Izberg Marketplace Turns Any Website Into An E-Commerce Marketplace

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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.

Many specialized e-commerce retailers already work with Izberg Marketplace, such as France’s leading pet-focused online store Chabadog, or online drug store Powersanté.

“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.”

Self-driving car will make trip from San Francisco to New York City

It’s all of the road trip and none of the driving — at least, not by a human.

An autonomous car, developed by Michigan-based Delphi Automotive, will begin a 3,500-mile trip across the U.S. on March 22. Beginning in San Francisco, the car is expected to arrive in New York about a week later.

“We’re going to learn a lot out of this,” Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer, told The Associated Press.

There will be a person behind the wheel at all times, but they are not expected to intervene at all unless the autonomous car gets into trouble.

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5 Things to Look For in Your Next Incredible Mentor

Ask the most successful people you know how they got where they are and they’ll likely mention at least one mentor who helped them along the way. Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of an investment of time, energy and advice, it’s important to see mentoring for what it is: A priceless gift. That’s according to Steve Pogorzelski, CEO of Avention, a Concord, Massachusetts-based sales enablement and business information solutions provider. Whether you want to be a good mentor or find one who will help you get to the next level, here’s what he says you need to know about the best mentoring relationships.

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50 Quotes on Leadership Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

Every entrepreneur knows that the success of their business ultimately rests on their shoulders. Yes, the product you build and the team you hire are important, but your ability to lead is what carries your company.

With that kind of pressure, it’s easy to feel stressed, lonely and overwhelmed at times. Every great leader has faced a challenge that defined their greatness, which is why we often turn to their advice when needed.

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Facebook Buys And Shuts Down Shopping Site TheFind To Boost Commerce In Ads

Facebook today announced it has acquired personalized shopping search engine TheFind to help improve its commerce ads. TheFind had raised $26 million from Lightspeed and Redpoint since getting off the ground around 2005, but will now be shut down. Some, but not all, members of the team are joining Facebook.

TheFind’s product allowed people to get customized recommendations for products while searching through its massive database of products. A user could enter somewhat generic terms like “black sweater” and then compare prices on black sweaters from a wide array of retailers aggregated by TheFind. They could also discover places to buy their chosen product locally if they want it immediately.

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The 5 Most Profitable Industries in the U.S.

Gaudy revenue figures may get a business a lot of attention, but profits are where companies live and die.

As a part of Inc.‘s annual look at the best industries for starting a business, we decided to highlight the niche sectors that may not make as many headlines based on revenue, but that have higher-than-usual profit margins.

The selections come from IBISWorld’s exhaustive list of U.S. sectors, which looks at everything from projected revenue growth to labor requirements. Here are the five best industries for starting a business in the U.S. based on profit margin.

Note: Because of high barriers to entry, the following industries were excluded from the below list: high frequency trading, private equity and hedge funds, trusts and estates, and oil pipeline transportation. 

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The 3 Reasons Most People Fall Short at Entrepreneurship

Winning the Day Starts With Winning the Morning

Being a former professional athlete, one of the hardest things I have ever had to do didn’t involve blocking, tackling or going through the dreadful dog days of training camp. It was becoming a successful entrepreneur.

That might come as a shock, as you would expect having a 300-hundred-pound, angry, big and very agile offensive lineman trying to take your head off every single play would be difficult on you. Of course, football, and most sports for that matter, weed out the weak, undetermined and those who have no discipline at all. However, in my eyes, entrepreneurship is the true test of mental strength, guts and courage.

A great majority of entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners fail. We have been hearing that for a while now, and if it isn’t some news source or latest research telling us how hard it is to make it in entrepreneurship — family members and friends are sure to give you their input on how you are out of your mind for even contemplating bringing an idea of yours into the marketplace.

Why is it that most entrepreneurs fall short, or even worse, never even get off the ground? I had the wonderful privilege to chat with entrepreneur, New York Times-bestselling author and mega hustler Gary Vaynerchuk this week to find out what you can do to not fall into the very crowded space of wannapreneurs.

Here are three reasons as to why most entrepreneurs fall short.

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