stamp_blog2.gifSo Zazzle, the Palo Alto start-up that lets you customize T-shirts, cards and other things with digital artwork, announces that it has raised $16 million from Silicon Valley venture firm Kleiner Perkins and that it will sell customized postage stamps. Here�s the story from our Merc colleague John Boudreau. (The funding announcement, by the way, is a bit old; see here).

Surprise, isn�t it, that CafePress.com, the competing company across the Bay, in San Leandro, backed by Kleiner rival Sequoia Capital, would announce an almost identical program on the very same day (via VentureWire, sub req). Caf�Press raised $14 million just a few months before. Earlier Merc story on CafePress here. CafePress declares it is the first-to-market, though we’re not sure of that.

Update: Here’s Business Week’s interview with John Doerr about Zazzle. Notice it is already a bit outdated, in that Doerr says CafePress doesn’t have a custom stamp program (true, in part, but CafePress says it is rolling out such a program in August, which is just a week or so away). Another interesting part is the personal relationship between Zazzle folks and Kleiner’s partner Brook Byers. Just a reminder: it’s all about the people.

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