Adam Gauvin, Wikibuy’s Co-CEO and vice president of product at Capital One and
Walt Roloson, Co-CEO and vice president of business at Capital One

Austin has become an eCommerce hub.

And that’s thanks, in part, to homegrown startups like Wikibuy, which was acquired by Capital One for an undisclosed sum in November of 2018.

Other major Austin players in the eCommerce industry include RetailMeNot, Bazaarvoice, BigCommerce, Dosh, Convey, H-E-B Digital, Black Locus/Home Depot, and Favor.

And Austin is also home to Walmart’s Digital Innovation Center downtown and Amazon’s major hub in the Domain.

Austin’s technology industry is attracting major retail players and nurturing home-grown startups.

“Becoming part of Capital One was beyond our dreams,” said Adam Gauvin, Wikibuy’s Co-CEO and vice president of product at Capital One.

“We had a lot of interest from a lot of players,” he said. “Capital One was someone we knew, and they were like-minded.”

Capital One Financial Corp., based in McLean, Virginia, is one of the nation’s top 10 largest banks. It’s known for its Capital One credit card with the slogan “what’s in your wallet?” and famous spokespersons like Taylor Swift and Jennifer Garner. Capital One also operates two Capital One Cafes in Austin which allow people to grab a coffee and work remotely.

Since its acquisition, Capital One has provided investment and allowed the company the freedom to explore new areas, Gauvin said. And Wikibuy has grown dramatically, he said. Wikibuy has gone from 19 employees to 30 employees in Austin and 75 employees nationally, he said. The site has grown from one million users to three million users, he said.  And Wikibuy is serving more than 30,000 e-commerce sites and it’s growing, he said.

And both Gauvin and Walt Roloson, Co-CEO and vice president of business at Capital One, are still running the company from Austin. They met with media at the Hotel Van Zandt for a briefing on their business Wednesday morning.

Wikibuy started out as a comparison-shopping engine. A shopper would search for a product and Wikibuy would offer up the best price. It still does that, but it also has a browser attachment now that can automatically apply coupons to purchases and offer cash-back rebates to shoppers.

Wikibuy competes with sites like Austin-based RetailMeNot, Austin-based Dosh and Rakuten, formerly eBates, with its North American headquarters based in San Mateo, Calif.

E-Commerce overall is booming as more consumers turn to the Internet to make purchases.

Holiday retail sales hit $730.2 billion in 2019, up 4.1 percent, compared to the same time a year earlier, according to the National Retail Federation. Online and other non-stores sales made up $167.8 billion of that amount, up nearly 15 percent from a year earlier.

Another trend is mobile shopping is growing 20 percent to 30 percent a year, Gauvin said.

Wikibuy plans to grow steadily from Austin as online shopping becomes an even bigger part of the overall retail industry, Gauvin said.

“We’ve had pretty steady success,” he said. “Our hope is we continue to make a bigger dent in the marketplace.”