Australian start-up secures $20m investment

Has received funds to help accelerate its product development and staff.

Australian start-up Bigcommerce has received $20 million in series B funding, with the company now securing a total of $35 million in funding.

Investors include Venture capital firm General Catalyst Partners, which has already invested $15 million in Bigcommerce.

“Bigcommerce has surpassed ‘start-up success story’ status and is now poised to take a leadership position in the immense, fast-growing e-commerce solutions market,” Larry Bohn, managing director of General Catalyst, said in a statement.

“Bigcommerce truly fulfills our vision of entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs to build amazing, sustainable companies, and when you think about how far they’ve come just in the past year – approaching $1 billion in transactions – it’s really incredible to see.”

Floodgate also took part in the series B funding, which offers a fundraising model that bridges the gap between angel investors and investments from venture capitalists, with the company run by Mike Maples Jr, who co-founded the software company Motive.

Bigcommerce is an e-commerce platform which allows small and medium businesses to create their own online store for a monthly fee. The service has been a boon for the company, with its software as a service revenue growing 1000 per cent since it launched in 2009.

“E-commerce is already booming and we’re really focusing on how to help our clients sell more while leveraging affordable online channels that drive qualified traffic,” Eddie Machaalani, co-founder of Bigcommerce, said in a statement.

“Small and medium businesses shouldn’t need a degree in design and web development to run a successful online store. They want it to be easy and intuitive. We’re radically simplifying the e-commerce experience, enabling the small business not just to compete with larger competitors, but win.” Funds from the investment will be used to help accelerate product development at the company and expand its sales and marketing team, with Bigcommerce to increase staff levels by 70 per cent in the next two years.

The company also plans to 'consumerise' its business software, with a redesign of its brand to include a new website and simpler design features.

Eddie Machaalani, co-founder of Bigcommerce, told Computerworld Australia the start-up was consumerising its software to make it easier for anyone to create an online store.

"Previously you would need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a feature-rich online store up and running. Now, you can have one for just $24.95 a month. The simpler it becomes, the more people can use it," he said.

"Online retail is booming in Australia and around the world and this boom is not happening because of the likes of Harvey Norman, David Jones or Myer moving online. It's creating an entirely new branch of commerce because of entrepreneurs and small businesses creating great new companies."

While Bigcommerce wouldn't reveal how much the redesign cost, Michael Harper, co-founder of the start-up, said it was a "big one for us" and included overhauling the control panel, a new logo and new default themes for users.

"The previous logo was just sketched by Eddie and I onto a piece of paper, scanned, then digitised. We've gone from working above our friend's mobile phone store in Rozelle to the biggest e-commerce platform for SMBs in the world, and we felt we needed a new look and feel to represent that growth," he said.

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