If someday you were using CRE Loaded eCommerce system, then you may wonder: Why such a great product gradually lost its zeal?...
We’ve contacted Salvatore Iozzia, the founder of CRE Loaded in the past and now the founder of a new eCommerce startup called Loaded Commerce. He is an experienced web entrepreneur and we believe our readers will enjoy his story how it got started, what challenges he met on his way and what are his plans for the nearest future.
I have been with the Open Source eCommerce movement from the beginning being an early supporter of osCommerce, before it was called osCommerce. I was the initial sponsor of Zen Cart, helped fund their lead developer Ian Wilson with money and project work. CRE Loaded was surprise success and I believe paved the way for other more notable eCommerce projects. In 2008 I raised VC money to expand and grow the company.
This did not go well. I lost control to the board and CEO, and they did not understand the market or open source. In the end the brand was so damaged by their actions that the companies only hope was to create solutions with partners that the VC had contacts with. Thus we created CRE Secure - a PCI Compliance product. After a few years CRE sold off all its assets and I was able to buy the shopping cart back and start over. During the whole debacle with the CRE I worked hard to be a friend and a good partner with the investors. Even though things where going badly, I wanted the investment community to know I was not an erratic founder. In the end the bad CEO(s) was(were) removed and I gained more trust, and control was given to me. But it was too late for CRE Loaded.
Back in April I was able to raise 390k in seed investment, one of the investors invested in CRE Secure. And now we are raising our next round of funding and again more early Angels from 2008 are stepping forward to re-invest in the vision.
I was able to secure my original dev team what worked with me on CRE Loaded and CRE Secure. Also my Support and QA team. We have started to see our independent solution developers return with the announcement of Loaded 7.
Loaded 7 is going to be amazing. I have posted several entries about the product here at www.loaded7.com/
I will be adding a post about the Embedded Add-On store this week. Thanks again for this opportunity to tell my story a bit, and give the market some clarity about what happened and how things shaped up for CRE Loaded, now Loaded Commerce.
The first sites I built where based on MS front page and custom Access databases. Then I learned about PHP from a developer I worked with. Then I learned about Open Source and in 2000 found The Exchange Project (just after they released their admin side). This project later changed it's name to osCommerce.
I found that by helping others on the osCommerce forums I could establish a reputation and build my hosting and design business. It was not long before I focused solely on web design, then on osCommerce sites.
I found that of all the types of sites, eCommerce sites had merchants willing to pay for them. So we focused on meeting their needs and specializing on eCommerce.
The best revenge is success.
In the end I have been able to start over. With the help of a few original angel investors. That would not have worked with me again if I acted too much in my own self interest. My hope is that when I am a multimillionaire, and Loaded is a billion dollar company, they will feel like the dork who sold his founding shares in Facebook or Apple for 800 bucks.
Find a problem and solve it.
Loaded 7 is the next major release of Loaded Commerce. It is a new shopping cart application that is based on OSC 3.a5 (alpha 5). We forked the code from there began working towards a new platform design with some unique capabilities. Firstly it will be mobile responsive out of the box. The default template includes all the JS logic to make it easy to make mobile responsive templates. Every interior page layout, product listing, product detail, the shopping cart, and the entire checkout process page set, is itself responsive. So all template makers need to do is make the template wrapper responsive. Also the admin is 100% responsive. Besides, we will deliver updates direct to installed carts and merchants can install them with one click in the admin.
The core updater also comes with a full file backup, so you can roll back if the update produces undesired results. That is corporate speak for "If the update jacks up your site, you can restore it." Also the most important part of Loaded 7 will be the realization of a completely admin embedded Add-on store and marketplace.
Merchants will be able to search, browse and install add-ons from inside their admin, and even purchase commercial add-ons as well without leaving their admin. We will also be building into our add-on store reseller discounts for web masters that reseller the pro cart, they can also get discounts on add-on bundles so they can mark up their own Loaded packages of add-ons that suit their merchants needs.
Loaded will have strong social tools built into it. The ability to tweet or post to your Facebook Page wall from inside your admin, and to allow Facebook login for customers. However we cannot rely on Facebook and Twitter which clearly make changes without considering businesses, like Facebook's devastating changes to their Pages with the all consuming timeline. We have to create our own social experiences right on our own sites. We need to give merchants social tools so that social experiences can be made and managed right on the merchants own eCommerce platform.
Invest in people. People are more important than money.
In the afternoon I am on calls with partners and vendors. Every week I now do a live stream where I allow anyone to watch me work on the product interfaces. Viewers can chat with me and ask me questions about the product and share their real life use cases and make recommendations for what the product should do. It is truly amazing how effective this is, I am a ham so I love putting on the show, and I am a workaholic, so I love the fact that the show is actual work getting done. We do the start the live stream at 10am after feedback from our UK merchant that any later is too late for them. Especially since the sessions typical run for 3 to 4 hours long.
P.S. Thanks for taking the time to interview me. I hope to continue to be making news as we bring Loaded 7 to market. You can learn more at loaded7.com and download it for free.
So, this is what Salvatore wanted to tell everyone about what has happened to CRE Loaded and how things are going with his new startup - Loaded 7. Anyways, if you feel that you want to know more, as always, express yourself and ask questions in the comments.
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