BigCommerce raises $30 million as it eyes mid-market expansion

Mid-market sized retailers have become a greater focus for BigCommerce since CEO Brent Bellm took over last year.

BigCommerce said Tuesday it has secured $30 million in fresh funding in a round led by GGV Capital -- a Silicon Valley investment firm behind the likes of Alibaba, Houzz, Square, Slack and Domo.

The e-commerce SaaS provider, which was founded in Sydney in 2009, plans to use the latest raise to push further into the mid-market, which in retail speak refers to higher volume brands pulling in a range of $100 million to $150 million in online sales.

Mid-market sized retailers have become a greater focus for BigCommerce since CEO Brent Bellm took over last year.

Unlike the SMB retail market, where e-commerce requirements can be less complex, mid-market retailers demand omnichannel technology that goes beyond basic storefront design.

"We do not position ourselves as the cheapest and easiest way to get online," Bellm said in an interview. "We position as the best platform for fast growing and dedicated e-commerce."

While he didn't name any names, Bellm's talk of cheap and easy e-commerce platforms no doubt references Shopify, its primary competitor in the SMB space (there are also a bevy of others).

But in terms of mid-market competition, the number of players are surprisingly scant -- Bellm said the mid-market is still 80 percent installed software, usually from Magento or some other in-house, custom built platform.

"The big disadvantage of those two is they are at the extreme end of cost and flexibility," he said.

It's been a year now since the company launched Bigcommerce Enterprise, its first major foray into the mid-market. The cloud-hosted enterprise platform provides tools built specifically for a highly trafficked online store, such as analytics, intelligent search filters, mobile optimization, accounting and inventory management, email marketing and built-in SEO.

Like every other e-commerce platform that's available today, BigCommerce sees itself as a leader in omnichannel capabilities. The company has ties to all the key social platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook, and on the backend its platform can be linked to Square, Intuit and other accounting and mobile payment services.

In terms of social, Bellm acknowledged the hype around buy buttons and other social selling techniques, but he sees those channels as secondary. If you really want to optimize your business on the web, Bellm said, you also need strategies for selling on Amazon and eBay.

"For the average merchant, you have more upsides expanding from direct website selling to Amazon or eBay than you do moving to social networks," he said.

Over the last year or so, BigCommerce has inked integration deals with both marketplaces. With eBay, for instance, the tie-up lets BigCommerce merchants list their products and manage their inventory on the eBay marketplace, while at the same time gaining exposure to more than 162 million global active eBay buyers.

Looking ahead, BigCommerce seems to have put any previous IPO plans on the back burner. Bellm declined to disclose a current valuation for BigCommerce, but he did highlight how the latest round was conducted relatively quickly despite today's tepid investment environment.

"The companies who are getting funded are the ones demonstrating traction and success," Bellm said. "Our ability to raise money from a top tier firm is a big reflection on our market opportunity."