WooThemes co-founder Adii Pienaar invests in Obox, comes onboard as team advisor

Obox site

Co-founder and ex-CEO of WooThemes Adii Pienaar has joined Obox Themes as an investor and advisor, a fellow Cape Town, South African-based web agency and competitor.

Founded by David and Marc Perel in 2005, Obox Themes has just launched a new product called Layers — a WordPress plug-in that enables users to create a website within minutes, with an easy point-and-click interface. The free tool is said to have achieved impressive popularity around the globe since it launched, resulting in over 50 000 visits to the new site and over 15 000 downloads.

“David and Marc are two of the hardest working entrepreneurs I know and are fanatical about product excellence. For years, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to collaborate with them (to the extent of exploring an acquisition of Obox whilst at WooThemes), but the timing was always off. Now I’m excited to join Obox for the upcoming chapters of their journey, which I believe has huge potential,” Pienaar said in a press statement.

Pienaar is one of the brains behind WooThemes, one of South Africa’s most talked about startup success stories. He started the business in 2008 along with Magnus Jepson and Mark Forrester. The WordPress theme builder is today one of the world’s most competitive plugins, going up against the likes of ThemeForest, Elegant Themes, Theme Junkie, Theme Fusion, Obox Themes and so on. In 2013, Pienaar stepped down as WooThemes CEO.

Over the last few years, however, WooThemes has redirected its focus to its ecommerce plugin WooCommerce, becoming the world’s most popular online shop builder last year. The company also recently invested in Graphflow, an online recommendations engine achieving a lot of traction, to strengthen its role as a strong competitor in this field.

Read more: Triumph for WooCommerce as it becomes world’s most popular online shopping tool

“To have one of the founders of not only WooThemes but the entire premium theme industry onboard is an incredible feat for Obox. In the short time that he’s been directly involved we’ve already seen a massive contribution being made,” said Obox CEO and co-founder David Perel.

Adii Pienaar

Over the past year, Pienaar has been working on his latest product Receiptful — another ecommerce tool for online receipts.

In a post about what SA entrepreneurs should be focusing on, Pienaar invited companies to pitch, saying that he’s keen to invest up to R100 000 in any startup that meets his criteria.

The amount invested in Obox is undisclosed, though according to PostStatus, Pienaar now owns 30% of the company. The article also claims that the investment gives Obox a valuation “in the millions of dollars, ‘but less than US$10-million.'”

Read more: Obox launches SalesGenius, a sales tracking web app

Obox recently announced the acquisition Cape Town-based digital agency Calyx, headed by Sean Park-Ross and Stuart O’Brien, to complement their staff numbers and help to grow the Layers product.

Jacques Coetzee: Staff Reporter


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