Australian e-commerce company Bigcommerce has refused to confirm or deny a report that it has negotiated a deal to acquire the customers of eBay-owned competitor Magento’s Go service. Recently a source told Re/code that Magento was killing off Go, a platform which helps small businesses build an online store to sell their products and services, and the company had agreed a deal with Bigcommerce to move Magento’s Go customers to Bigcommerce’s service. It follows eBay cutting close to 50 jobs at Magento in March. Re/code sources say Go never gained traction against competitors like Bigcommerce and Shopify. StartupSmart contacted Bigcommerce, but the company refused to comment. Bigcommerce was founded in 2009 by Australians Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper and has offices in Sydney, San Francisco and Austin. More than 50,000 companies use Bigcommerce’s services to manage all aspects of their online stores, from web design, through to checkout and growth services. The company has raised $75 million to fuel its growth. Last month former Google executive Tim Schulz joined the company as senior vice president of product management.
Google has revealed it is building a domain registration service called Google Domains. It is still early days for the product, which is currently in invite-only beta. Google says 55% of small businesses still don’t have a website and the project is aimed at helping some of those businesses get started online. Google Domains won’t include hosting and has partnered with website building providers like Shopify, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix.com. The goal is for Google Domains to be made widely available soon. Oracle buys Micros Systems for $5.3 billion Oracle is offering $68 a share for Micros Systems, a company which sells software used by retailers and hospitality providers, in a deal that is valued at $5.3 billion. Micros Systems sells internet-connected cash registers, and the software and technical services to power them. It’s Oracle’s biggest acquisition since 2010. Parking startups hit trouble in San Fran Several parking startups that are trying to make it easier to find a car park in big cities are running into legal problems in San Francisco after the city sent one company a cease-and-desist letter and warned two others, The Wall Street Journal reports. Italian-based startup MonkeyParking, which operates in San Francisco and has an app that allows people to post information about a spot they are about to leave – information other drivers can then pay for – was sent a letter by the San Francisco City Attorney notifying it that its business is illegal. Overnight The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 9.82 to 16,937.26. The Australian dollar is currently trading at US94 cents.
Four-month-old start-up tackling coupons, contests, Lady Gaga and seeing 100% monthly revenue growth1:19PM | Sunday, 12 January
Coupons have been a playground for start-ups for years, with one of Australia’s biggest start-up success stories, RetailMeNot, selling for $90 million in 2010. The team behind Gleam is also tapping into the power of coupons, to help small businesses get the most out of their social media networks. Launched in October 2013, Gleam is a software platform that businesses can use to run contests and share coupons such as discount codes. They recently ran a competition for Lady Gaga’s upcoming Australian tour, and co-founder Stuart McKeown told StartupSmart both their revenue and user engagement is growing by 100% month-on-month. McKeown told StartupSmart their recent growth is due to changes in Facebook’s algorithms, which have lobotomised the marketing plans of many small businesses that had previously been able to reach more of their followers for free. “One of the big problems in marketing and growth hacking at the moment is the drop in organic reach in Facebook. We’re working with businesses that have hundreds of thousands of fans but they’re only reaching 5% now,” McKeown says. The platform enables companies to run competitions on their social media profiles and own site. The competitions are commonly used as traffic or sign up generating tactics, or to convert Facebook page fans to Twitter followers or newsletter subscribers. “As a business, where you really want people is on your newsletter list. By running contests and offering coupons as rewards, we’re helping people to diversify their social portfolio so you don’t have all your eggs in the one social network basket,” McKeown says. The software as a service start-up has 15,000 users and runs on a freemium model with a conversion rate of just above 10%. McKeown’s co-founder John Sherwood is working on the business full time, and McKeown is hoping the business will continue to grow so he’ll be able to do the same later this year. This is their 9th project together. The team’s focus for the next few months will be on growing the business with both new products and partnerships, such as the one they recently signed with online ecommerce checkout company Shopify. “We’re doing a lot of growth hacking and we’re really focused on user acquisition. A key way we’re going to grow is through partnering with third party platforms, such as Shopify. We’re just getting started with leveraging that opportunity,” McKeown says. The Lady Gaga project with MCM Entertainment inspired the Gleam team to start developing a white label version of the software to be used by agencies for larger projects. They’re also developing a range of software plug-ins, and have started exploring referral and social review tools.
Shopify has launched its annual Build-A-Business competition, offering $200,000 to winners, with Australian entrepreneurs expected to fare well following last year’s stellar performance.
Australian iPhone entrepreneurs Rob Ward and Chris Peters are among the winners of Shopify’s Build-A-Business competition, receiving $25,000 in cash and a VIP business trip to New York.