designers to connect with clients, enhance their skills, and earn an income doing what they love,” he said.

99designs says it has over 100,000 designers in 192 countries, and through its crowdsourcing model has paid out over US $19 million to designers to date and average distributing $1 million per month.

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