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Bigcommerce funds 31 apps through $2 million integration fund

Monday, 25 March 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

Australian eCommerce firm Bigcommerce funded more than 30 apps through its $2 million integration fund for developers, launched last year, after receiving almost 600 submissions.


Founded in 2009 by Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani, Bigcommerce enables fast-growth businesses to launch professional online stores in a matter of hours.


The Bigcommerce platform was initially funded by $20,000 in savings and credit card debt.


Since then, it has closed several major funding rounds – a $15 million Series A round in August 2011 and a $20 million Series B round in September 2012.


It has also opened an office in Austin, Texas, and has grown its workforce to more than 160 staff, spread between its Australian and US offices.


In January last year, Bigcommerce launched a $2 million integration fund for start-up developers around the world, promising to give each successful entry up to $20,000.


Applications were assessed on their ability to drive more traffic to stores running on Bigcommerce, and on their ability to integrate Bigcommerce with systems and applications already used by business owners.


Now the company has announced the results of the fund, which attracted 577 app submissions.


A total of 31 apps received funding, with the funding range of individual apps ranging from $1,250 to $20,000. The total number of apps now in the Bigcommerce app store is 105.


Of the applications chosen to be funded, the biggest category of focus was marketing.


“Our vision is to become the operating system of commerce, and the platform we’ve built for developers to leverage is the key piece to that vision,” Harper says.


“We were blown away by the massive response from the developer community… The applications we selected are truly best-of-breed integrations.


“Market-leading apps like HubSpot, MailChimp and Zendesk, as well as up-and-coming developers like Stitch Labs, are building on top of our platform and generating serious revenue.”


In addition to the aforementioned names, there were also a number of newcomers, says Harper, including Lexity Live.


“That’s a marketing dashboard that essentially helps you get more traction and improve your conversion rate,” he says.


“Most of them came out of the US but we did have some come out of Australia.”


Machaalani says Bigcommerce knows its clients “want more than just a pretty online store”.


“They want traffic, orders and repeat customers,” he says.


“The range of apps built as a result of our integration fund not only extend on our 25 built-in marketing tools, but make it even easier for our clients to drive a stampede of targeted traffic to their Bigcommerce stores.”


According to HubSpot chief marketing officer Mike Volpe, an eCommerce website is like “a billboard in the desert” unless you can attract people to it.


“Today’s buyers are sick of seeing ads and being interrupted, so you need to adapt your marketing to be more lovable and inbound,” he says.


Blaise Bayuo, co-founder of RetailTower, says his business approached Bigcommerce “because we recognised that their clients needed access to a substantial network of comparison engines”.


RetailTower is an online platform that enables merchants to list their products on shopping comparison engines.


“We’re now seeing an average of 10 new customers per day,” Bayuo says.


As Bigcommerce continues to grow, Harper and Machaalani haven’t ruled out raising additional funds.


“If that’s something we need then we will. We have no immediate plans but capital is cheap and it’s readily available,” Harper says.