March 3rd, 2010
We have ignition: Portland’s ShopIgniter secures $3 million in venture capital, snags new CEO from lead investor Madrona
Well, well, well. Seems like today is an Ignite Portland day in more ways than one.
And it also seems that “can’t get funded in Portland” argument continues to spring leaks in 2010. First, Urban Airship found funding. And now Portland-based ShopIgniter—an open source ecommerce platform that’s betting on social media as the next big retail venue—has secured $3 million in venture capital led by Madrona Venture Group. What’s more, it says just as much that former Yahoo! Matt Compton of Madrona was so impressed, he’s decided to join ShopIgniter as the new CEO.
I kind of want to work a Victor Kiam quote in here, but it’s probably not worth it. Anyway…
Mike Rogoway has a great write-up on ShopIgniter, hinting at the socially focused aspects of the service:
“We think we’re really going to shake up the online retail market,” Compton said.
ShopIgniter helps retailers track prospective customers on Twitter and Facebook and offer them targeted discounts pegged to their social media portfolios.
“We can bring retail right into Facebook,” Compton said. “We really believe the social Web is the next (retail) channel.”
And they’re willing to admit—like the early adoption of the Web by retailers—that that may not be easy, as ShopIgniter told John Cook at TechFlash.
“The thesis we are looking at is that e-commerce is one of the growing areas in technology, but it is all run on these home-grown systems,” said Compton.
Of course, getting retailers off those home-grown systems could be a chore. But Compton said that most retailers “want to be retailers” and don’t want to mess with software development. Part of the ShopIgniter offering includes deep integration with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, allowing retailers to tap those communities in order to drive more sales.
Yes, but what is it, exactly? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here’s how the folks at ShopIgniter describe it.
The ShopIgniter solution is a fully extensible ecommerce platform built on CodeIgniter, a web application framework with a community of over 115,000 developers. The platform serves sellers of all sizes and was built with system integration and front-end customization in mind. “Retailers, product brands and their interactive agencies need to be able to design custom store fronts but do not want the maintenance hassle or expense of hosting and building high-performance ecommerce functionality. We provide that flexibility and still deliver all the benefits of a SaaS solution,” said CTO and co-founder, Dan Warner. “We also encourage developers to leverage the ShopIgniter module architecture to extend functionality, build integration points and continue to innovate for their ecommerce clients.”
Now suffice it to say, this is good news. And for the Portland startup community, this win holds significance on a number of levels.
First, as I hinted at above, it’s funding. Funding is good. And demonstrating that Portland is capable of creating startups that are both interesting and fundable is a huge win for all of us. The rising water floats all boats and whatnot.
Second, it’s another Portland play that embraces the world of social media—and makes it business worthy. Like Jive Software, Second Porch, and Webtrends, ShopIgniter is at the forefront of making the social network the next bastion of business. And that, dare I say, seems to be a growing trend around here. Don’t make me start waxing “de facto hub” already.
Third, this is a major win for Portland Ten—the startup bootcamp project run by Carolynn Duncan designed to create more viable Portland startups—in which ShopIgniter was a participant. Not a bad success story for the old alumni newsletter, there.
Congratulations to another Portland startup proving its worth to the investment community. It will be interesting to see how they began to invest that capital—some initial plans call for increased promotions and staffing—to fuel their continued growth.
For more information, visit ShopIgniter.