AOL co-founder and entrepreneur Steve Case is adding another hat to his already crowded head: board member of Austin, Texas-based ecommerce website Bigcommerce. Case's investment firm Revolution Growth announced this morning that it invested $40 million in the company, which plans to use the money to promote its brand and expand its international offerings.
Investing in ecommerce startups is nothing new for Case. His previous ventures include the social shopping deal site LivingSocial and the "Wheels when you want them" membership-based car rental company Zipcar.
"Even though ecommerce has already grown a lot, we still have a long way to go," Case told Reuters. "Bigcommerce has the potential to level the playing field for small businesses, giving them the same ecommerce tools that big guys like Amazon already have."
Bigcommerce offers a highly customizable, easy-to-use platform for businesses to create online stores, including services such as marketing, social media integration and of sales. Even those business owners who might be less tech-savvy can find it easy to navigate the polished set-up process. The monthly fee for the service ranges from $24.95 to $299.95 for the feature-packed Diamond level. The differences between service levels lie in the number of products you can have in your store, the amount of storage and how many individual staff logins you have available.
The funding from Revolution Growth is also expected to help Bigcommerce grow access new customers by arranging strategic partnerships with existing payments and software companies. Bigcommerce already has more than 35,000 small- and medium-size companies as customers.
Case, a Hawaii native, used a surfing metaphor to explain Revolution Growth's investment strategy to PeHUB.com. The "wave theory," he said, holds that "sometimes, the waves are there" and sometimes, when all the factors just aren't quite right, you have to wait for the next one.
"We're patient," Case said. "We know waiting for that right wave makes sense."