Eighteen months ago, e-commerce software maker BigCommerce opened a separate engineering center at 800 Brazos St., across town from its headquarters in far Northwest Austin.
Putting its engineering team downtown worked so well that the company is moving again, to a space that’s twice as big.
“We can go to headquarters, and we do, but if we want to be heads down and crazy and work until 3 a.m., the downtown office is perfect for that,” said Nate Stewart, BigCommerce group product manager. “It’s very much like a startup.”
Next week, BigCommerce, which is one of Austin’s fastest growing software companies, will move down the street to its new 11,000-square-foot offices at 211 E. Seventh St.
The new offices feature floor-to-ceiling views of downtown, an open design for collaboration, a main kitchen, and a separate area for meetups and other events, with a smaller kitchen.
There’s also room for BigCommerce employees at its headquarters at Four Points off RM 620 and RM 2222 to work downtown.
But most importantly, the new offices will allow BigCommerce to grow. The company has grown from five to 50 people downtown, and plans to add at least another 20 there over the next year.
Being downtown will help the company ramp up hiring, officials say.
"It's simple: Developers want to be downtown, and we didn't want not being there to restrict us from recruiting them, " Robert Alvarez, BigCommerce chief financial officer of e-commerce software, said last year. "Location is one of the first things candidates ask about, and now we can show them a really hip open office space, and all the places they can walk, and they want to be there."
BigCommerce was founded in 2009 in Australia by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchel Harper. It sells software that lets businesses build online stores, accept payments from a variety of methods and track sales and shipping. It also provides tools for merchants to sell their products on smartphones and social media sites.
The company supports more than 50,000 Web storefronts worldwide, most of them small and medium retailers. Bigger name customers include Camelbak, Martha Stewart Cafe and Gibson Guitars.
The 430-person company opened its North American headquarters in Austin six years ago, drawn by the region’s talent pool and cost of living.
Today, it has 292 employees in Austin, which is now headquarters of all operations. In addition to engineering operations in Sydney, the company has offices in San Francisco.
A year ago, BigCommerce raised $30 million to add more workers and ramp up growth of its software. It has raised a total of $155 million from backers including General Catalyst, Revolution Growth, SoftBank Capital and American Express to build out its platform and reach new customers.
But BigCommerce doesn’t have the e-commerce market to itself. Rivals in the crowded market include Shopify, Big Cartel, 3dcart and Austin-based Volusion.
Now the BigCommerce engineering team is focused on the company’s next wave of growth, which involves helping customers expand beyond selling directly from their websites to customers.
BigCommerce is doing that by making it easier for users to add channels including Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to their sites.
“Now you can boot-up and within a week you’re selling on all those channels at once,” Stewart said. “It’s really about building a completely different type of product. It’s not just e-commerce, but commerce as a whole.”
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