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AOL co-founder Case invests in e-commerce firm

AOL co-founder Steve Case testifies at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 8, 2008.
AOL co-founder Steve Case testifies at the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 8, 2008.

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Revolution Growth, an investment firm run by AOL Inc co-founder Steve Case, said on Thursday that it invested $40 million in e-commerce start-up Bigcommerce.

Bigcommerce, launched in 2009 by Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper, plans to use the money to expand internationally and promote its brand.

Case, who is joining the board of Bigcommerce, has invested in several e-commerce start-ups, including LivingSocial, Zipcar and more recently Optoro.

"Even though e-commerce has already grown a lot we still have a long way to go," Case told Reuters in an interview. "It's a huge market."

Bigcommerce helps small businesses set up websites quickly to sell their products, letting them compete more easily with industry leaders such as Amazon.com Inc, the world's largest Internet retailer, and eBay Inc.

"Bigcommerce has the potential to level the playing field for small businesses, giving them the same e-commerce tools that big guys like Amazon already have," Case added.

Case plans to help Bigcommerce arrange strategic partnerships with existing payments and software companies, giving the start-up access to new customers.

"Going beyond selling to customers one at a time to doing strategic partnerships with large companies could really accelerate their growth," Case said.

LivingSocial, the main competitor to daily deal company Groupon, has struggled recently and had to make large concessions to investors, including Case, when it raised new financing earlier this year.

LivingSocial's main daily deals business continues to be strong and the company is re-focusing on its main market of North America, Case said.

"We're big believers in local commerce and it's still relatively early in this market," he added.

(Reporting by Alistair Barr; Editing by Carol Bishopric)