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Latvian Draugiem Group, which created the popular social network Draugiem (more popular in Latvia than Facebook, we’re told), has launched the Printful and Welco services, Julia Gifford from the company tells us. These 2 new services are just the latest projects from Draugiem Group, which has developed 16 services and which claimed 15,7 million Euro for year 2011. Gifford tells us that Draugiem operates by funding projects until they are profitable, so there are no external investors backing Printful or Welco. Having just launched, neither service has users, but Printful has already got the attention of TechCrunch.
Printful is marketed as a drop-shipping service which will allow customers to create a mini-business. Gifford tells us that the concept is basically that users can set up a business and offer merchandise (such as T-shirts, posters, canvas, and prints) through their blog or site. Orders will then be directed to Printful, which will handle the actual delivery of the shirt. Gifford says that they have developed a unique API, which can be embedded into websites and allows the customer (selling the shirts) to basically avoid handling orders altogether. In using the API, the owner of the mini-business can simply take the money from their customers. The advantage of drop shipping is that the owner of the required does not need to actual maintain any inventory and can simply order product as necessary. Merchandise is printed in Los Angeles, but they ship worldwide and Gifford says that they have received constant queries about the launch date of the service since they announced it 3 months ago. She tells me that they have 2 primary competitors in Printaura and SpreadShirt, but Printful stands alone in that it offers a unique API which can be embedded in websites. There are too many prices to list them all, but pricing varies from $13 (10 Euro) for a T-shirt to $65 (50 Euro) for a 24×36 inch framed poster to $55 (42 Euro) for a 18×24 inch canvas and so forth. Listed on their website are the prices for which you buy the merchandise, the price at which you sell, and the profit you’ll reap.
As we’ve noted, Welco is also launching, but is a service quite different from Printful. Welco is a fee-based iPad app which acts as a virtual receptionist. For 29, 49, 99, and 299 Euro per month (depending on the number of employees at the business and the number of SMS needed), users can subscribe to a service which will alert them by email or text when someone visits their business. Visitors to the business will use the iPad to select the individual that they wish to meet and then the person will be alerted about the request. I’m told that Draugiem had issues with not having a receptionist, so they decided to develop a service to tackle the problem and then made it commercially available after receiving a number of requests. Gifford tells me that they do not have any users yet, as they are currently awaiting approval from the AppStore. In this case, she says that their primary competition comes from TextUs.biz.
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