AOL co-founder's fund provides $40m boost for Bigcommerce

An Australian tech startup providing an SaaS platform for building e-commerce stores has received $40 million in funding from AOL co-founder Steve Case's fund Revolution.

Australian tech startup Bigcommerce has received a $40 million series C funding boost from AOL co-founder Steve Case's entrepreneur fund Revolution, as well as having Case on the company's board.

Announced on Friday morning, the boost brings the company's total financial backing up to $75 million. In comparison, Atlassian raised $60 million in venture-capital funding back in July 2010 from Accel Partners.

Bigcommerce provides a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for businesses to set up an e-commerce store that was kicked off in 2009 by co-founders Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani.

"The team at Revolution Growth has a deep history in e-commerce, from its birth via AOL, to investing in a variety of commerce-based businesses in the decades that have followed. Their expertise will be invaluable as we look to rapidly scale our platform and grow our customer base," said Bigcommerce co-founder and co-CEO Eddie Machaalani.

Revolution has provided Harper and Machaalani with the ability to build on their e-commerce platform.

"Bigcommerce is a big idea that aligns perfectly with Revolution Growth's philosophy: That technology can enable any entrepreneur, in any industry, located anywhere, to build a successful, high-growth business," said AOL and Revolution co-founder Case. "There is real potential for Bigcommerce to reach millions of new businesses and unleash the next wave of e-commerce around the world."

"The new investment capital and partnership with Steve Case and Revolution Growth will allow us to improve our technology, hire new employees, and take a leadership role in the e-commerce revolution," said BigCommerce co-founder and co-CEO Mitchell Harper.

There have been concerns that the Australian startup culture is not conducive to success , and that Australian entrepreneurs just aren't innovative enough .

"The startup investment market in Australia is undercapitalised. Consequently, Australian companies will continue to struggle in their efforts to scale. Unfortunately, this will see more companies fail, many of them potentially good ones, due to resource exhaustion; or, alternatively, they will re-incorporate overseas to attract offshore capital," a Deloitte report (PDF) said in November.

However, refuted those claims earlier this year, stating that startups do not have to flee to Silicon Valley in order to be successful.

"People talk a lot about these hubs of innovation, and they're certainly appealing in terms of people wanting to share best practices and being able to incubate those early stage companies," Salesforce executive vice president for platform Mike Rosenbaum said in May. "But more and more, we're seeing these entrepreneurs being able to create these companies that are not necessarily based in Silicon Valley."

While Bigcommerce did not make for Silicon Valley, its marketing, sales, and support teams are based in Austin, Texas, while its engineering, executive, and product teams remain in Sydney.