Skip to main content

CloudCart: e-commerce meets banking

CloudCart focuses relentlessly on their customers’ success. At the heart of the one-stop shop e-commerce platform for SME merchants in Central and Eastern Europe is, first and foremost, strong commitment to growing their business.

  • By Maximilian Schausberger, Yuliya Kvetko
  • 4 min read

In Europe, cross-border expansion should be, in theory, easy for merchants but in reality it is not. With this deep understanding of daily operational needs and pain points of SMEs, CloudCart has created an ecosystem which makes selling online and cross-border easy.

Addressing the SME merchant needs

When we first met Nikolai Iliev, the founder and CEO of CloudCart, we found him — due to the Covid-19 restrictions — at a quite empty office but clearly branded with CloudCart logos and signs of many people’s hard work. The office space is dominated by large screens with tickers on the performance of the CloudCart platform. From his desk, Nik can observe at any time live updates on CloudCart’s daily performance, including real-time sales and customer success teams´ KPIs.

With strong conviction in his voice, Nik explained his vision for CloudCart:

Our goal is to enable SMEs to create online stores that make money for our clients. We offer a complete e-commerce ecosystem — from easy-to-use software for creating an e-store, including built-in design, SEO and marketing tools, to a connection to the most popular 3rd party services in each market.”

Nikolai Iliev, founder and CEO of CloudCart, in CloudCart’s office © Elevator Ventures

With CloudCart’s cloud-based SaaS platform, SME merchants can easily set-up and grow an online e-commerce store, even without extensive prior knowledge or experience. Moreover, the platform also includes free training and educational resources. The localized marketplace including 3rd party services (e.g. shipping, fulfilment, payment providers, digital agencies, ERP systems, accounting, etc.) covers practically all daily SME merchants’ needs.

The SME merchant ecosystem is what truly sets CloudCart apart from many other e-store software providers. Whether you want to advertise your products on Facebook or Google or optimize your search engine, add customer service chatbots or various modern payment methods — there are dozens of such services at your disposal, integrated directly into the platform of CloudCart. Furthermore, there is no need for specialized technical skills or resources to operate the tools.

Fostering SME digitization in CEE

The management team with deep sector expertise and highly relevant backgrounds in the areas of e-commerce, business development, and software development brought to the table by Nik and Peter Iliev (CTO) have enabled the great traction of CloudCart in its home market, Bulgaria. There, according to the founders, the company over the last three years achieved more than 3.5 million orders from the e-stores operating through the platform, over 34.5 million unique visitors, and a total of € 140 million turnover made by CloudCart’s merchants.

At Elevator Ventures, we are convinced that this is the right team to lead the expansion of the company further in Central and Eastern Europe and capture this attractive geo niche, which, despite an intensive competition, still lacks clear winners in the SaaS segment. The pandemic gave an unparalleled boost to the e-commerce market globally. As millions of customers continue to migrate away from physical stores towards online retailers, the digitalization of stores in CEE is similarly picking up. As shown below, in 2020 the annual e-commerce sales showed strong growth in this part of the world, with Romania, Ukraine, Estonia, Czechia and Bulgaria making the top 5.

Source: Statista, 2020, annual e-commerce growth rate in CEE

Taking the next steps together

We are delighted to support CloudCart on its journey to advance the SME e-commerce market in the CEE region, also leveraging the resources of our parent company, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). There are many exciting synergies to be mutually realized over the next couple of months, as CloudCart’s comprehensive SME digital offering is complementary to a bank’s offering. CloudCart has already entered the new markets in Greece and Romania in the second half of 2021 and is set to expand its presence in other adjacent markets in CEE along RBI’s footprint, making seamless cross-border e-commerce a reality for SMEs. Continuous expansion of the ecosystem of partners will foster platform stickiness and give an edge over competitors.

The ultimate goal is simple: We are working hard to have a complete e-commerce ecosystem to help SME merchants sell freely online throughout Europe in the next five years.”

Elevator Ventures is the Corporate Venture Capital entity of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). Its primary focus is on early stage and growth investments in fintechs and related enabling technologies in Central and Eastern Europe.

These topics might also interest you.