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One-on-One with Mojo Marketplace Co-Founder J.R. Farr: Part 1

Posted on by in Interviews

If you haven’t already heard, Mojo Marketplace is now in beta. The site bills itself as the “world’s easiest one-click web marketplace” and it’s easy to see why. Mojo Marketplace brings buyers and sellers together and offers up themes, templates, logos, graphics, plugins, and extensions in a unique one-stop shop.

Co-founding Mojo Marketplace was J.R. Farr, who has been involved in other Mojo-branded sites like Mojo Themes and Mojo Code. WPHub sat down with Farr for a four-part interview series focusing on the ins and outs of building what is sure to be a major hit. Here’s Part 1.

WPHub: Talk about the various websites you worked with prior to co-founding Mojo Marketplace.

jr farr mojo themesJ.R.: I am one of the two founders of Mojo Marketplace. Previously, we launched Mojo Themes, which was for theme templates. We wanted a big platform that was different than just selling themes. We wanted a place where designers and sellers could sell their work, so we launched a marketplace concept in 2009. We launched Mojo Code in 2011 and got acquired by a company called EIG in December 2012.

We have now joined EIG and are just about to launch Mojo Marketplace out of beta. EIG owns a lot of the biggest web hosting companies in the world. They wanted to buy the marketplace, take the team, and do what the iPhone did with the App Store. EIG wanted to do that for their large hosting account subscriber base, so we will have a very substantial customer base to start with.

Additionally, we have teamed up with SimpleScripts, which is a one-click installer, and are using their functionality in the marketplace. You can click from your hosting panel and automatically log into the marketplace. We’ll have all of your information and you can one-click install WordPress. When you’re done, you can shop the marketplace and install themes, plugins, logos, and graphics.

We have actually hired a bunch of new guys with the integration with EIG. There are about 15 or 20 of us in the company right now.

WPHub: Speaking of the company, can you talk about what your workers do, where they are located, and how Mojo is set up?

J.R.: We are originally from Salt Lake City, so they kept us all here. We have an office space built out. Even with EIG being such a big corporation, they wanted to keep the startup feel with our company. We have a really cool office with a ping pong table, an Xbox, and a foosball table. We have operations and support people, development people, and product managers. Brady (the other founder) and I oversee everything. We make sure that the other sites are continuing to grow and that we successfully complete the integration of Mojo Marketplace.

It’s interesting too because we’ve kept that startup feel. For example, on the new marketplace, I did all of the design work. Also, I did all of the copyrighting. Brady does a lot of the front end and development stuff. Everything is done in-house.

WPHub: What have been some of the key obstacles for Mojo to overcome over the years?

J.R.: It’s hard to start a marketplace. We have seen people try to do it. You have to have advertising going and have sellers motivated to list their products. It has been a bit easier this time around because everyone knows who we are. For example, we are the featured marketplace on WordPress.org. We have a lot of momentum right now and people are motivated to upload their themes and products to our site. A marketplace is one of the hardest types of businesses to create. You have to make sure your platform works for both buyers and sellers.

WPHub: Next week, we’ll talk about J.R.’s background. Spoiler alert: J.R. and Brady have known each other since they were kids and Brady once studied Arabic. How did that background lead the pair to Mojo Marketplace? Stay tuned to find out.

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