How Imprint Engine built a $7m+ business disrupting print and promotional products

In 2012, frustrated marketers set out to build a platform to make coordinating promotional products easier. It’s on track for $7m+ in revenue in 2021.

In 2012, Minneapolis-based marketing professionals Travis Veit, Caleb Gilbertson, and Zach Sussman were frustrated.

How Imprint Engine built a $7m+ business disrupting print and promotional products

At work, they spent so much time coordinating printers, suppliers, ecommerce sites, and warehouses that they were left with little time to actually do… marketing.

So they sat down (literally, back-to-back in the alcove of a tiny apartment), and invested their savings in building a solution — an end-to-end platform that helps marketers save time and money by moving the wide range of vendor services under one roof.

Since then, their organic growth has taken off

One successful early partnership with a local Uber marketing manager led to 7+ years of global projects with the company.

As Uber contacts have left to work at other companies, “they brought Imprint Engine with them,” Sussman, a company partner, told The Hustle.

To find other clients, the team’s go-to tool has been cold email. It’s how they landed GoPro, GitHub, The Hustle (yes, this Hustle), and countless others.

COVID was a challenge, but good for business

In 2020, Imprint Engine quickly pivoted to meet demand for virtual event kits and home office swag. “The complexity of projects has increased dramatically as companies want to deliver an experience, not just an item,” Sussman says.

The company also used its assembling, sourcing, and distribution infrastructure to deliver $115k of PPE gear to front-line healthcare workers, on its own dime.

“We were incredibly grateful to not only survive, but thrive, throughout 2020,” says Sussman, “so we felt it was our responsibility to give something back.”

  • Founders: Travis Veit and Caleb Gilbertson
  • Employees: 22
  • Year of launch: 2012
  • Cost to launch: $20k
  • Funding methods: personal savings
  • 1st-year revenue: $30k
  • Current annual revenue: $7m+

Want your company featured? Fill out our SMB survey. See financials on hundreds of companies by subscribing to Trends.

Related Articles

Get the 5-minute news brief keeping 2.5M+ innovators in the loop. Always free. 100% fresh. No bullsh*t.