SMB Web company Wix buys mobile commerce app builder

Appixia's platform enables retailers to create native mCommerce applications for Apple iOS and Android devices.

Small-business Web site and hosting company Wix, which went public late in 2013, is building up its mobile design services and resources by buying Appixia, which develops technology to help retailers take their e-commerce sites mobile.

Terms of the transaction aren't being disclosed, but it isn't expected to have a material impact on Wix's operating results, according to a press release released by the companies.

"Native mobile apps are a huge part of managing and promoting a business online," said Avishai Avrahami, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Wix. "Expanding the range of mobile solutions we provide our customers with is a strategic focus for Wix, and by integrating Appixia's technology, we can more quickly boost and further diversify our mobile offering."

The Appixia platform offers a "code-free" approach for small businesses and retailers to build native mCommerce apps for either Apple iOS (but not iPad, yet) or Android devices; they also get a mobile Web site version using HTML5. The technology works with a wide range of existing SMB e-commerce options, including Magento, Prestashop, Zen Cart, Shopify and eBay stores, according to the FAQ document on the company's Web site. "In most cases, your store administrator will only have to add an extension/plug-in through the store admin console, a process which takes several minutes to complete," Appixia notes.

The native apps stay synchronized with changes as they are made to the live online store. So, for example, if someone buys a product using the mobile application, that order is reflected back on the e-commerce site. 

Appixia, which like Wix was founded in Israel, was incubated through the Microsoft Ventures Israel Acclerator program: it is the first participating startup to be acquired.

The Wix portfolio of Web development tools for small companies is used by more than 42 million registered users worldwide. For 2013, the company reported revenue of $80.5 million, up 84 percent from the year-earlier period. Its net loss for last year was $28.7 million, compared with $15 million in 2012. Looking ahead, Wix is projecting 2014 revenue of $127 million to $130 million, which represents a year-over-year growth rate of 58 percent to 62 percent. Its adjusted EBITDA is projected at between $38 million and $42 million, as the company continues building out its technical capabilities and marketing its brand and products in both new and existing markets.

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