A marketing startup founded by 2 Romanians won 2,250,000 euros at Startup Spotlight 2020

A startup founded by two Romanians, developing a marketing service for online stores, won the top prize, an investment of 225,000 euros, in the Startup Spotlight 2020 competition organized online by How to Web in Bucharest.

Winning startup Cartloop helps stores optimize their sales and customer relationship through text messages. The whole process is performed with minimal human intervention. In particular, when a customer who agrees to receive support and marketing via SMS begins the process of completing the order but leaves the order, Cartloop will contact them via SMS to understand the reason for the submission and to help him if necessary.

Cartloop claims that because of its solution it “converts” between 15-30% of the total customers who abandon the order compared to SMS or automated emails which hit a 4-8% conversion rate.

Cartloop’s customers are small and medium-sized fashion, electronics, gadget, food or food delivery stores. The application is integrated into the Shopify online trading platform, but the founders want it to be available for Magento, BigCommerce and WooCommerce early next year.

In September 2020, Cartloop received a venture capital financing of 300,000 euros from the Romanian investment fund GapMinder VC and an angel investment contribution from the entrepreneur Cristian Tamaș (TypingDNA).

The Cartloop platform was launched in April 2020 by two Romanian entrepreneurs, Andrei Negrău and Lisa Popovici. The two founders settled in the US, in Los Angeles. Negrău graduated in computer science from the University of Oradea and Popovici also took courses at the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy in Oradea, but turned to marketing. The two had previously founded Relevon, another online marketing startup, and each had made an exit before.

Cartloop has an external team in Romania and the US.

“Last year I entered the Startup Spotlight competition with Relevon, a startup that, following the feedback from the then mentors at the conference, turned into Cartloop. We didn’t expect to win. These 2 months of the program went down over very quickly. We had just picked up an investment round and were just thinking about how to enjoy the experience of the program itself as much as possible. We thank How to Web for this great experience, “said Lisa Popovici and Andrei Negrău, quoted in a How to Web press release.

The Spotlight 2020 Startup rankings were as follows:

  1. Cartloop

  2. Teleport

  3. Schedule an app.

The Cartloop prize of 225,000 euros is offered by a group of local investors: the SeedBlink equity crowdfunding platform, the TechAngels angel investor network, the Gapminder VC investment fund, the Simple Capital private investment vehicle and the Transylvania Angels Network investor network. The amount represents a contribution to a future investment in the winning startup, in the form of a convertible bond.

All three winners will also receive F6S benefits worth € 1 million.

The other 7 finalist startups were: Medicai, SanoPass, Sharewell, CBNagro.tech, Atlas, Pluria, Jeff App.

The Startup Spotlight 2020 jury consisted of entrepreneurs and managers from large companies, such as:

  • Dan Oros (Google Romania),
  • Monica Obogeanu (Orange Romania),
  • Andrei Dudoiu (SeedBlink),
  • Mălin Ștefănescu (TechAngels),
  • Dan Mihăescu (GapMinder VC),
  • Andrei Pitiș (Simple Capital),
  • Raluca Panțiru (Fitbit),
  • Sergiu Pop (Microsoft Romania).

More than 100 mentors supported the startups that entered the competition, including:

  • Marius Tîrcă (Co-founder of UiPath),
  • Mada Seghete (Co-founder of Branch.io),
  • Marvin Liao (advisor and investor, ex-500 Startups San Francisco),
  • Raul Popa (Co-founder and CEO of TypingDNA),
  • Dan Oros (Google),
  • Mihai Frențiu (Tech ‘n Trade).

The Startup Spotlight Program was developed in collaboration with Google, Orange Romania, KPMG Romania, BCR and with the support of Fitbit, Microsoft for Startups, Tech ‘n Trade, eMAG, Mastercard Romania, 2Checkout (now Verifone) and DLA Piper Romania.

How to Web is one of the most important annual technology and innovation conferences in Europe, bringing together technology entrepreneurs, product developers, developers, online marketers, innovators and investors seeking inspiration and know-how about digital products and developing businesses.

Launched in 2010, it was one of the first technology events in Central and Eastern Europe and contributed to the adoption of the start-up mindset in Romania and in this part of Europe.

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