Austin Startup BigCommerce Books $40M Series “C” As In Case, Steve Case

stevecaseA few years ago, people were concerned about the likes of Walmart and Barnes and Noble coming into a town and closing down small businesses.

Then, Amazon came along, and we were suddenly worried about the local Barnes and Noble going under.

Amazon is obviously a giant, selling everything from clothes to books to niche home accessories. They operate on razor thin margins and are constantly expanding and revamping. Now, in our home at least, it’s common to hear, “I’m checking out on Amazon. Need anything?”

Amazon could easily take over the world.

Except, people still love their small, local businesses, too. While Amazon is growing in popularity, so is the local movement, and plenty of people would prefer to shop 100% local. They like supporting small operations. If only shopping at small businesses was as easy as shopping on Amazon…

Thanks to Bigcommerce, for a lot of businesses it is.

Based in Austin and Sydney, Bigcommerce has been battling the curse of Amazon since 2009. Small businesses–both brick and mortar and fully virtual–can use the service to set up an online store, and Bigcommerce’s tools will make it as fluid and easy for customers as Amazon. They also have a variety of features that help a small business rank high in search, build apps, and analyze data.

bigcommerceMost small businesses may know very little about running an online business. Bigcommerce helps them out with the Success Squad, a group of employees who train business owners in using the platform. And, their prices cater to the small business crowd with packages starting at $25/month.

On Friday, Bigcommerce announced a series C round: $40 million exclusively from Steve Case’s Revolution Growth VC firm. Case will join the company’s board.

Before this round, the company had already raised $35 million. They weren’t hurting for money, but they have big plans for the extra funds.

“The new funding will help us build out our platform even more quickly, with a focus on empowering mobile commerce, creating a more robust app ecosystem, better serving our clients, and going global,” Bigcommerce said on their blog.

With the explosion of mobile in the US market, the ability to sell through a smartphone is critical. Bigcommerce will soon offer the service to their customers, making them even more competitive with Amazon.

Bigcommerce’s goal is to democratize e-commerce, to make it as easy for the little guy to succeed as the Amazons of the world. With their new investment, the future is looking sunny.EECincyBanner

Australian Startup Releases New Dual Screen Video Platform For Event Organizers

If you’re throwing a big event, like we are, than you know that the audience at home is just as valuable as the audience on site. Event organizers are constantly looking for the best way to stream their events online and give at home viewers a similar experience to what those on site are seeing.

Australian startup Cogent has launched an exciting new video platform, primarily targeted towards live events. The platform called Eventer, is a dual screen video platform. This allows viewers at home to partake in the direct feed video from the stage and possibly watch the audience or a slide presentation at the same time. There are currently other video startups working in a similar space, but none so focused on events themselves.

Eventer has already been tested in Australia and in the United States. The San Francisco Music Tech event was the first US event to test out Eventer. The event’s co-founder Brian Zisk said that the event saw viewers at home staying engaged for 40 minutes at a time. In Australia, the Sustaining Women In Business conference also tested out the technology and it worked well for them too.

The unique platform delivered by Cogent and Eventer allows viewers to see everything in real time. Viewers at home can see the slide transitions and any special effects that may be happening on stage.

We got a chance to talk to the team from Eventer, check out the interview below.

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500 Startups Unveiled Today: Meet Australian Startup Kickfolio The Easiest Way To Test iOS Apps

Kickfolio,500 startups,Australian Startup,startup,startups,startup interview,Dave McClureThe startups that were selected to convene in the top secret 500 startups lair in Mountain View California this fall were revealed today. Dave McClure, the founder of 500 Startups along with Paul Singh have assembled another cohort of ass kicking, startup crushers, including Australian startup Kickfolio.

The rare breed of talent chosen to undergo the top secret 500 startups program come from all facets of the tech world. There are publishing startups, web tools, integrated browser plugins, analytical startups and even developer resources. That’s the category that Kickfolio fits in.

McClure and his team pick startups for a variety of reasons, undoubtedly the fact that this team has a co-founder named Diesel, must play into the flavor of startup monsters McClure is currently working on. Couple that with the fact that these Aussie founders swear Kickfolio is the best way for developers to test iOS apps and you have a recipe for startup inhalation.

We got a chance to talk with that particular founder, yes the one who goes by Diesel. Check out our interview with Diesel Laws below.

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Australian Startup Yolpme Is Crowdsourcing Social Media For Jobs INTERVIEW

With the recent surge in job related startups, founders are getting more and more creative with resources for recruitment. We’ve seen great socially charged recruiting and job startups like Barrel of Jobs in Washington DC. We also recently interviewed Employtown in Denver, they offer a reverse job market that’s definitely worth checking out.

Today we’re bringing you the story of Australian startup Yolpme. Yolpme is a new recruitment platform that is combining crowdsourcing with social networking.  Yolpme uses crowd sourced referrals through targeted media channels to find the best talent for companies.

To increase the value of the candidate and to make placement more likely, Yolpme offers referrers a referral fee of 3-5% which means that on a position that pays $100,000 the referrer could see a reward of $3,000. This is a value proposition to the referrer, definitely worth checking out.

Yolpme is also working to put a ranking in place for referrers so that referrers can’t just spam open positions. Companies will be able to see the ranking for the person giving the referral which will reflect on the potential quality of the candidate.

Right now Yolpme is available in Australia but they are hoping to expand to the US and Europe next year. We got a chance to talk with the team behind Yolpme. Check out the interview below.

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Australian Startup: School Hours Helps People Find Jobs Around, School Hours

We’re hopeful that either this Australian startup will come to the United States or someone will do something very similar. School Hours is a new startup, based in Australia that helps Australian parents find flexible jobs. Sure not every person that uses SchoolHours will have kids, but all of those using it will require some kind of flexibility.

After checking out SchoolHours even further you begin to realize that people taking night or even day classes can utilize the platform. People with second jobs can utilize the platform. Even those people that have a hobby they pursue at a set schedule can utilize SchoolHours to find the best jobs with flexibility in mind.

It’s no secret that more and more job seekers are taking culture into consideration when looking for those jobs, and of course flexibility in hours can play a big role in that.

SchoolHours is packed with a variety of jobs and a variety of schedules.

We got a chance to interview the founders of SchoolHours. Check out the interview below.

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Interview With Australian Startup: CheckinLine

CheckinLine is a new Australian startup that gives insight into data from checkins for engagement, promotion and insight. It works by virtually camping out for registered fans and gives access to promotions and engagements to those who deserve it most by way of a daily check-in.

The startup based in Melbourne claims that in their own case studies with their platform the average engagement level in 2011 was 69% which is well beyond the average engagement on any other platform. CheckinLine gives a more accurate picture to their clients because one check in equals one opinion. Their end research is more intimate than most, they liken it to having a one on one conversation with a companies most active customers.

CheckinLine seems to be a lot like SCVNGR where the user completes a task upon check-in rather than a blank check in without engagement. An engaged check-in is much more effective than a non-engaged check-in.

The company describes their camping out philosophy like this: “I’ll hold your place for you, but I need you to come back regularly to let me know you’re still interested. If not, I’ll reward more committed users”.

We got a chance to interview CheckinLine below:

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Australian Startup: iPledj Is A Crowdfunding Platform For Just About Everything INTERVIEW

iPledj,Australian startup,startup,startups,international startups,crowdfunding,crowd funding,nibletzCrowdfunding is a really hot space right now. Obviously in the U.S. Kickstarter and Indiegogo were the first to the gate, funding everything from record albums to installation art projects and even startups who’ve gotten creative with their Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects.

Congress recently passed the JOBS Act that’s going to make it possible for ordinary citizens to crowd fund startups for equity up to $1 million dollars.

Overseas though, crowd funding is just starting to take off. Australian startup iPledj is a crowd funding platform for everything from creative projects to businesses. With iPledj just about anyone create a project and just about anyone can fund that same project. iPledg has no medium for crowd funding for equity, but if you’re a business looking to make money for a special project, you may find luck on the Australian site.

We got a chance to talk with iPledj co-founder Brian Vadas about Australia’s biggest crowdfunding startup. Check out that interview below:


What is ipledg?

iPledg is a broad based crowd funding platform on which those with creative, commercial, charitable or community projects can engage their networks (and beyond) to raise the required funds to achieve their initiatives. Whilst largely unheard of in Australia, crowd funding is one of the fastest browing forms of ecommerce on the planet. Since our inception, we have been engaging with governments, universities, industry bodies, businesses and individuals who see this as a efficient, low risk for of raising funds that do not involve loans that need to be repaid or the surrender of equity in the concept or company. The platform not only facilitates the process of crowd funding, but gives clear, concise, and simple guidelines and assistance to help both project creators and those who wish to support projects.

Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Andy Tompkins originated from the UK where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant before spending some time in South Africa and then migrating to Australia at the beginning of 2010. Andy has his own corporate advisory business in Brisbane, Lattice Capital, which was started by his colleague Trevor Cuss in 2008. Andy is also a panel member for the Queensland government’s Mentoring for Growth program, assisting small businesses deal with some of the issues facing them in day to day operations. It was on one of these panels that he met Bryan Vadas.

Even at high school, Bryan demonstrated entrepreneurial flair and a commercial astuteness beyond his years, having become the face of Young Achievers Australia in 1982. Using broad based skills he has assisted business start ups right through to multinationals who require business transformation solutions. In 2002, Bryan teamed up with Steve Flint to form Time Masters (Australia), offering project management, program management, and general management consultancy to small and large businesses, locally and abroad.

Having met Andy at a Mentoring for Growth panel meeting in 2011, Bryan initiated a coffee, at which they both discussed synergies between the businesses they were running. As they were about to leave, Andy casually mentioned to Bryan about an idea he had about starting a crowd funding site. Typical of most people who are unaware of this little known concept (at least at the time), Bryan asked “what’s crowd funding?” at which point the two resumed their seats and spent considerably more time going through the idea. At the end of their lengthy conversation Bryan told Andy “you shouldn’t have mentioned this idea in passing – you know now I’m going to push you to do it” and the rest, as they say, is history.

Both Andy and Bryan quickly recognised the “fit” between their philanthropic endeavours and the general concept of Crowd funding, and iPledg became not just a platform for commercial and business projects, but one for charitable and community endeavours.

Finally, with friends and close family involved in artistic and creative pursuits, Andy and Bryan realised that the passion around the creative space would also lend itself to Crowd Funding (this had been proven for years already and all around the world), so iPledg found its third pillar, that of being a platform for the artistic and creative to raise the funding they require for their projects.

And iPledg was born!


Where are you based?

We are based on the Gold Coast, Queensland, but have established the site as global platform, allowing anyone from anywhere in the world to post a project or pledge their support. We have already had projects and pledges from Australia, the USA, Asia, Europe, and South Africa, so we are already achieving the dream of iPledg being based not in one location, but potentially on every computer and screen around the world


What problem does iPledg solve?

Great for startup capital. Venture capitalists don’t “venture” anymore (availability of venture capital is down by 90% from the figures of 10 years ago). Venture capitalists say they find start-ups, but by nature they don’t – they require proven track record and a history of sales and profit (bringing on the argument that they perhaps should be called Development Capitalists nowadays rather than Venture Capitalists). Crowd funding allows for the funding of what is little more than a good idea, as long as “the crowd” also the crowd also believes that the idea is sound. Small business or start-ups can try crowd funding quickly, at low cost and low risk, and raise funds without taking on loans that need to be repaid or giving away equity in the idea, product or company. They can use such funding for prototyping, proof of concept, affording to bring in skills and knowledge to achieve a particular point in their progress, acquire tools and equipment, or to develop marketing collateral or deliver a product launch. A successful campaign will not only provide the required funding, but support the business with social proof of their concept, which may allow them to acquire greater, more formal funding from traditional sources. In addition, a well promoted, successful crowd funding campaign will not only give exposure to the business and product / service, but is a great way to offer the product / service to the market before getting underway. The founders of iPledg recognised (in their commercial lives prior to iPledg) that there was a yawning gap at the bottom of the funding ladder, whereby businesses with a good idea and little (or no) traction could not attract finance. Crowd funding offer a solution and now fills that gap


How did you come up with the idea?

I wish we could take credit for coming up with the idea of crowd funding, but it was successfully implemented before we came along. Andy know of it and he told me of the concept last year, thinking it would fill the gap of at the bottom of the crowd funding ladder that most of our SME clients were faced with when they went to acquire funding. We were also both heavily involved with charities, and had family and friends involved in the creative and artistic field. We recognized that crowd funding would provide a universal solution in all these areas to allow a new model for raising funds, that would be efficient and effective, and allow for a new voice in the heavily crowded funding area.

What’s your secret sauce?

Broad commercial experience. Strategic alliances with key individuals and organizations that give us reach and add to our credibility. The ability to weather the long road to establishing the critical mass and exposure needed to be a sustainable business model. An undying, never-give-up attitude. A passion for wanting to make a difference, to help small business and charitable / community groups (it is this motivation, what we see as the right motivation, that makes us different, as others are motivated by the financial returns being achieved by other, leading and successful crowd funding platforms. It is passion rather than the want for a quick buck that will see sustainability and success). And, of course, as sense of fun in all we do – we love our job!


What’s one challenge you overcame in the startup process?

As a shoestring startup, we had to get bang for our buck in every respect. We had to build the platform with minimal funding, and that gave us a base platform with which we could launch. This gave us the exposure we were after, which then generated enough income to generate the funds to build the full version we wanted, which launches in early August this year. We got there in the end, but we made do with what resources we had to get underway and achieve traction


What’s next for iPledg?

Continue to build awareness of both crowd funding and of iPledg. Launch iPledg 2.0 with the successful components of the current platform, but with more functionality and flexibility. Continue to work with the regulators with whom we have started speaking about investment crowd funding, and move to review global experience in readiness for acceptance of the same model here in Australia when the regulators are ready to do so,


Find out more about iPledj here at their website

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more stories from “everywhere else”



Australian Startup: Attendly, CEO Offers Infographic: What Founders Should Be Able To Do

Attendly is an event registration and ticketing platform focused on the needs of event managers and web developers. It’s fully white labeled so the event organizer can adopt Attendly’s technology as their own and let Attendly run the background for any well attended event.

The Melbourne Australia based startups CEO and founder, Scott Handsaker is a world traveler, black belt in Taekwondo, sky diver, and he doesn’t eat meat or fish. More importantly he is an entrepreneur and a founder himself. As such he has developed this inforgraphic to show the things that Founders of any startup should be able to do.

The highlights include, understanding a term sheet, cold calling c-level executives, and writing a novel. Check out the info graphic below and see how you measure up to this interesting infographic.

A Startup Founder Should be Able To…

Check out Attendly here

Help a brother out here

Apple Fan Boy Alert The Fragrance Of A Macbook Pro Has Been Created

Melbourne Australian artists Gavin Bell, Jarrah De Kuijer and Simon McGlinn have done the unthinkable. They’ve packaged up the fragrance that you can only experience when you open up a brand new MacBook Pro. Ok, truth here we know the smell they are talking about and you can also get it in an original MacBook and a MacBook Air, but for this story we’ll stick with the pro.

Unfortunately for the die-hard Apple fans the fragrance has only been captured for an art exhibit and it hasn’t been bottled for purchase at your local Macy’s or Apple Store counter (at least not yet).

The scent was created using Air Aroma for the DeFacto Standard, Art Exhibition in Australia. The creators say that the scent encompasses the plastic wrap covering the box, the printed cardboard, the smell of the paper and plastic components in the box and the aluminum laptop. What? They left out the foam that packs the MacBook pro all neat in the box, travesty!

The fragrance was built off fragrance samples from suppliers in France who sent over samples of glue, plastic, rubber and paper. They then compared the samples to actually unboxing a MacBook Pro and say they perfected just right.

The exhibit will be on display at West Space in Melbourne Australia from April 20th to May 12th. I’m sure if you’re that big a fan you could find a decent flight rate using Hipmunk.




Victoria Police Endorsing Australian Startup MyBikeRego To Help Reunite Bikes And Owners

Police in Victoria are endorsing a new QR based technology designed by an Australian startup called MyBikeRego.

The concept is rather simple. MyBikeRego gives users of their service, three very hard to remove QR code stickers to affix to their bicycles. For $30 per year the owners information is stored in the cloud.  The bicycle owners name, phone number, address and even other important information like blood type and next of kin can be stored in the cloud.

Now, when someone finds a bike and has a QR code reader on their smartphone they can easily locate the bicycles owner. Also police departments can do the same thing. With the information like the blood type and next of kin, should a bike rider ever get in an accident emergency personnel can easily contact the riders next of kin.

Craig McDonald, a leading senior constable and crime prevention officer in the northwest region of Victoria met with MyBikeRego in 2011 and instantly started recommending the product:

“As Police if we find a bike they all look the same to us,” he says, which makes it hard to help those whose bikes have been stolen. Bicycles’ inherent portability doesn’t help matters, as many end up in areas distant from their owners where it is even harder for Police to return a bike.

More after the break
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Australian Startup Announces The “Playa”iPhone Case The Ultimate Hook Up Companion

Australian based startup Annex products launched in 2011 with a product designed by mates Rob Ward and Chris Peters. Their first product, the Opena case, is an iPhone case with a bottle opener built into it very similar to’s cases for opening beer bottles. They launched the Opena case on Kickstarter the popular crowd-funding site for new products.

The new case called the “Playa” provides protection,not only for your beloved iPhone but from STD’s, and unwanted pregnancies as well. How does it do this? It’s the first case designed to hold your phone and a condom.

The condom is secured in a sliding compartment that is flush with the case and no one can tell what’s in there. It holds two condoms easily. As the company says “no condoms falling on the red carpet for the playa case owner”.

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20 Year Old Bubbly Aussie Woman Debuts 99 Dresses At Y-Combinator

20 year old Nikki Durkin wants you to shop and sell in her infinite closet,

20 year old Nikki Durkin is looking to solve a problem potentially affecting hundreds of millions of women across the globe. The problem, their are too many clothes in her closet. As Durkin explains in her pitch video, she has all these clothes and nothing to wear. That’s where the idea for 99dresses came from, and it came to her when she was just 16 years old at an Australian boarding school for girls.

As Business Insider reports, naturally at an all girls school Durkin was swapping clothes all the time. High school and college girls are accustomed to borrowing each others clothes. So when Durkin graduated from high school she wanted to expand on the idea of girlfriends swapping clothes on a much larger scale.

99dresses uses virtual currency called buttons. A woman who wants to sell a dress, pair of pants, blouse or other piece of clothing, puts it up on the site and instead of getting paid cash, she sets a price in buttons. When she sells her piece of clothing the buttons change hands and the seller pays for shipping. Now the seller has buttons to buy or virtually rent clothes.

More after the break

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