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Chase Capital Partners and Flatiron Partners Invest in Internet Company Starbelly.com.

Investors Call Starbelly.com the "Dell.com of Decorated Products" and Say It

Will Revolutionize How Businesses and Consumers Buy

Personalized Soft and Hard Goods

CHICAGO, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Starbelly.com ( www.starbelly.com ), a start-up business-to-business and consumer e-tailer of custom-decorated, brand-name merchandise, today announced the close of $8 million in funding from two leading Internet venture capital firms Chase Capital Partners and Flatiron Partners.

The financing is one of the largest venture capital investments ever made in a Midwestern e-commerce company, and reflects the breakthrough nature of starbelly.com's business model, according to investors.

Starbelly.com decorates to order, allowing customers to emblazon their own company logos or designs on hundreds of thousands of products -- from shirts to sweaters, briefcases to coffee mugs. All product selection, design and ordering is done via the Internet and products are shipped within 7 days of order placement, versus weeks for most companies. Because of its unique and significant production capacity Starbelly.com does not carry inventory of the blank products it decorates and fulfills, yet is able to offer merchandise from more than 40 of the world's leading brand-name manufacturers.

"Starbelly.com is the Dell.com of custom-decorated products; it is revolutionizing an incredibly inefficient $50 billion industry that is bloated with middlemen who inflate prices and delay service," said Dan Malven at Flatiron Partners, an investor in some of the most successful companies on the Internet. "Starbelly.com's business model, infrastructure and leading-edge customization technology is changing the way businesses and consumers buy custom-decorated shirts, hats, mugs and other brand-name products."

Starbelly.com offers products from such trusted manufacturers as Champion, Hanes, Lee, Eastpak, Gerber Childrenswear, London Fog, Bill Blass, Rawlings and Cross Creek.

"The compelling value proposition of Starbelly.com was immediately obvious to us because they have an opportunity to turn a very large, inefficient and fragmented industry upside down," said Steve Murray, partner at Chase Capital Partners. "The ability to select, customize and visualize your order in minutes, versus what traditionally takes days or weeks, is of compelling value to customers. In addition, Starbelly.com has a seasoned management team with deep experience in the customized apparel, e-commerce and promotional marketing industries."

The company allows businesses to create logo-decorated promotional products, companies to establish just-in-time supplies of uniforms and organizations of all types to establish Web-based "company stores" of branded products without the expense or risk of inventory requirements. In October, Starbelly.com will launch a consumer web site that will allow consumers to select, decorate and purchase clothing and other merchandise. For more information about Starbelly.com visit www.starbelly.com .

About Chase Capital Partners

Chase Capital Partners ("CCP") is a global partnership with approximately $8 billion under management. CCP has been a leading provider of private equity capital since its inception in 1984 and a diversified investor with significant interests in most major industries. Within the internet/e-commerce/technology industry, CCP has a portfolio of 85 companies including leading e-commerce companies such as 1800-Flowers, Stamps.com, IXL, Instill and Vitamin Shoppe.

About Flatiron Partners

Flatiron Partners is one of the preeminent Internet-focused venture capital firms. Located in New York's historic Flatiron district, the heart of Silicon Alley, Flatiron thrives off the synergy between the rapid evolution of digital technology and New York's traditional focus of content, commerce, and communications. Founded in 1996, the firm has already pioneered in Internet investing, establishing more than two dozen companies including some of the best known companies of the Internet Age, including GeoCities, TheStreet.com, Star Media and others.
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Copyright 1999 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 25, 1999
Words:590
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