Birthday wishes came true at the Kirkland, Washington headquarters of Birthday Express.com Tuesday, as the company announced it sold a minority stake to venture capital firms for $13.1 million (US$).
With the infusion of an additional $12 million out of the company’s till, BirthdayExpress.com has amassed a $25.1 million treasure chest, which it says will be used to increase the company’s national visibility and to diversify its product line.
A provider of children’s birthday party products and services, BirthdayExpress.com said the a part of the capital investment funds would go towards a national branding and marketing campaign, including online and print advertising.
The rest will help the company expand its product line, moving into adult and family milestones, special occasions and holiday celebrations, BirthdayExpress.com said in a statement Tuesday.
Arch Venture Partners was the lead investor in the deal. A firm that manages four funds totaling $325 million, it was joined by Advanced Technology Partners and Sigma Partners.
“Birthday Express.com has a clear first-to-market advantage in the children’s party supply e-commerce category, with more than 300,000 active customers and more than two million households in its database,” said Arch Venture Partners Bob Nielsen. “With Birthday Express.com leading industry role and strong management team, we expect company growth to accelerate in the coming year.”
Party All Across the Globe
BirthdayExpress.com was founded in 1994 by Jan and Mike Jewell, a couple who saw their tiny prematurely born son miraculously grow and flourish to reach the first of many birthdays. The experience taught them the importance of celebrating a child’s existence, they say, and planted the seed for a business idea that would soon flourish itself.
The company ships more than 1,000 customized party packages a day to destinations around the world and is growing at an annual rate of 40 percent. BirthdayExpress.com anticipates it will provide the goods and services for some 360,000 birthday parties this year.
The company holds exclusive rights to a number of themed birthday packages. It’s Web site also offers free party planning checklists, craft and activity ideas and recipes.
With the economy growing at a clip that has naysayers shaking their heads, the party planning industry – like many luxury services – has grown rapidly as well. BirthdayExpress has lain claim to be at the head of the table when the lights go down and the cake and candles are trotted out.