Meet Izberg Marketplace, a French startup that has been flying under the radar for a while. The company recently grabbed $1.7 million from Alven Capital (€1.5 million) — and it’s already profitable. Izberg provides one of the most flexible e-commerce solutions available, and it finds the right balance between customizability and complexity.
“We can add an e-commerce dimension to any existing website,” co-founder and head of sales Benoit Feron told me. For instance, with Izberg, a successful fashion media website doesn’t have to launch a separate website to create a store under its brand. It can tweak its existing website to let people seamlessly order stuff from the main website without ever leaving it.
“We provide a solution that relies entirely on APIs,” co-founder and CTO Florian Poullin told me. “Our goal is really just to be an API and add an e-commerce brick on top of any website.”
There are many components behind Izberg. The company provides four different ways to handle all the back office and import product inventories. You can manually input data using custom forms for small websites. You can also put all your products into an XML or CSV file so that Izberg can parse them — you can send these files as email attachments or host them somewhere. Finally, for existing e-commerce websites, you can either connect it to your existing e-commerce solution, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop or Magento, or you can connect Izberg to your e-commerce feed management solution, such as Lengow.
With all these solutions, marketplaces can seamlessly work with many different vendors and focus on getting clients. And you could leverage Izberg’s tools for service marketplace as well. For some websites, such as Chabadog, the company also handles the front-end website.
Overall, Izberg feels like an e-commerce swiss army knife that makes it much easier to launch an e-commerce website. I’m sure I only scratched the surface of what’s possible to do with Izberg by talking to the team for an hour. For now, it doesn’t scale perfectly well as the company has to do a lot of manual work to implement their solution on their clients’ websites. But the team plans to cover as many edge cases as possible so that web agencies and third-party developers can simply look at the documentation and play with the API to start using Izberg.
There are two key advantages behind Izberg’s business. In addition to charging a setup fee, as Izberg is a software-as-a-service solution, the company also charges a monthly fee — the more products or services you sell using Izberg, the more you have to pay every month.
Second, given that many companies that want to run a marketplace don’t have the developing team to do it in house, they often hire web agencies to help them. These web agencies act as sales people for Izberg, as many agencies in Paris already tell their clients that they want to use Izberg to develop their marketplaces.
A few potential features could make it even easier to launch a marketplace. For example, the company could aggregate vendors for each vertical. There are already a few fashion marketplaces that use the same vendors, so the company should be able to suggest vendors for the next fashion marketplace.
I see Izberg as the next generation of e-commerce solutions, a sort of Stripe for e-commerce. When you pay online using PayPal, you’re redirected to PayPal’s website and you see PayPal’s branding. But chances are that you already used Stripe and didn’t notice, because Stripe doesn’t redirect you to its website — it just provides a developer API so that any developer can add a credit card form to their website.
“Our client experience is much more neutral than any other solution,” co-founder and COO-CMO Luc Falempin told me. “You can’t recreate this experience with anything else.”