Patrick Llewellyn, 99Designs
Packing up your life, selling your house and moving your whole family to another hemisphere is a bold move. But that’s exactly what Patrick Llewellyn did when he was given the task of turning 99designs into a global business. He inspired this week’s Enterprise post.
Patrick Llewellyn was on a plane back to Australia from the US when a fellow passenger had a heart attack mid-flight. The plane was forced to turn back and stop in Hawaii so the passenger could get medical attention and Llewellyn found himself in a hotel room on an unexpected and extended stopover. “I was sitting there answering emails when I realised that I’d never been to Hawaii before,” says Llewellyn, who is the CEO of 99designs, a crowd-sourced marketplace for graphic design.
Llewellyn, 40, decided to make the most of it, venturing on to Waikiki Beach where he took his very first surfing lesson. “As soon as I stood up, I was hooked,” says Llewellyn. It’s was a rare moment of relaxation for the CEO of a fast growing company that now experiences $1.8 million in transactions each month and has over 200,000 registered designers.
Although 99designs was founded in 2008, Llewellyn didn’t join the team until September 2009 and then moved to the US in February 2010 to spearhead growth in North America. Shortly after, he became CEO, after founder Mark Harbottle stepped back to focus on his other entrepreneurial pursuits.
At the time, 99designs had 10 staff in Melbourne and four in the US. Now, there are about 90 staff spread across the globe including 46 in the US, 34 in Melbourne, eight in Berlin, and two in Paris.
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