You are just reading an article from the series in which Polish startups, technology companies and venture capital funds sum up 2021.
We started the year 2021 with big appetites and ambitions. The previous years were a period of accelerating growth for Displate, and we started the year with a new strategic investor on board – Mid Europa Partners. We set the course for the next few years. To maintain it, we needed a lot of work, mainly inside the organisation.
We were preparing for growth… and competition.
One of the most important tasks we faced was the implementation of the product organisation. Today there are 1,5 million designs in the Displate catalogue and every day artists add on average 2,500 new ones. On the other hand, we deliver our posters to collectors from 64 countries worldwide. The development of our marketplace and the growth of sales, requires a strong technological background.
At the same time, the beginning of 2021 is a lockdown period around the world. Sitting at home, we all paid much more attention to the decorations on our walls and invested in our passions and collections. We knew that this situation would end at some point, and then we would face much more competition online.
Also in 2021, after a few years since its creation, NFT stopped being a curiosity for a handful of crypto enthusiasts and went from being a niche developed in silence to attracting the attention of a mass audience. We knew for a long time that Displate had a lot in common with NFT. Displate has long offered a unique combination of physical and digital product. NFT, on the other hand, allows you to own digital collections. It is not only a new medium, but a whole technology that creates completely new possibilities in terms of ownership rights or access to collections. We didn’t think about whether we wanted to enter the NFT world, that was obvious. The question was: when?
500 people on board
Every ambitious technology company needs ambitious people. We have almost 500 of them on board today. During the year we doubled the size of our engineering team, but we also expanded all of our other teams – including those responsible for manufacturing, design, marketing, customer service and sales and operations.
The past year was mainly about facing the challenges of remote work. From the very beginning the Displate office has been an important element of our work. It is a place where we can freely exchange ideas – it is a well-known fact that many groundbreaking solutions are born in front of a coffee machine. Our office is a space that inspires us to work. The interior decorators are our employees, who have filled it with their favourite objects. These are not only metal posters, but also plants, books and numerous decorations, including products of our competitors. There is also a motorbike!
We have decided to implement an open office policy. We still invite everyone to our office, we organise meetings and trainings (we also have training budgets, thanks to which our employees can develop themselves in their chosen areas).
We’ve opened up to remote working, and as a result we’ve started to hire more from abroad. This has been our direction from the beginning – 99% of metal sheets are sent abroad from Poland (mainly to the USA).
A product, not a project
The year 2021 was marked by the transformation from a design company to a product company. We put a strong distinction between the words ‘project’ and ‘product’. In the former companies, the business comes to the engineering teams with a specific task. The task is completed and the project ends. In a product company, we are all partners and work on specific problems. How to handle more traffic. What can be done to make it even easier for collectors to find works of interest? We could go on and on.
The product organization requires even more transparent communication. We put great emphasis on making sure that everyone, regardless of their role and the team they work in, knows what is happening at Displate. Both on a leadership and managerial level, as well as for small projects and small jobs.
One of the brand new products we’re working on is Displate Nifties, a marketplace from NFT. In the past year, we have put together a team to develop this platform. Our approach to NFT is unique in the world – we combine digital tokens with a physical product. The prototype is already impressive!
Displate Nifties will be a sister platform to Displate.com, native to the Web3 world. This world is still in its early stages, but we believe it will change the way we use the internet and… own assets. In addition to developing the technology itself, this year we have had to learn new channels and tools that NFT collectors use.
This is just the first step in developing our digital business service. We already know it won’t be the last. For the last years we have been developing Displate as a platform for collectors of posters printed on metal sheets. We have gained a whole bunch of loyal fans. Today we look at our posters as one of the media that allows you to express your passions. And we want to be the number one platform for collectors around the world.
Displates, or metal posters, continue to be our focus. This year we recorded another sales record. Since the beginning, we have sold over 5 million of them – nearly 3 million of them in a single year. By comparison, we celebrated surpassing 2 million posters sold in July 2020 and the first million in June 2019. After 6 years in business.
We continue to invest in physical products. We recently set up a Design Studio – a team that is responsible for their development. We’re talking about metal posters, accessories for them, as well as brand new physical products. Design Studio will take care of graphic design, industrial design and packaging design. Together with the Production department, it will be the main pillar of a modern research and development center.
2022, here we come!
The year 2021 was strongly marked by developments within the organization. The changes may not have been visible to the naked eye, but they laid the foundation for our work over the next years. Their effects we will all see soon. Next year we will launch Displate Nifties, our platform for NFT. We plan to launch new accessories for our posters, and perhaps we’ll also let the secret out and tell you more about the physical products.
We will continue to invest in our team. We are launching Displate Leadership Academy – a training programme for our leaders and managers. We are no longer a small startup struggling to survive. We have established our position on the market and are fighting for the status of a leader among platforms for collectors.
Author: Mateusz Godala, CEO Displate