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Smileo product development – on the importance of process

Oh hey, I’m Ēriks – Brand Design Manager here at Ecartic. Don’t get too caught up on the title – “I like making things” or “I tell stories through multimedia” are still the best descriptions I’ve been able to come up with over the years. What gets me out of bed in the morning is thinking how to best communicate what my talented colleagues have to offer with our brands. Super excited to meet you!

This is the first part of story of the project internally dubbed Smileo 2.0 – a look behind the scenes of what actually happened when we set off on the journey to enter the world of selling physical direct-to-consumer eCommerce products, found some success and recently made the investment in design & brand building to take it to the next level. All done in a startup environment with a Design Department of one, support of our amazing team and network of outsourced talent. Even though this will cover selling a physical product, most of the processes and ideas are universally applicable.

 

Project scope

In 2 months we updated the Smileo brand based on learnings from our initial MVPs and market testing, did a complete redesign of our webstore and refocused our attention on brand communication through copy and imaging on social media & advertising.

In line with the business development plans after initial MVPs, we saw that an updated design language could be an essential tool unlock real-world results beyond just a cosmetic change.

 

Our goals for the Smileo brand update

Part one – the intersection of design and business

The first part of the journey might not be the most flashy one, but it sure as hell is the most crucial one if you ever want to stand a chance in creating & testing a product from scratch, especially if you don’t plan to rely purely on chance when making your investments and are looking for some practical method in how to think about the process as a whole.

Even seemingly simple eCommerce products and services involve an endless stream of daily decisions, and that is why we will be focused on process and decision making logic today. There’s ways we’ve managed to make sense of a wholly messy process of bringing something new into the world and making sure that it’s a sustainable business at the end of the day. This is the backbone of building any product. The flashy visuals will come later in the blog series, I promise!

Who is Ecartic?

Before we get into the nitty gritty, here’s some context. I believe our CEO Miko explains it best:

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

Miko has written a bit more about our business model and the potential of a new type of venture hub – marketing agency. For me as a Designer on the production end it boils down to this – we work with many different brands and we’ve had our fair share of bruises and we continue to learn every day. Our expertise is marketing – we think of it in terms of connecting the right audience to the right product to improve their lives. Since we cover a lot of bases daily, we’re on a constant lookout for the most time-efficient ways to deliver good content and design to the right audiences across our brands. And in my humble opinion, Smileo currently represents one of the most lean and efficient ways to do just that. OK, grab some coffee and let’s get busy!

 

Who is Smileo?

Smileo is our venture into direct-to-consumer eCommerce. It’s an oral beauty brand offering a new way to whiten teeth from the comfort of your home with a rechargeable device. Since its inception we’ve also had a look at how to expand what we offer and have ventured into different whitening solutions as well as health and beauty – we’re on a mission to make the world a happier place one smile at a time! Currently our aim is to expand our product line and become the place on top of customers’ minds for taking care of first impressions – having a bright smile and taking care of your face and lips.

Other than that, it is the brainchild of Ecartic. It is the platform we use to understand the ins and outs of managing manufacture and distribution, marketing, sales and delivery of a physical product & test our ideas out there in the real world. We believe that we must have previous experience with all of this to be able to serve our partners best and really understand the challenges one faces when setting up an eCommerce business – to provide the best marketing experience, we must be a part of the eCommerce tribe.

How Ecartic treats product research

If you’re planning to sell anything online, it helps to have the right mindset. While you might be sure you have the greatest ideas (and I believe you do!), there needs to be a way to test them out there in the real world.

I wish I had an universal recipe for all products under the sun in this Medium post & preferably put it in some bite-sized list named “X ways to sell like crazy” but you and I know that it’s just not possible. This is where The Lean Startup by Eric Ries comes in – it’s pretty much the closest thing to it, as it sets out the general approach of thinking of these things in contrast to traditional corporate business. It turns some traditional ways of business on it’s head – instead of doing abstract market research, we’re essentially going to market ASAP and learning from observing what the market thinks of the thing we’ve made. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, you’re probably already following the logic without being aware of it – Eric provides some more structure on how to think about it in a more organised, repeatable way.

“We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”
― Eric Ries, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

If I had to boil it down to a super condensed paragraph on mindset, it’s this – think of your business or product as an experiment. What you have control over is your assumptions & having some form to test them once you put something out. In practical design terms, it means you’re definitely better off working with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – figure out the most cost effective way to produce the most stripped-down version of your product, sell it through the most basic website possible and keep the identity work to the bare minimum.

“As you consider building your own minimum viable product, let this simple rule suffice: remove any feature, process, or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning you seek.”
― Eric Ries, The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

What you really should focus at this stage is gathering as much learning through data as possible – set up all possible tracking on your website ranging from data on UX (Hotjar) to marketing insights (Facebook, Google pixel) and social media insights (Facebook Ads Manager, testing and monitoring organic social posts), email tests (testing funnels, storytelling that your customers care about). In advertising, set up as many A/B tests as possible – in this stage your focus is not so much profit as finding out what your potential customers react to and pinpointing as many potential audiences and markets as possible. Congratulations – you’re now a marketing scientist putting content out there, and looking for blips of customer reaction on your radar.

I already feel an army of Designers cringing at the idea of not polishing everything to perfection and having well-developed identity designed based on a super concrete target audience, but in our experience the reality is this – a certain percentage of people are first movers and they care purely about the product/service you offer without paying much attention to the bells and whistles

If you fail to deliver the right value to the right people, the market will instantly punish you, and it’s better to fail on a small scale and use this as a springboard to learn and improve before fully committing. In fact, if you look at the Design Thinking process it’s a chance to test your assumptions through a very quick round of the core stages:

Emphatize

Guestimate your potential client, think about their needs and interests – work on personas

Define

What problem are you solving for your client? Does the audience even realise that this problem exists?

Ideate

Is your solution unique and beneficial enough for your customers to care?

Prototype

Invest time in working with your MVP – aim to make it as “real” as possible with minimum investment

Test

Set your MVP out in the world and gather data on it’s performance. Tweak and learn

So you can in fact think of this awkward minimum-design stage as the first round of Design Thinking providing super valuable insight to really nail down the perfection when (and if) the time is right. There is no worse feeling than pouring your soul and hours into a project that ultimately gets cancelled. This is a safety pillow making sure your time and creative energy is spent wisely. So take a deep breath and push that publish button.

Nothing is guaranteed

Just wanted to highlight the obvious – in business as in life, nothing is guaranteed. At eCartic, we routinely kill ideas and products if they do not provide value for the target audience or make drastic pivot decisions based on what we’ve learned. You have to be able to face the music and not get too attached to an idea if the world does not seem to care. Sure – skilled marketers can in fact wield a lot of influence with the appropriate budget, but then the question is if the marketing spend will really pay off at the end of the day. Don’t take it personally – an experiment can fail, but that does not mean that there’s no learning behind it. And that is why setting up MVPs and failing fast is the way to go.

Smileo – birth of the idea and growth pre-2021

We practice what we preach. In fact, all of our products go through the MVP stage at least 2 times before we decide to pull the trigger and focus all our attention and resources on them, and Smileo is no exception.

First MVP round – checking market pulse

1st round is usually the realm of Tuomas – our Advisory Board Member and Business Developer and dedicated expert on “what’s hot in online products” or anyone with a bright idea, really. In the case of Smileo, we noticed a market trend of a new type of at-home teeth whitening using a gel and a dedicated device to activate it with blue light. It offered a new, different alternative to traditional dentist whitening and other whitening like charcoal or strips. So the first MVP round was ultra simple – track down a manufacturer offering a similar device and set up a bare bones Shopify store filled with some photos taken on a smartphone and some basic copy text explaining what the device does. Ads were run on select European markets, where alternatives hadn’t caught on. And voila! The initial testing proved that we can in fact gather sales with largely unbranded products, meaning we have potential to solve real problems that real customers care about in the markets we’re targeting.

Second MVP round – scaling & testing hypothesis

This was the to connect the team into making of the previous version of the Smileo web store – essentially we took the little learning we had previously and went through another iteration and started testing some assumptions of what the brand could be, delve deeper on defining some potential audiences and ways to approach them, started setting up collaborations with influencers and setting up a sizeable presence on social media. This was the time when the Smileo brand took shape as we have known it till 2021. We made a simple WordPress template site and started testing some of our assumptions at the time:

    • Smileo is a global dental brand. We want to look up to big dental companies like Collgate, Sensodyne and the like in our branding to encourage trust. Similarly, we see this as a mass-market product and we want to position ourselves as teeth whitening experts and offer a range of whitening products along with our main teeth whitening device.
    • Along with the same logic, we want to use online marketing & some traditional marketing channels like billboards to raise brand awareness, along with marketing activities like handing out leaflets and samples, local celebrity endorsements etc. similar to what established in-store brands do and redirect them to our webstore as the most convenient way of buying the product.
    • All content localised to generate maximum value and relevance to country-specific markets.

These were the core assumptions that were guiding our branding and marketing efforts. Out of that, more specific and granular ideas were born (e.g. social media strategies, what type of gender mix to include in our influencer outreach, what should be the main topics in our content etc.) – this also reflected in the brand image we aimed to put out with our website and products. So in that sense, the brand treatment was pretty traditional for a dental brand – a simple logo lockup with a brand slogan and a swoosh implying a smile. A simple brand fit to end up next to your favorite toothpaste in the convenience store aisle, having some sense of dental seriousness & trust, made to appeal to a wide audience and focus on the benefits of the product range in communication – we provide a bright smile from the convenience of your home.

Be open to constant learning – where Smileo is going in 2021 and how that impacts our branding and communication

So by now we’ve put a brand out in the world and scaled it with some success. We’ve seen steady growth in our sales numbers as we edge closer and closer to understanding where to best reach our customers and what kind of advertising/organic content mix they react to best. However, we’ve also had a chance to sit down and look at our previous assumptions, how much we’ve spent across channels and how to improve. And yes – we’ve made some mistakes along the way. Everything is an experiment and nothing is guaranteed, remember? Here’s how we changed our mind on our core assumptions and pivoted Smileo in the beginning of 2021:

Smileo is a European beauty & lifestyle brand.

With many whitening products on our portfolio, we found it increasingly difficult to explain to customers why they should choose one solution over another. And we think this ultimately took the attention away from our main Teeth Whitening Kit offer and hurt its sales.

Similarly, we noticed that in fact our main target audience are women and we seem to get the best results with marketing that is less focused on teeth & oral hygiene and more geared towards looking good in general. It makes some sense – people looking to whiten teeth most likely want to look their best. As we have gotten to know our customers more, and we plan to fully lean into it – Smileo will become a part of your self-care and makeup routine. People spend a lot of time taking care of their face and we plan to offer beauty solutions for arguably the most visible part of it – your smile! We will focus on where we can provide value in the new story and will be releasing products for lip care as well.

Smileo is focused on online marketing

In contrast to what we expected, people are actually very willing to buy an oral beauty product without seeing it at a store. Of course, it’s pretty hard to measure the impact of traditional channels we’ve used in terms of brand building, but the physical billboards and posters have had little impact on our sales campaigns (we’ve used discount codes to gain more insight into this). Similarly, we’ve decided to pretty much cancel physical leaflets etc. because of the lack of foot traffic in the COVID era as well as to gain extra time to produce quality online content, which has proved to be more efficient.

People are more thirsty for authenticity than ever, which has thrown the celebrity/big influencer endorsement approach out the window. Moving forward, we’ll be more focused on micro influencers with strong audience engagement and will focus more on social proof in new content avenues like youtube reviews, instagram reels & stories as well as the infamous TikTok which is seeing a sharp spike in engaged users. That will come with it’s own challenges, as brands are still figuring out how to enter this space in a way that adds value.

Threading carefully with localised content moving forward

Localising content has taught us some hard lessons as well. Of course, in the perfect world everything would be localised. That being said, even the limited amount of markets we’ve been targeting with our MVP has provided us with with tough lessons. We’ve done A/B tests with localised and English advertisements as well as had to face the everyday reality of managing the whole localization process and costs in time and money. There is no universal, clear-cut approach to this matter. Think of this as a game of snakes and ladders – is the time and cost worth it, compared to the potential increase in sales?

In fact, we see markets reacting differently and we will have to really see big upsides to warrant doing all website content, advertising and social media in the local language. The future will show which countries specifically, and we might even arrive at some half-localised scenarios like localized advertisement —> english website and similar, but as everything is an ongoing experiment, we will have to set up A/B tests to see how much this kind of approach will impact customer experience and conversion.

A product is never done

As much as we would like to hang our hats and call it a day at this stage, the reality is that this is a never ending cycle of product development – these are the things we consider to be true at this stage of the product life cycle. The good news is that if you apply the experiment mentality,, this knowledge feeds into other ventures – in our case, we constantly work on ways of how to use what we’ve learned across other companies within eCartic as well as client work.

 

Coming next – how we took these learnings and applied them to change our brand identity & communication 🤔

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BlufVPN partners up with world’s biggest affiliate network CJ

Disruptive new online privacy operator BlufVPN has partnered with CJ.com in a move which gives the brand global reach in the digital marketing space. CJ.com is the world’s largest affiliate network and part of Publicis Media Group. 

Sami Koponen, managing director, BlufVPN said: “Digital performance based marketing forms the bulk of our marketing mix and gives us the ability to make data-driven decisions when scaling our efforts. For a brand with global ambitions it was imperative that we find a partner who is reliable and reputable. From the very first conversation, we felt that CJ could provide that publisher network with intelligent and scalable solutions. I’m looking forward to a fruitful partnership.”

BlufVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service provider. BlufVPN provides secure and private internet connection for its users. The company was founded in May 2020 and is based in Tallinn, Estonia.

CJ is the the world’s largest affiliate network founded in Santa Barbara, California in 1998. Located across 14 offices worldwide delivering innovative solutions and strategies designed to drive results.

BlufVPN is part of Ecartic’s network of companies. Ecartic is a venture hub with a unique approach in launching and scaling disruptive digital businesses. For more information www.ecartic.com

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BlufVPN awarded at National Advertising awards.

BlufVPN has won a Silver award in the category for Design & Branding at the National Advertising Awards of Estonia (Kuld Muna ’21).

BlufVPN commissioned Tabasco Agency to redesign its corporate branding in order to achieve better positioning in the competitive VPN market and to resonate with the user demographic through relevant storytelling.

Sami Koponen, Managing Director, BlufVPN OÜ said: “We felt that the online privacy space is dominated by generic brands with little imagination in their branding. We wanted to bring real depth into the communication of different scenarios where using BlufVPN is relevant. Through the power of storytelling via different characters, which can be localized for relevance, we feel excited about the future. Tabasco is a great partner to work with and they have met our expectations fully.”

BlufVPN is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service provider. BlufVPN provides secure and private internet connection for its users. The company was founded in May 2020 and is based in Tallinn, Estonia.

For more information sami@blufvpn.com
www.blufvpn.com

BlufVPN is part of the Ecartic network. Ecartic is a venture hub and growth machine for disruptive digital products. For more information www.ecartic.com

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Ecartic secures investment

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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sharpened focus

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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