While Printmotor isn’t inventing the wheel, it’s a startup that helps other people get into entrepreneurship which makes it a good thing in our book. Based in Helsinki, Printmotor provides RESTful APIs to allow you to plug your business into a local printing company, allowing you to sell greeting cards, postcards, posters, and so on. Shipping is included in Printmotor’s fulfillment costs, meaning you can charge whatever you want and Printmotor will take care of making and delivering your designs.
“The basic idea of Printmotor is that while there are thousands of established and aspiring entrepreneurs around the world with great ideas for new printed products to be sold online, it’s still really difficult and expensive to set up effective production as well as delivery to the customer.” said Aku Mutanen, CEO of Printmotor. “With our platform basically anyone can set up a webshop selling postcards, posters, shirts or business cards without investing in inventory and create a successful business for themselves.
Currently all the production is done in Helsinki, however they say additional production facilities will open outside Europe in 2015.
Without knowing much about the market, Printmotor’s prices feel a bit Finnish. One hundred business cards run €20, which is ok (although we get our two sided laminated business cards for around €15/100 from Estonia). Also I’ve always heard printing your own posters are expensive, but I was pretty surprised that poster prints are €14 a pop for 50 x 70 cm, even though printing on demand and shipping those tubes must play a role.
If you’re looking for a MVP you can use Printmotor’s pre-built PHP-based store that you’ll have to set up on your own server, although they say a WordPress store based on Printmotor is coming out soon. In the future the comapny will also be expanding their product base away from just flat cards, posters, and so on, and will be adding in products like T-shirts, calendars, and mugs.
But regardless there are plenty of graphic designers and potential startups that could use API fulfillment, so Printmotor is a company to keep on your mind.