There’s a new kid on the (SoMa) block, and his name is Big — Bigcommerce.
You heard right: Bigcommerce has just opened a new office in San Francisco’s SoMa district (in MoPub’s old space) and has made two key new hires. West Stringfellow, previously at PayPal and Amazon among others, recently joined as the new chief product officer, and Ron Pragides just became its new VP of engineering.
Bigcommerce, a previously only Austin- and Sydney-based e-commerce platform geared towards small and medium businesses, offers its customers a suite of tools including website creation, search engine optimization, data analytics, marketing, reporting, security, inventory management, payment processing, and much more.
It also grabbed $40 million in funding last summer and is now putting it to use.
“I’ve been quietly setting the foundation for a rapid acceleration,” said Stringfellow during a call with VentureBeat. So far, he’s helped open the San Francisco office, bring Pragides onto the team, and get the board’s approval for over 40 new engineering hires. “It all speaks to the theme of big e-commerce accelerating,” he added.
Hiring Pragides to lead the engineering team is a particularly key step for Stringfellow. Pragides has worked at both of the companies Stringfellow and his colleagues admire: Salesforce and Twitter.
“Salesforce is one of those Silicon Valley darling stories [and] at Twitter, a huge part of his job was getting the engineers at Twitter to raise their games,” Stringfellow said of his new engineering leader.
Hiring Pragides is also complementary to the company’s reason for opening an office in San Francisco. “The density of talent in SF is unparalleled and especially the density of talent to solve the problems we’re solving,” shared Stringfellow. Bigcommerce is rapidly expanding, and its technology and engineering team need to catch up and be able to support it.
And although there are other e-commerce players in the game (Etsy, Shopify, eBay, etc.), Stringfellow is not worried about them, mainly because Bigcommerce is so different from them.
Stringfellows views Etsy, for example, as having a particular appeal to a particular demographic. eBay is a “large anonymous marketplace,” and Amazon is primarily focused on providing the lowest price to shoppers without regards for the seller.
Bigcommerce, on the other hand, is “democratizing retail” and powering e-commerce for merchants.
“Our customers are more stable, stay on the platform longer,” he explained. “We attract merchants who are more serious about having an e-commerce business. We don’t pay attention to [competitors] though, we’re focused on winning the customers’ hearts and minds.” He added that a lot of their customers are former Volusion and Shopify customers.
As for his plans for the upcoming year, Stringfellow didn’t want to reveal too much about what Bigcommerce has in the pipeline, but he did say that most important will be hiring to improve product quality, stability of the platform, and the velocity at which the team can improve features. Broadening brand awareness and expanding into new verticals and internationally are also on the horizon.
“I’ve never worked at a company before where the problem is ‘what do you do with the overwhelming opportunity,’” continued Stringfellow. Bigcommerce has seen year-to-year growth of 100 percent.
“Candidly, the biggest challenge that we have is prioritizing the amazing number of opportunities that are presented to us on a daily basis. It’s a very high-class problem to have,” he concluded.
Yes… High-class problem indeed.