We're running this blog post today to look back at the BizSpark EU Summit  which we hosted in the UK. The startups we featured there were in the running for awards at the Summit. If you were following along, you may remember that one of the teams from France came out on top.  

The French contingent brought us The Commerce Guys, a group of e-commerce and Drupal developers who have figured out how to use that content management system to create e-commerce solutions that are easy to use and simple to understand. 

Here is a video of the CEO of Commerce Guys, Frederic Plais, speaking at SOlutions Linux / Open Source 2011.  Video is in French.

Commerce Guys, France                                                 

Fast Facts                             

  • Founded: 2008                   
  • Status: Commercial, customers, revenue
  • Finance: total $6 million in 2 investment rounds
  • Recognition: Gartner Cool Vendor, UBIFrance award
  • Find at the Commerce Guys website
  • You can follow them on Twitter @CommerceGuys 

Using the power of Drupal content management to create advanced eCommerce solutions

The big idea

Drupal is the open-source content management tool that has gained a following over the world.  Commerce Guys have developed Drupal Commerce, a suite of solutions that harnesses Drupal for powerful eCommerce applications.  CEO Frederic Plais says, “People’s expectations of what eCommerce can deliver has increased a lot, so merchants want to match that with sophisticated content that connects with social media and mobile.  What we do is focus our knowledge and expertise on providing online merchants with the powerful, responsive, flexible and innovative eCommerce solutions they need to thrive.”

Since launch 10 months ago, over 15,000 users – ranging from small companies to large - have signed up for the solution, which comprises a blend of software, consultancy and training, much of which is executed in cooperation with a growing network of partners worldwide.  Currently numbering around 40, these partners range from systems integrators and Drupal specialists to digital marketing agencies who advise brands on eCommerce.

Team, marketing & finance

Based in Paris, France and in the USA (Ann Arbor, Michigan).  The five founders bring an impressive set of CVs to the table, all with 10+ years experience. Apart from CEO Frederic Plais, the others are:  North America President Mike O’Connor, CTO Damien Tournoud (who also is one of the main architects of Drupal’s latest version), VP of Community Development Ryan Szrama and VP of Finance Tim Hill.  The company raised an initial seed round with Paris-based VC ISAI in 2010 and in March 2012, completed a second round led by Paris-based Alven Capital, with further funding from Finnish based Open Ocean along with ISAI.

The technology

While Commerce Guys’ heritage may be Drupal, the open source content management system, the company has collaborated with Microsoft from its early days.  Says Frederic Plais, “We know that when we are targeting the enterprise market, a lot of them are going to be on the Microsoft stack.  So, if we can get SQL server to work on Drupal Commerce, this opens up a big potential market for us.  We are migrating to the Windows Azure platform and KickStart – our Drupal distribution product – is already on Azure.  That’s just the first step.  We couldn’t scale the way we want to without going to the cloud.” Frederic continues, “There’s a strong team at Microsoft, the support has been great and we’ve been surprised at how they have such a good understanding of open source. I’m sure that this relationship will continue to grow.”