Party City, the party items supplier and also retail chain, has actually taken a minority stake in digital invitations platform Punchbowl, the providers announced today. The transaction will view Punchbowl’s technology used to power an digital invitation communication on Party City’s e-commerce site, opening up Punchbowl come an influx of new customers.

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While the main announcement didn’t disclose the size of the round, one SEC filing listing Party City Retail team president Ryan Vero points come an infusion of second $4 million. Vero has also joined the board together a result of the deal, meaning Party City will be working more closely v Punchbowl going forward.

According to Punchbowl CEO Matt Douglas, Party City’s investment and also commercial partnership to be only one of the choices on the table because that his company.

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Starting in mid-2016, Punchbowl started to see a the majority of inbound interest, bring about what he defined as “several alternatives” that the firm could have actually pursued. However Douglas, no looking come sell, observed the potential in working v the huge party supply retailer as a means of farming Punchbowl’s own business.

Party City sees roughly $2.3 exchange rate in yearly revenue and operates part 900 retail areas – which is just how most consumers recognize of the organization today. But Party City is additionally a vertically integrated company, definition they’re often the manufacturer the party goods sold in other party stores, too. Meanwhile, that is e-commerce service accounts for roughly 10 percent the the company’s sleeve revenue today.

Punchbowl, on the various other hand, never focused on physics goods. Started in early on 2007, the company is one of the early rivals in the digital invites and e-cards space, and also a rival to others like Evite.

The company, which currently sees tens of millions of customers per year, had actually bet ~ above the death of file cards for things prefer party invitations and also greeting cards. It interpreted the document card style to digital – consisting of with virtual envelopes that opened up to disclose your card, and also even an choice for consisting of digital gift cards within its online cards.

Douglas admits Punchbowl’s growth has been a slow-moving climb. “We’re not a rocket ship,” he says. “We’ve been really slow and also steady,” he notes, including that “we’ve been financially rewarding for numerous years now.”

In various other words, Punchbowl wasn’t in require of investment, however rather chose to work-related with Party City as much more of a strategic business decision.

“These guys are smart, they gain it, and also they really respect our expertise in ,” Douglas noted, regarding why he chose to work with Party City, regardless of the longer path to launch because of it being a publicly traded company. (The two service providers had an initial started talking a couple of years ago, that said.)

The Party City deal focuses only ~ above Punchbowl’s online invitations company for now, but may increase to other cards in the future. The ability to add Punchbowl cards to your order for just a couple of dollars is marketed ~ above the website, and also will be advocated in sleeve stores, too, in ~ a later point.

Punchbowl has actually done other platform integrations like this end the years, not all of which have lasted. Douglas can’t detail those as result of the nature the the deals, however notes that it had functioned with the eastern Trading Company, TIME, RealSimple, and also it it is provided the backend of an unnamed service for marketing parties.

Along with the Party City deal, Punchbowl also today announced a new deal through Disney-owned Marvel, i m sorry will enable it to offer the only digital collection of invites special Marvel characters. The firm previously discover a partnership through Disney ago in 2014, which consisted of Disney artwork for Punchbowl’s invites. (That deal has actually been renewed for several an ext years.)

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But Marvel’s deal is not an expansion on the previously Disney transaction – the Marvel company is a different entity, including a different contract and also team.

The Marvel collection – which includes personalities from Spider-Man, The Avengers, and also Guardians the the Galaxy – is live now, together is the Party City integration.

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Punchbowl had raised $5.8 million in previous investments, follow to Crunchbase.