Early investors in Google expect Zazzle to dazzle

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Already rich from their prescient investments in breakthrough companies like online search-engine leader Google, renowned venture capitalists John Doerr and Ram Shriram think they have discovered their next gold mine.
It’s another dot-com with a zany six-letter name — Zazzle, a startup that makes customized T-shirts, posters and postage stamps.
Backed by their respective venture-capital firms, Doerr and Shriram are investing $16 million in Zazzle and joining the Palo Alto, Calif., company’s board of directors — a job both men also hold at Google.
The investment, being announced today, will provide a marketing springboard for Zazzle, which has relied almost exclusively upon word of mouth since founder Robert Beaver II and his two sons, Bobby and Jeff, launched the Web site two years ago. The company has since grown to 100 employees.
While keeping a low profile, Zazzle has built a library of 500,000 digital images, including more than 3,500 items of copyright material licensed from the Walt Disney Co.’s treasure trove of pop culture icons like Mickey Mouse and Goofy.

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