The Innovate conference, as well as the VC Bait panel, are all about creating for the commerce sector. 50 contestants will pitch Andreessen-Horowitz general partner, Jeff Jordan, Matrix Partners general partner Dana Stalder, Felicis Ventures founder and managing director Aydin Senkut, First Round Capital managing partner Chris Fralic, and Webb Investment Network founder Maynard Webb.
The body behind this conference, X.commerce, gives developers access to all of eBay Inc.’s assets through application programming interfaces (APIs). These assets include its marketplace, PayPal and its open source storefront system Magento. Developers also get access to eBay parters such as Kenshoo, Rackspace and Adobe Ominture. The APIs are meant to be use for retailers who need developers to solve “back-end” issues, such as taxes and inventory, as well as layout and customer experience in their apps.
“The retailers are desperate for developers,” Matthew Mengerink, general manager of X.commerce, told VentureBeat in an interview. “That’s where we come in and say we have this developer network — we don’t want to be the devs — [and] saying we’re all about making our developers money. Now retailers have access to all these developers, like a rolodex of developers they can choose from.”
Jeff Jordan, who will be judging and choosing a worthy company to invest in during the panel, only recently joined Andreessen-Horowitz. Speaking about his first few months at the firm, Jordan told VentureBeat, “It’s been a blast! I get to meet and partner with the best entrepreneurs building the most important companies, which is super exciting and incredibly rewarding for me.”
For the companies he evaluates Jordan says, “Start with a great business model. Build a great team. Innovate relentlessly. Focus. Reach high.”
After judging the 50 contestants, the venture capitalists will choose three to return and pitch their companies or ideas in hopes of receiving funding. Outside of the conference, X.commerce also makes an effort to support developers and their apps.
According to Mengerink, developers have full ownership over what they create using X.commerce’s APIs. eBay benefits by driving retailers back to their products through the apps made in the X.commerce program. Mengerink went so far as to say for every dollar an eBay asset such as Magento makes, the developer makes $20.
“It’s about indirect monetization. You win long-term because they’re using eBay products to innovate,” said Mengerink. “Strategically speaking this is the best thing we could do — create this framework. We are fundamentally part of this innovation.”