Bigcommerce aspires to be App Store of e-commerce software, raises US$20M in funding

The Australian start-up will be investing part of its US$20 million venture capital funding into improving its e-commerce software app store, making it easier for SMBs to customise their hosted digital shopfronts.

Australian start-up Bigcommerce is striving to be the Apple App Store for e-commerce, by simplifying its business software for SMBs.

Bigcommerce founders Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper.
(Credit: Bigcommerce)

Bigcommerce is an e-commerce platform where customers can design and run digital storefronts on a subscription basis.

Launched in 2009, the company has just secured US$20 million in funding from early Twitter investor Mike Maples and a US venture capital firm, bringing its total venture capital funding piggybank to $35 million .

Bigcommerce co-founders Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper had previously launched a company together in 2003 for online shopping carts. They eventually took the software and made it a hosted service, and that was how Bigcommerce was conceived.

Their objective had always been to consumerise its business software, making it more accessible to SMBs. The company has experienced a 1,000 percent growth in SaaS revenue since its launch, and services over 30,000 online stores. It is on track to rack up $20 million in revenue by the end of the year.

"Five to 10 years ago, business software could be really hard to use, and people just put up with it — but now, they won't," Harper told ZDNet Australia. "What we spend a lot of time doing is building Bigcommerce like a consumer product, similar to a Facebook or an app store, and that has really resonated with SMBs."

The company even has its own app marketplace, where some of the US$20 million funding will go to encourage third-party developers to create e-commerce relevant apps.

Some of the money is also being invested into expanding the marketing and sales staff numbers. The company plans to ramp up staff numbers globally by 70 percent over the next two years.

At the moment, 65 percent of its customers are from the US, while the rest is split between Australia, UK, Canada and the rest of the world. While its engineering team is in Australia, Bigcommerce is headquartered in Texas, and most of its staff are in the US.

But Australia is now the fastest growing market for the company.

"We're giving the US a run for its money," Machaalani said.

Even bigger companies, particular major local fashion brands, such as Collette Dinnigan, are onboard with Bigcommerce.

The e-commerce provider currently has enough money in the bank and is not looking to go on a funding drive in the near future.

"We still have a decent amount of cash in the bank, and we think this will be enough to get us where we want to be, in terms of a leadership position," Machaalani said. "But we will revisit that in a couple of years, depending on how quickly we want to scale up and if there are any other opportunities to grow the business."