Borderfree provides tools to help move e-commerce to its next phase: going global. Read on!
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to you a little bit as well as all your different e-commerce-related experience so we can set the context for the conversation.
Brian Dhatt: I’m the CTO at Borderfree. That means I’m responsible for our product and product strategy. We are based in New York City and we have offices around the world in Dublin, Ireland as well as in Tel Aviv, Israel. From a path perspective, I came from Gilt Groupe. I led product, engineering, and creatives for Gilt City.
Prior to that, I co-founded POPSUGAR, which is a content commerce company based in San Francisco. We founded that back in 2006 and we were Sequoia-funded.
Sramana Mitra: You’ve been involved in building e-commerce systems for about 10 years?
Brian Dhatt: Even a little bit longer, actually. I moved out to San Francisco in 1999. My first stint at e-commerce was with a little store called PetStore.com. Back in the dot-com bubble days, it was a little startup that was selling pet food and pet supplies online for very low prices. I helped build that as part of a consultancy that I was with at that time. It was my first taste of e-commerce. From there, I ended up building systems. Ultimately after five years, I ended up at Best Buy.
Sramana Mitra: That’s a very interesting perspective on e-commerce over the last couple of decades. Why don’t we start with your synthesis of what has changed. What are the key changes that you have seen?
Brian Dhatt: When I first got started at e-commerce, the tech behind building a web store was hard. Back in 1999, there were a few big platforms available but you ended up doing a lot of customization and a lot of heavy lifting to get to something that you can launch and reliably sell products on. In the early 2000, we focused a lot on that core e-commerce experience and trying to build stable and scalable platforms to serve domestic e-commerce market. After a while, there have been more and more development. You have seen Magento and other companies coming into the space, which have really made it ‘cookie-cutter-easy’ to get an excellent presence up and running.
The shift then moved over to marketing where you started to see a lot of providers. There are other marketing vendors who are helping derive sales. The focus shifted from technology, which was just to get the platform up and running, to more about deriving demand. We’re seeing, as of late, a lot more focus on expanding the addressable market entirely and driving demand globally. We believe that there’s a next phase for where e-commerce should go and that’s global. It’s a difficult problem. That’s where we expect the next set of barriers to really expand.