By 2011, Art.com, originally formed through the merger of Art.com and Allposters, had grown into the largest pure-play online retailer of art, prints and framing services in the world. The company had an international footprint with a substantial portion of revenue coming from outside the U.S. and had been profitable for years. The Company had made significant investments in state-of-the-art printing, framing, and fulfillment capabilities, allowing it to provide an exceptional consumer experience by delivering a highly diverse product offering at lower prices with higher quality. In 2011, the Company and its founders were looking for a partner to facilitate liquidity for shareholders while also bringing strategic value to the Company.
The company turned to Stripes given its deep experience in e-commerce and digital media, and its relationship with the Stripes team (Dan Marriott had served as an independent Board member). Working closely with management, Stripes facilitated business development introductions as the company moved aggressively to partner with content owners, generalist online retailers, and museums, while also regularly sourcing M&A opportunities for Art.com to accelerate its inorganic growth strategy. During Stripes' investment, the company has widened its lead in the online art market while also broadening into software, tools, and services for photographers, and continues to accelerate its growth.