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December 14, 2011

Russian store widget start-up Ecwid raises VC funding

Firm plans US, UK offices, channel sales model

By Jason Stamper

Ecwid, a Russian maker of a platform-neutral drop-in store builder widget, has raised $1.5m in its first VC funding round, from Runa Capital.

Runa Capital is a VC firm with offices in Moscow and Berlin, which goes mostly for early-stage investments.

Ecwid claims its widget can be dropped into any website, blog or social network page in minutes. It’s available for free to stores with fewer than 100 products, and Ecwid also says it’s the first and only store builder made entirely in AJAX, so store owners can be confident buyers can use the shopping cart regardless of device or browser type and without the need to install a Flash plug-in.

Even non-technical users can add a store to any existing web, mobile or social network page in under five minutes, the company claims. Monthly plans for stores larger than 100 products start at just $17.

"Ecwid’s product attracted over 100,000 storefront customers in 174 countries without any marketing or outside funding," said Serguei Beloussov, senior founding partner of Runa Capital, and founder of Parallels, Acronis, Rolsen and Acumatica. "This is an achievement its competitors required millions of dollars to attain. Given the fast growth of e-commerce for small- to medium-sized businesses, Ecwid has the potential to grow exponentially in the years ahead."

Ecwid says over 40% of its customers are in the US. It will use a portion of its funding to open its first US office in Mountain View, California in spring, 2012, with the goal of growing sales to small business owners and web studios through channel partnerships. Its first UK office will also open at that time in London. About 30% of Ecwid’s customers are in the European Union. Ecwid has 18 employees based in its Ulyanovsk, Russia headquarters, many of whom hail from PHP shopping cart maker X-Cart.


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