When Durham-based Spoonflower was born in 2008, co-founder Stephen Fraser targeted the textile printing company at people like his wife, Kim: amateur designers who want to create custom clothing or home decor. But the 7-year-old company found another base of support among small businesses selling their products at boutique shops and through online marketplaces such as Etsy, where artisans peddle handmade clothing, jewelry and crafts. Today, 30% of the company’s orders come from overseas. Those unexpected avenues propelled Spoonflower to the rapid growth that’s landed the 150-employee company a new $25 million minority investment from North Bridge Growth Equity, a Waltham, Mass.-based venture-capital firm, and local Bull City Venture Partners. Spoonflower allows people to upload designs or images to its website which are then printed onto fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap. The company posted $15 million in revenue in 2014 and is growing at about 50% year over year, Fraser says. The $25 million will allow the company to add 50 employees at its Durham factory. A Berlin office is also in the works. Before Spoonflower, Fraser and co-founder Gart Davis spent time at Raleigh self-publishing company Lulu. “I don’t think it’s any accident at all,” Fraser says, “that Spoonflower stands at the intersection of the new technology economy and the history of textiles in this state.”
CLAYTON — Novo Nordisk Pharmaceutical Industries plans to double its local employment, creating 700 jobs and investing up to $1.8 billion over five years in a new plant where it will make ingredients for diabetes treatments. The Danish drugmaker also operates a local insulin plant, which opened in 1996. The new jobs will pay an average annual salary of $68,420, nearly double Johnston County’s $35,858. The company could receive up to $15.8 million in state grants if it meets job-creation goals.
RALEIGH — Laval, Quebec-based Valeant Pharmaceuticals will acquire Sprout Pharmaceuticals for about $1 billion. Started in 2011, Sprout gained U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in August for Addyi, its treatment for boosting the female libido. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. Sprout plans to add more than 160 employees to its 34 and will remain based in Raleigh.
DURHAM — Hatteras Venture Partners raised more than $90 million in its fifth fund. The fund, which may total $150 million and be the venture-capital firm’s largest, was led by Ireland-based Malin and included UNC Chapel Hill, Burlington-based LabCorp and United Kingdom-based GlaxoSmithKline. Hatteras has about $350 million under management and invests in seed- and early-stage life- sciences companies.
DURHAM — Cranbury, N.J.-based Amicus Therapeutics will acquire Scioderm for $229 million. The amount of the deal could reach $947 million if Scioderm’s treatments meet certain clinical and regulatory milestones. Founded in 2013, Scioderm makes treatments for rare skin diseases. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.
RALEIGH — Ziptronix will be acquired by San Jose, Calif.-based Tessera Technologies for $39 million in cash. The semiconductor firm based here was spun off of RTI International in 2000. Publicly traded Tessera was founded in 1990 and makes semiconductors for smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices.
RALEIGH — AgBiome raised $34.5 million from a group that included the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and venture-capital arms of Monsanto and Syngenta. The biotechnology company will use the money for research and development and to launch its first products, which help plants fight insects and diseases. AgBiome was founded here in 2013 and employs 50 people.