BlueSnap expands to the US to give ecommerce a global touch

By Richard Nieva , written on March 4, 2013

From The News Desk

The online payments space isn’t necessarily crowded, but it’s certainly got its usual suspects – from stalwarts like eBay's PayPal to newcomer darlings like Stripe. Here comes another one: BlueSnap, originally hailing from Israel.

The company, formerly known as Plimus, today officially announced its rebranding and expansion into the United States, with headquarters in Silicon Valley and Boston. Its new logo says “Powered Buy BlueSnap.” (Get it?!) In 2011, the Boston-based private equity firm Great Hill Partners bought the company for $115 million.

BlueSnap takes care of the payment operations for online merchants selling physical goods like clothes and shoes, and digital content like music and games. The sweet spot, chief executive Ralph Dangelmaier says, is the company’s global touch: a product available on a checkout service powered by/buy BlueSnap is available in 145 countries.

The company also says it makes it easy for merchants to choose a “buy now” model (like when you buy a song on iTunes) or shopping cart model (like buying on Amazon). It also handles subscription billing and lets merchants offer deals and promotions at checkout.

BlueSnap’s international scale might be its best asset. Dangelmaier says being based abroad has forced the company to build certain things into its operations that would be secondary to small US companies. For example, dealing in Europe made the company think closely about translating services to different languages.

The company also had to deal early on with accepting different currencies. Say an online gamer in Russia needs to convert a ruble into the local currency of the website he’s using. “You have to have that in your DNA,” says Dangelmaier. The company says it has over 5,000 customers, including Israel’s MyHeritage. Dangelmaier also attributes much of the company's success to the talent pool around Tel Aviv, which he boasts is as innovative as Silicon Valley.

At least on a surface level, BlueSnap is executing its expansion almost from the opposite end as Stripe – an American payments company that last week expanded into the United Kingdom with a closed beta version of its product. (Of course, that company has some international savvy of its own. Co-founders and brothers Patrick and John Collison grew up in Ireland, and they say a third of their 45-person company was born outside the US.)

Stripe has certainly been buzzy in the Valley because of its focus on developers, while BlueSnap focuses more generally. The company has an impressive international foundation, but it will have to crack the US market. It’s already been at work drumming up stateside business since its private equity buyout, but Dangelmaier declined to name any notable new US-based customers.

Is it too dramatic to say the winner gets world domination?

[Image courtesy Send me adrift.]