Wix emerged in 2006 as part of a new generation of startups on a mission to do for website creation what Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr have done for bloggers and content creators. Riding the increasing demand for easy-to-use, DIY website builders, Wix is now one of the largest platforms of its kind on the Web, along with Weebly and SquareSpace. With over 40 million people now using its free web design tools, in November, Wix debuted on the Nasdaq as part of an IPO that valued the company at just under $800 million — representing the largest public offering for an Israeli company to date.
Today, in its first big move since going public, the Tel Aviv-based company announced that it is acquiring Appixia, a fellow Israeli startup which has developed a platform that aims to make it easy for retailers to take their stores mobile and build their own native “mCommerce” apps.
A graduate of Microsoft Ventures’ accelerator program in Tel Aviv, Appixia’s platform aims to make it easy for small mom-and-pop to medium-sized retailers to quickly add a mobile storefront to their existing eCommerce marketplaces. To do that, the startup’s platform supports a range of platforms, like Magento, Prestashop, Zen Cart, Shopify and eBay, automatically syncing with existing, live stores and backend systems so that merchants don’t have to manage their mobile presence separately from their online stores.
Like Wix for mobile, Appixia allows retailers to build HTML5-compatible mobile websites and native apps for iOS and Android without requiring any previous coding skills or knowledge of programming. However, the one place where Appixia differs from Wix: Whereas Wix allows anyone to build a website from scratch, Appixia currently doesn’t support retailers who don’t have an existing eCommerce store.
That said, Wix already offers a wide range of eCommerce features for those looking to quickly build eCommerce stores and automatically creates a mobile-optimized version of the sites its users create. Thus, the acquisition of Appixia allows Wix to extend its current eCommerce and mobilization functionality, giving users the ability to create an online store and then quickly add a mobile-optimized version of their store, along with native apps.
The acquisition is a strategic move in a larger sense, in that both companies offer code-free solutions that make complex and costly development processes simple and accessible, particularly for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Appixia also provides a complement to Wix’s current mobile adaptive solution, which has been growing fast since launching in October.
As part of its announcement today, the company said that users are now creating over 30K mobile sites every day and that 1.6 million mobile websites were created on its platform by the end of 2013. By integrating the startup’s technology, Wix will be able to add the kind of extended mobile functionality and features that have been missing from its platform, like support for push notifications, barcode scanning, location-based services (GPS), credit card scanning, Facebook and Twitter integration and so on.
As to the terms of the deal, while the company declined to share the price, Wix Director of Communications Eric Mason said that this was primarily a talent and technology deal and that the company does not expect the acquisition to have an impact on its non-GAAP operating results. However, the company does expect to “fully integrate” Appixia’s technology into its platform and that one of the startup’s co-founders, Tal Kol, will be leading the integration effort.
Mason also said that “time to market” was also an important factor in the acquisition, since the technology is already built, acquiring Appixia allows Wix to extend mobile support in “significantly less time” than if it had developed the technology in-house. For Appixia, which was apparently in the midst of its first funding round when it began discussions with Wix, co-founder and CEO Yigael Berger said that the team decided that the existing synergies and opportunity to reach 40 million-plus were too appealing to pass up.
For more, find Appixia at home here.