The company is one of the German giants of online printing, founded in 2004, located in southern Germany and investing to keep pace with demand. It now has more than 100 B1 Heidelberg print units across Neustadt and der Aisch, its home city. To this can be added the Solopress line up of B2 Heidelberg presses.
The company is backed by private equity, on its second round of external investment made the Bregal Unternehmehrkapital venture fund owned by the C&A retail empire, the dominant shareholder. Project A is a lesser shareholder with interests in ecommerce, including a stake in Lostmyname personalised children’s books.
Onlineprinters has maintained the full spread of print products, finding growing demand for brochures and booklets on the one hand and larger format promotional items on the other. It opened a dedicated factory for large format promotional items about 15 months ago with a mix of Durst and HP Latex printers. The company has more than 42,000m2 of production space across different locations in its home town.
It also invested in a first production line for roll to roll labels with an inkjet press and laser cutting able to supply small batches of designs using 20 formats and two materials.
An increasing demand for short run and fast turnaround products has led to investment in an HP Indigo 12000. One of the gains from the acquisition of Solopress will be an understanding of how to manage fast turnaround orders as the Southend company has specialised in overnight delivery.
Along with this kind of growth Onlineprinters is beginning to explore the specification and purchase of higher value print via the portal. This has started with letterpress produced business cards and continues with a choice of tactile papers produced by Gmund. “these are going to be marketed as Art Classics,” says Patrick Piecha, head of marketing. “We want to make these art papers more available and will start with stationery and business cards.”
The move into letterpress business cards is also the first time that the company has formed a partnership with a third party supplier rather than produce everything under its own copious roofs.
“We are seeing a greater demand for premium products, and because we have the scale we can add to the Fedrigoni and Gmund papers that have always been part of the range and can supply papers that are exclusive to us.”
At Solopress, Onlineprinters will be using its financial clout to secure better deals for consumables and machinery and will be sharing best practice on customer service and workflow. It may not be the last acquisition.
Onlineprinters has become one of the largest German online print businesses and has obtained outside investment to fund its growth. It has acquired Solopress in the UK and struck deals with other printers and paper suppliers as it increases the sophistication of the products that can be bought online.