Fresh from a glitch-free Black Friday/Cyber Monday marathon where Bold Commerce’s 90,000 merchant customers from around the world did millions of dollars of business using the Winnipeg company’s e-commerce tools, Bold is now on to the next chapter of its growth — breaking into the enterprise space.
Bold is hyper-sensitive to the needs of its merchants. But the fact is, its customers — mostly small- to medium-sized operations, many of them mom and pop shops — got connected with Bold through online connections. Or, in the common industry parlance, it was all organic growth.
But Bold is now looking to start servicing larger merchants with more sophisticated needs and requiring a more direct relationship with technology suppliers.
So Bold has hired industry veteran Mike Sanchez of Austin, Texas, to be its first chief revenue officer and to build up a sales team that is expected to number about 40 people based in Austin by the end of next year.
"We are proud to have grown to 350 people in Winnipeg," said Bold CEO Yvan Boisjoli. "But we are a global company. Probably about 99 per cent of our users are not in Canada. Having an office in Austin will better position us to support our merchants and our partners."
Flush with about $22 million from venture capital investment at the beginning of this year, Bold is looking to sustain its dramatic rate of growth — number 41 on Deloitte’s 2019 Technology Fast 50 list — and marketing to a client base of larger merchants can open up a whole new piece of the market.
"We are moving upstream with our products, looking at more enterprise merchants," Boisjoli said. "We do provide lots of solutions for that type of retailer but that can’t be supplied just though our website. It requires thoughtful conversation with those enterprise merchants."
Sanchez brings about 15 years of experience and a broad network of contacts with large retailers as well as technology partners or digital agencies — the companies that build the websites that the e-commerce operations reside on for those retailers.
"Having a team to go evangelize and partner up with those folks (digital agencies) so they can build all their future stores on Bold products, that will be a big part of what the strategy is," Sanchez said.
Bold is known as the largest application partner for Shopify, the Canadian company that has built one of the world’s leading e-commerce platforms. (Shopify merchants racked up $2.9 billion in sales over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend.)
Bold will continue its strong partnership with Shopify — its apps are the most popular among the 2,000 in Shopify’s app store — but it’s never relied exclusively on Shopify for distribution.
In the past, Sanchez has worked for another large e-commerce platform called BigCommerce and was most recently vice-president, partner and agency sales with WP Engine, a company that supports clients to optimize their websites that use the content management system, WordPress.
The way Sanchez describes it is e-commerce platforms such as Shopify solve 50 to 80 per cent of merchants’ requirements. A company such as Bold has solutions for the other 20 to 50 per cent with apps such as upsell, subscriptions and custom pricing.
"Our goal is that we want Bold to be a sales channel for everyone," Sanchez said. "Not just one subset. We want to be able to help merchants across the board."
Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.