“There are 74,000 freelance graphic designers in the U.S. alone and thousands of small agencies,” he notes. “And up to this point, there’s been no consolidation. The great thing about 99designs is that because it is an Internet marketplace, location doesn’t matter and designers really can compete for business based on their work.”

Last year, Mickiewicz says revenues were “eight figures” but is mum about 2011 projections. That’s because 99designs recently raised $35 million in venture capital Series A funding from Silicon Valley stalwarts Accel Partners (famous for investments in Facebook, Groupon, Dropbox, and more).

Mickiewicz long resisted VC investment as he wanted to ensure it was a perfect fit. Accel, who he says was the most persistent and helpful firm even without a stake, won out based on its past investments and the ability to take 99designs, “a good idea that needs to grow out and scale” as Mickiewicz says, to the next level.