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Ecartic completes Series A funding round for online privacy product BlufVPN®

Venture hub Ecartic has completed its Series A funding round for group venture BlufVPN® by raising a significant amount of capital and bringing in seasoned investors from fintech and digital consumer businesses to give it strategic edge in it’s growth phase. 

BlufVPN® will introduce the virtual private network product to several key European and Latin American markets in the upcoming months after its recent completion of a brand and user interface overhaul. With an ever-growing awareness of the need for consumer online privacy, BlufVPN® aims to be the number one online privacy product in Europe by 2025. 

Miko Salo, CEO at Ecartic, said: “We know how competitive the virtual private network market is these days. However, with a clear positioning and relevant product offering, we see tremendous potential in BlufVPN attacking the growth in key markets around the world, not just in the VPN sector but in online privacy as a whole. We are excited to bring on board such a super group of investors and look forward to the upcoming challenges.”

Sami Koponen, Managing Director at Bluf, said: “Consumers are increasingly aware of online privacy and as a result the market is burgeoning. The increasing number of news regarding data breaches, not to mention the ever-growing list of data brokers, has resulted in a heightened demand for VPNs. However, there is a lot more to the market than simply brute security and BlufVPN® brings more value to its users through upcoming product releases. The investment allows us to kick start our user acquisition in strategic markets by utilising Ecartic’s strong digital marketing expertise. ”

Ecartic is a venture hub based in Tallinn, Estonia, which owns and operates several ventures within the ecommerce and digital marketing industries. It’s backed by venture capital fund Yolo Investments. For more information: 

www.ecartic.com

www.blufvpn.com

www.yolo.io

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Ecartic – sharpened focus on value creation through new business building

Ecartic was born out of curiosity. This is of course one of the key characteristics of anyone with even an ounce of entrepreneurial blood flowing in their veins but in this instance it was a fairly typical case of constant exposure to certain types of social media advertising that led into the investigation of new product trends and their business potential.

The company was founded by two guys with a proven track record in online marketing – the understanding that at the end of the day, if you boil it down to the thick bisque of it, it’s all about monetising traffic in the right way. If the product/market fit is there, if the marketing communication is relevant and a decent media-mix is found..then with optimisation a good level of marketing efficiency can be reached and that equals profitable business (maybe).

And so the 1.0 version of Smileo was rolled out. This soon came with many needs and itches to scratch – An affiliate network was needed, proper tracking tools for CPA based advertising deals, product design, branding, media agencies, logistics, you name it. Basically the usual mess any company has to deal with in its infancy. More importantly, an idea was born – something which has taken over a year to go from fuzzy vision to a solid guiding principle for everything that the ecartic group of companies does.

We are a growth engine driving innovations from concept stage to maturity. Ideas that are created in dedicated business units which make it past the initial proof of concept phase are pushed through the funnel and become their own ventures, independent from the parent company, yet enjoying full support and service from it when needed. They get a product owner or managing director and a lean funding plan in order to validate the concept further and power them into a proper scale-up phase. 

At this point we might have failed or we might have secured some outside funding and brought in some suitable heavy-hitters. This is what we have now successfully done with our online privacy product BlufVPN. More exciting news on that to follow soon!

Our internal teams such as our ecommerce and acquisition teams provide services to our various ventures and they (in most cases) have clear synergies between each other. This is one of the guiding principles – we should be driving value from different parts of the value-chain by connecting these digital concepts. 

Since receiving significant funding from Yolo investments, we’ve been able to scale multiple projects simultaneously and adjust our approach in many cases. We are so happy to have a partner who sees value in our deep marketing expertise and who has so many complementary ventures within it’s portfolio which we will be able to find synergies with. It’s going to be a fun and wild ride..Hold on to your hats! 

I’m enjoying guiding us along the path of transformation from a motley crue with ideas to a group of companies with a clear vision, strategy and dedicated teams realising those dreams. We want to build a strong company culture and compete with the best employers out there in order to attract the right calibre of talent, continue to innovate and come up with disruptive concepts, invest into the right external ventures where we bring something special to the table and most importantly; make sure our customers find value in what we offer.

Stay tuned!

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eCartic receives significant investment from venture capital fund Yolo Investments.

Venture capital fund Yolo Investments has made a significant investment into digital marketing specialists and venture hub eCartic.

The Estonian-based investment is a global B2B partner for disruptive companies within the eCommerce value-chain. It successfully scales across a number of verticals, turning ideas into products by using its expertise in digital marketing and branding. It also builds and markets B2C products and services.

One such product, BlufVPN®️, is fast establishing itself as an innovative leader within the competitive virtual private network (VPN) market and is fast-tracked to become the number one online security product in Europe by 2025.

Tim Heath, GP at Yolo Investments, said: “We were hugely impressed by the level of digital marketing know-how in the eCartic team. This type of expertise is all-too-often the difference between success and failure when it comes to launching new products. Teaming up with eCartic via this strategic startup investment will not only help supercharge the company’s growth, but also adds great value to the Yolo ecosystem.”

Miko Salo, CEO at eCartic, said: “We knew that Yolo Investments would be the catalyst our ambitious plans needed from the very first conversation we had. The seven figure investment allows us to expedite the parallel scaling of multiple ventures, all of which provide synergies not only to each other but also support the existing Yolo ecosystem with clear added value. We look forward to creating a universe of opportunities together as eCartic and Yolo Investments.”

More information about eCartic can be found at e-cartic.com

More information about Yolo Investments can be found at yolo.io

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eCartic 2020 — Year in Numbers

We are certainly not the only ones to say — what a year 2020 was!? It feels like a breath of fresh air to welcome 2021 but looking back on the past 12 months, a lot of great things still happened and a selected few can be seen below.

Our year in numbers:

  • 7 new ventures launched
  • 8 new team members of 4 nationalities welcomed to different eCartic ventures
  • 153 days since we moved into a new office, out of which 61 we have worked from home
  • 14 team members today are working from home (the total of eCartic employees)
  • 250 morning team-briefing calls were made
  • 3 venture launches postponed
  • 2 new office dogs (aka eCartic happiness ambassadors) joined the team
  • 20 total number of dogs and cats in the eCartic team (no joke!)
  • Hundreds of Bolt food contactless meal deliveries (also an Estonian start-up and nowadays one of many local unicorn companies! We are following right behind you..)

Stay tuned, we have planned even more for 2021 🥳

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There’s no way to escape social media

The year 2020 has been, well, challenging to say the least. But not for social media! With all the working from home, the lockdowns and quarantines, social media is thriving in an all-time high demand.

As a venture hub and marketing agency, eCartic is keeping a close eye on the latest trends and novelties on social media. Without a doubt, social media plays a huge role in digital marketing activities and the brand’s reputation these days. Recent data shows that more than half of the world now uses social media with an average of 2 hours and 24 minutes per day switching between an average of 8 social networks and messaging apps.
Not only people have started to use social media more to keep in touch, to entertain themselves, but also to support their small businesses, because, let’s face it — if your business doesn’t exist on social media, how will people find you during a lockdown?
However, the situation has changed the content production too, now more than ever people are hungry for fresh fast-produced content, not to be confused with lesser quality, the visual look, as well as theme coherency, is still important.

With this intention, social media platforms have made it easy to generate engaging content fast, with little planning, and without involving a huge team of professionals, making it easy for individuals and small businesses. We’ve seen big and small companies live-stream events and conferences, roll out home-made advertising campaigns, use influencer generated content, and take the advantage of the ‘’here and now’’ that has never been as important as it is with our current situation.

It has been a great year for Tiktok; this generation-Z popular platform has doubled its downloads just over a year, becoming a close rival to Instagram, which fortunately hasn’t been sitting it out. Not only did Instagram quickly react to the popularity of Tiktok videos and rolled out its own version ‘’Reels”, but also launched ‘’Guides’’, re-shaped the home screen and shopping functionalities on the app. Not stopping there, they also broadened the promotion options and made it possible for brands to directly promote collaboration partner’s posts, which is great for increasing both brand awareness and sales.

It’s important to realize that also user behavior has changed during this oversaturated period of time — people aren’t as naive as they used to be and have learned to question the things seen and read online. Authenticity is key. People are looking to connect and to join online communities, they want to read about real experiences, real problems, and participate in problem solving to celebrate victories together — online. More and more influencers have started to talk about mental health issues, the pressure social media exerts on us (and especially young people), and even have started to share their real-life vs Instagram realities.

Notably, Influencer marketing as we knew it has changed too. Followers have started to pay attention to how many of the influencer posts are advertisements, forcing influencers to be more creative and to carefully consider the amount (and brands) they’re promoting on their feed.

In summary, the year 2020 has made it clear — social media is and will continue to be a powerful marketing tool that can’t be ignored. I’m excited to see what the next year will bring to us — social media marketers.

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BlufVPN — On the Road to Privacy

“BlufVPN™ currently provides VPN services for private individuals with a network of over 500 servers, 80 locations worldwide, and is available on 5 platforms. BlufVPN aims to be the #1 Online Privacy brand in Europe and to offer a full security suite for its customers.

The word “Bluf(f)” has many meanings. In poker a good player knows when to bluff at the right time, in the military (Bottom Line Up Front — bluf) it’s a communication acronym to enforce speed and clarity in reports and emails. For us, Bluf means more secure internet connections, access to unlimited content, cheaper traveling, and freedom of speech. Our vision is to build Europe’s #1 online privacy brand and do our part in securing your privacy online!

This all means that I’m more than excited to be part of the growing team of BlufVPN! We are currently operating on 5 different platforms with 500+ servers, in over 80 locations worldwide, offering connections using the latest tunneling protocols and zero-log policy. Gladly, this is still just the beginning of our journey to become a reckoned player in the industry! When speaking about privacy, for us transparency is a big part of it. That’s why we have chosen to operate from beautiful Estonia, land of unicorns, which was ranked #2 in the U.S think tank “Freedom House’s” global “Internet Freedom Index”*.

The year 2021 is just around the corner and working from home is becoming the new reality for many of us. This creates new kinds of challenges for both individuals and companies especially when it comes to online privacy. Working from a personal computer and accessing sensitive data of companies is a daydream to man-in-the-middle attacks and phishing attempts. I’m happy to let you know that the team has been working hard at Bluf to introduce new features during the next year, including our standalone enterprise VPN solution for businesses!

In the upcoming months, you will be able to follow the development of our product roadmap, industry news, and insights from the Bluf team on this forum, as we plan to use it on a regular basis. Please join in with the conversation, or drop me a line if you are interested in hearing more about BlufVPN. You can also find helpful information from our blog.

In the meantime, I welcome you to try out our recently launched products and hope that you will be patient if you come across some bugs or glitches.

App Store

Google Play

WebSite

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eCartic — A future proof venture hub & marketing agency

Stop the press! Gather the troops! There’s another digital marketing agency in town! I know what you are thinking but we are actually a lot more than that. The marketing agency part is there because over the years we’ve dealt with so many mediocre ones that it was just easier to build our own. In previous lives we were mostly employed in what you would call traditional marketing and product teams in some of the more successful corporations of the past decade. This is where we saw firsthand the disconnect and inefficiencies between people, functions and service providers and decided that there is a better way of doing business in 2020. And so eCartic was born.

And now we are starting to get closer to the essence of our very existence. eCartic is primarily a venture hub — we come up with concepts, turn them into awesome products and use our skills to sell them. We also invest into great ideas, ranging from global software products to wave-riding direct-to-consumer goods. We’re committed to launching new ventures and expanding into new territories at full throttle, as long as they sit at the intersection of strong market trends.

For example, our trademarked VPN brand BlufVPN is pretty relevant and cool for a software product. At BlufVPN we are on a mission to build Europe’s #1 household privacy service provider by building a reputable and recognisable brand. Our VPN product is only the beginning! Gain control over your privacy online at blufvpn.com

Our trademarked Oral Cosmetics brand Smileo is redefining direct-to-consumer oral cosmetic sales together with online influencers and other publishers. It’s a great exercise in taking control of most of the value-chain and keeping our staff busy with everything from package design to logistics to media buying and building a global network of dependable influencers. Get a brighter smile at smileo.com

We’re currently also building our own affiliate network called AdMammothwhich will not only allow us to monetize our in-house and partner brands in a super cost-efficient way but also grow a huge global network of publishers and advertisers. AdMammoth also doubles as a marketing tracking tool and allows you to only pay for results, handy especially for smaller advertisers with limited budgets. You can probably see the value in that. See how AdMammoth can help you reduce marketing spend and propel your sales at Admammoth.net

Since we are running multiple ventures where each has a different focus but also a lot of overlapping in terms of required specialist skills, we’ve also decided to build a great place to work here in Tallinn, Estonia. It’s a fun place to live and has the most Unicorns per capita in the world! Who would have thought? Maybe you’ve heard of companies such as Skype, TransferWise, Bolt, PipeDrive? Yeah, all founded in Tallinn. This means that there’s a relatively large pool of talent here when it comes to developers, marketing specialists and generally speaking, all things digital. Just don’t expect beach weather in November. If you are looking for a new adventure, check out workinestonia.com

So, because we have an in-house agency, we don’t have to necessarily use yours. That means cost-saving and also through the combined volumes of media buying, we actually get pretty good rates with our advertising partners. I’m sure you might have more of everything than us at the moment but that’s also fine. It’s good to be agile and forward thinking in the world we are living in!

For that very reason we also invest into great ideas. We’re a lead investor in a company developing live-streaming platforms and are looking into things like payment solutions. If you have a cool business and jumping into the deep end with us sounds like an interesting proposition; don’t hesitate to be in touch. Maybe coffee and a Zoom first, though.

We will be introducing the eCartic team, their ideas and our ventures in more detail over the coming months so take a peek every now and again to see what’s cooking..

e-cartic.com

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