Ondango, a third-party provider of Facebook stores, has secured a US$ 500,000 capital investment from a group led by London-based venture capital fund Connect Ventures. The new capital will be used to scale Ondango’s Facebook-shopping platform.
Based in Germany, Ondango provides a platform the company says allows users to set up a Facebook store in minutes, with no technical knowledge. Users pay a monthly fee and Ondango also says no e-commerce experience is needed to run a Facebook store on its platform.
According to Ondango, it will use the new investment to accelerate growth and scale its services for small- and mid-sized businesses. Specific areas where Ondango plans to focus improvement include driving traffic to Facebook stores and overall customer experience.
Not Waiting around for Facebook
A posting on DailyDealMedia credits Ondango for “subscribing to the theory of tapping into what is becoming known as Facebook commerce.” This refers to a Facebook commerce performed without the assistance of apps. While Facebook “flounders around trying to figure out how to best monetize its unofficial 1 billion users,” DailyDealMedia says third party providers like Ondango are trying to tap into its “massive user base.”
Independent data suggests Facebook commerce, whether supported by Facebook itself or a third party, could prove quite lucrative. DailyDealMedia references Booz & Co. estimates that the worldwide market for social commerce will be US$ 9 billion this year and top US$ 30 billion by 2015. As DailyDealMedia understates, “It’s anticipated that Facebook could perhaps amass a rather large slice of that social commerce pie.”
Social Media Has ‘Science Fiction’ Potential
In a recent CMSWire column about the Social Media Intelligence Conference, Matthew O’Connell indirectly supported the notion of Facebook becoming a major direct e-commerce channel by discussing the “science fiction” potential social media has to change our daily existence.
The pervasiveness of social media on the internet is obvious,” wrote O’Connell. “Within a very short time, we'll be (social networking) in our Google Glasses, Facebook Phone, contact lenses (MIT has a patent on these) or brain implants, with less effort and easier access. By integrating this worldwide system of information seamlessly into our reality, we are on the precipice of an entirely new language; one of vision, intuition, transparency. In this world, we are everywhere at once without leaving our homes… The power that companies like Google and Facebook have is nearly unlimited.”
While O’Connell does not discuss social commerce per se in his column, clearly he is describing a world where social networking becomes a pervasive, everyday means of interaction with the world, and we all know how big a role commerce plays in our daily interaction.
Several angel investors, including Andy Goldstein, executive director of the Ludwig MU Entrepreneurship Center, have also participated in this round of financing. More than 400 Facebook shops use the Ondango platform, mainly in the music, sports and lifestyle market segments.