Austin’s Volusion, WP Engine, and Main Street Hub Raise New Funds
Three business-to-business e-commerce companies in Austin, TX, said that they had raised a total of $64 million Tuesday.
—Volusion, which helps retailers create online stores, secured $35 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. The money will be used to further develop the company’s software platform for small and medium-sized businesses. It will also support Volusion’s new Mozu platform, which is designed for larger enterprise firms and made its debut this week at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention.
The deal is the company’s first outside financing in its 10-year history. Volusion chose debt financing because it is non-dilutive, according to a company spokeswoman. She added that Volusion is preparing for an IPO, possibly in 2015. The e-commerce software provider says it has 40,000 customers that processed $3.4 billion in transactions in 2013.
—WP Engine, an online hosting company that specializes in running WordPress sites, raised $15 million in an equity financing by North Bridge Growth Equity, based in Waltham, MA. The money will be used to advance its products, including setting up 24-hour customer sales and support chat channels. Heather Brunner, the company’s CEO, says WP Engine has customers in about 100 countries, and that it plans to open an office in Europe by 2015.
The company, which has offices in Austin and San Francisco, expects to double its current employee count of 100 by the end of the year. WP Engine was founded in 2010 and has about 14,000 customers who host more than 120,000 sites and domains on its platform. Its customers include the Country Music Association, apparel maker Athleta, and Allstate Insurance.
“Our challenges continue to be to hiring at the pace that we want,” Brunner says. “A lot of successful companies here and in San Francisco are all competing for the same talent.”
—Main Street Hub, an online marketing platform for small local businesses, raised $14 million in a Series B equity round led by Bessemer Venture Partners; existing investors such as Harrison Metal Capital in Palo Alto, CA, also participated in the round. The money will be used to hire additional personnel and expand the company’s footprint in its four current offices in Austin, San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Matt Stuart, Main Street Hub’s co-founder and co-CEO, says he expects the firm to hire 200 engineers and sales and account managers this year, more than doubling its current payroll of 175.
The company’s advantage, Stuart says, is its “do it for you” approach that appeals specifically to smaller proprietors who don’t have time or staff to handle social, Web, and mobile marketing on their own. “We are the voice of our merchants online,” he says.
The company has 3,000 customers in the United States and is considering expanding internationally. It has raised a total of $20 million in financing.