Here’s something a little bit different for your Friday—not a standalone startup, but a new cooperative undertaking from two ecommerce startups: a Q&A with BitDazzle CEO Hieu Bui. The San Diego, California-based company, which is a marketplace for buying and selling online with bitcoin, was founded this year as a joint venture between Cashie Commerce and Coinbase.
SUB: Please describe BitDazzle and your primary innovation.
Bui: BitDazzle is the best place to buy and sell with bitcoin. BitDazzle is noteworthy in that it’s the first online marketplace to offer products that appeal to a mainstream market for sale via bitcoin.
Consumers shop BitDazzle as they would on any other marketplace. At the checkout page, shoppers can choose to pay via bitcoin or PayPal/credit card. If they do not have bitcoin, they can simply sign up for a bitcoin wallet via Coinbase as part of the checkout flow. For merchants, listing and selling products on BitDazzle is free.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Bui: We have two targets: merchants and shoppers. For merchants, BitDazzle is a free opportunity to expand the reach of their products. For shoppers, we’re enabling them access to unique, primarily handmade products, now available for purchase with bitcoin.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition, and what differentiates BitDazzle from the competition?
Bui: There are other bitcoin marketplaces, but if you look at their offerings, they mainly offer electronics and gift cards. BitDazzle is unique in that we have small businesses on board offering products that appeal to a much broader base than current bitcoin marketplaces. We’ve got everything from clothing, handmade soaps, and beauty products, to art and gifts items.
SUB: You just launched as a new collaboration between Cashie Commerce and Coinbase. What is the story behind this cooperative venture?
Bui: Yes. BitDazzle is powered by Cashie Commerce. When we met the team from Coinbase, we realized that our companies could provide a solid benefit for each other’s customers and for the bitcoin industry as a whole. Cashie Commerce has several thousand small business customers that sell on their websites, Facebook and mobile devices via the Cashie Commerce platform. And Coinbase has 300,000 users utilizing them to transact with bitcoin. Combining forces to create BitDazzle helps Cashie Commerce customers reach more shoppers, and Coinbase helps expand the pool of merchants able to sell with Bitcoin. It just made sense.
SUB: How is it being financed?
Bui: Cashie Commerce and Coinbase are two venture-backed companies with some big-name investors behind us—500 Startups, Union Square Ventures. We both have the funding in place to grow BitDazzle and the bitcoin ecosystem.
SUB: What were the first steps you’ve taken in establishing the company?
Bui: BitDazzle is our consumer-focused brand. Because BitDazzle is powered by Cashie Commerce, we were able to quickly build the site and launch it without having to establish a separate company.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Bui: We wanted something fun and shopper-friendly. After batting around a lot of options, BitDazzle just seemed to stick.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek outside funding in the near future?
Bui: We’re constantly evaluating opportunities to grow our company and expand our reach. If the right funding opportunity were to come along, we’d be happy to evaluate it.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to establishing the company?
Bui: Launching a new brand is always a challenge. The devil is in the details. But we have a great selection of products already on the site and are adding new merchants daily.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Bui: For now, it’s free to list products on BitDazzle, and due to a special Coinbase promotion, bitcoin transactions are free as well. Next year, we will likely turn on our monetization strategy, which may include listing fees, premium services, etc.
SUB: What are your goals for BitDazzle over the next year or so?
Bui: To become the premier marketplace for consumers looking to buy and sell with Bitcoin.
BitDazzle – www.bitdazzle.com