Distributor Custom Ink (PPAI 594384) has entered into a definitive agreement with an investor group led by Great Hill Partners, a growth-oriented private equity firm, to recapitalize the company for its next chapter of growth and innovation. Custom Ink’s current management team will continue to lead the company, with co-founder Marc Katz remaining a major shareholder as well as chairman and CEO. Custom Ink’s current shareholders, including Revolution Growth and SWaN & Legend Venture Partners, will exit their investments. The transaction is expected to close in May. Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

“This is a really important milestone for Custom Ink,” says Katz. “It’s a testament to the great work of our team over the past 19 years, and it positions us well for the future. Our early investors were friends, family, and angels who saw the potential in Custom Ink, and more recent investors provided expertise and support to accelerate our growth. Now they are passing the baton to our new partners, who also embrace our values and vision. Great Hill in particular has an outstanding track-record of enhancing ecommerce and direct-to-customer companies that are similarly passionate about marketplace and workplace excellence. I think they’re an ideal partner to help us continue to build out our unique brand, offering and platform.”

Great Hill Partners has experience investing in highly differentiated business models across the consumer, e-commerce and retail sectors, and a history of backing native digital and omni-channel brands, such as Wayfair, Bombas, The RealReal and The Shade Store.

“Custom Ink helped pioneer online customization and has created the industry's leading end-to-end, digitally-powered platform for customized apparel,” says Michael Kumin, a managing partner at Great Hill Partners. “This is a terrific brand with outstanding operations in a highly-fragmented category where we see huge growth potential for the company. We’re thrilled to back Marc and the team and are excited to help Custom Ink extend its market leadership, both organically and inorganically.”

Ted Leonsis, co-founder and partner at Revolution Growth, says, “When Revolution first invested in Custom Ink in 2013, we were impressed with how the company was using technology, combined with a passion for service, to revolutionize the custom apparel category and bring people together. We saw power in Custom Ink’s community-driven growth model, and this has proven to be a very successful investment. We’re proud of our role at Custom Ink and think Great Hill will be an excellent partner for the company’s next stage.”

Fred Schaufeld, SWaN co-founder and partner and longtime Custom Ink adviser, will remain an investor and board member in a personal capacity. He says, "Custom Ink is a wonderful story of creativity, determination, and striving to do the right thing. This was an excellent outcome for SWaN, and I couldn't be more excited for Marc and the team. It's a great company that will continue to do great things."

Investing alongside Great Hill is HarbourVest Partners, a global private markets asset manager. GSO Capital Partners is providing committed debt financing as well as an equity investment in connection with the transaction. Guggenheim Securities LLC and DLA Piper advised Custom Ink on financial and legal matters, respectively.