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CustomInk Acquires Celebrity-Backed Startup

Online DIY T-shirt decorator CustomInk has acquired Represent, a Los Angeles-based social commerce startup that helps celebrities and other influencers create and sell limited-run T-shirts and merchandise to fans and followers. The companies will be integrating supply chains and other aspects of operations and technology, though Represent will continue to operate as a distinct brand from offices in Los Angeles and Prague. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rooted in social media fundraising campaigns, Represent is a celebrity-backed digital marketing and merchandising platform that has been used by actors Channing Tatum and Susan Sarandon, pop star Britney Spears, and author George R.R. Martin, among others. The company also works with prominent YouTubers and independent entrepreneurs. The company handles all the day-to-day management, printing and fulfillment of each limited-time campaign, allowing the high-profile client simply to share the campaign with supporters via social media and other channels. Using Represent, Stephen Amell, star of The CW show “Arrow,” was able to sell 143,000 shirts to fans over the course of a year, bringing in $6.4 million for a cancer research charity.

“Like CustomInk, Represent is really about helping people build a stronger sense of community,” says Marc Katz, co-founder and CEO of CustomInk.  “Selling custom apparel with Represent strengthens fan communities, builds personal brands, raises awareness for important causes and generates strong revenues. We’ve seen the results and talked to the influencers running campaigns, and they love it. It’s exciting to have Represent join the CustomInk team.”

CustomInk is also developing two other businesses, Booster and Pear. Boston-based Booster is a fundraising platform designed to help individuals and organizations raise money and awareness by selling custom T-shirts to support charities and other causes. Pear, out of Chicago, is a grassroots sponsorship platform, connecting groups with national and local brands to fund custom shirt needs.