Inside Spoonflower’s $225 million deal with Shutterfly

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N&O Innovation and Technology Newsletter: June 18, 2021

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Durham e-commerce startup Spoonflower, which sells custom fabric and runs a marketplace for designers, was sold this week for $225 million, one of the largest exits in the Triangle so far this year.

The decision to cash in came after a record year of growth, when millions of people began shopping online rather than in-person. It also benefited from a trend of people buying home decor while stuck at home.

But that growth also put the company at a crossroads: to raise more money from investors or find a seller with experience in scaling an e-commerce company?

We spoke with Spoonflower CEO Michael Jones about why he decided to sell the company after a record year of growth.

[Read more here]

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The outside of Cisco’s office in Research Triangle Park.
The outside of Cisco’s office in Research Triangle Park.

(Cisco launched a new rural broadband innovation center at its RTP campus this week.)

Tech news from the Triangle

  • Meet the Raleigh native helping TikTok stars become venture capitalists. [N&O]

  • Cisco is launching a new Rural Broadband Innovation Center on its campus in Research Triangle Park. [N&O]

  • Inceptor, a new Triangle biotech startup, raises $26M to fund cancer treatments. [N&O]

  • The N.C. General Assembly is considering a new tax credit to attract e-sports tournaments to the state. [N&O]

  • Smashing Boxes will open coworking space inside office. [WRAL]

  • Eight startups land N.C. IDEA grants. [NC IDEA]

What I’m reading

  • AirBnB’s nightmares, and the team that makes them go away. [BBG]

  • Republican House lawmakers unveiled energy legislation this week, drafted for months in secret with industry representatives, that would hasten N.C.’s transition away from coal. [N&O]

  • Apple’s stalled push into health care wanted to create Apple clinics. [WSJ]

  • NC will collect $6.5 billion more in taxes than expected. Where should the money go? [N&O]

  • Construction of new housing in the past 20 years fell 5.5 million units short of long-term historical levels. [WSJ]

  • An Associated Press investigation has found that at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010s, with some resurfacing in violent crimes. [AP]

  • Ex-FDA commish Stephen Hahn joins Flagship, a venture group that spawned Covid-19 vaccine maker Moderna. [ENDPTS]

  • One of Big Tech’s biggest critics is now its regulator. [NYT]

Other Triangle business

  • Downtown Cary’s hotel went bankrupt. Hometown developers teamed up to save it. [N&O]

  • Some Black UNC faculty consider leaving after Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure controversy. [N&O]

  • East Coast Greenway section through N.C. set to join N.C. State Parks. [N&O]

  • Brandwein’s Bagels taking over the closing Bread & Butter bakery in Chapel Hill. [INDY]

Let me know what you’re seeing. Email me at Tweet me @zeanes. Call me at 919-829-4516.

Zachery Eanes is the Innovate Raleigh reporter for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. He covers technology, startups and main street businesses, biotechnology, and education issues related to those areas.

This newsletter was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work. Learn more; go to

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