After Veeam Software, Wrike and Magic Lab — to cite just a few recent examples — this is yet another happy exit for a Russian entrepreneur established in the West. Ecwid, a Russian-rooted provider of social commerce solutions for small businesses, is in the process of being acquired by Canadian Lightspeed.
This Toronto-listed online and offline retail software major says it is buying Ecwid to “help merchants reach shoppers where they are, whether on social media or digital marketplaces, ushering in newfound selling flexibility and omnichannel experiences.”
The deal is valuing Ecwid at some $500 million, including around $175 million in cash and $325 million in voting shares in the capital of Lightspeed. The deal is expected to be closed in the third quarter of this year, after obtaining the required regulatory approvals.
Lightspeed simultaneously announced a definitive agreement to acquire NuORDER, another B2B e-commerce software publisher: “Together, Lightspeed and NuORDER will create an industry-leading bridge between the merchant and supplier experience, simplifying product ordering for retailers and offering brands crucial insight into how their products move,” the Canadian company stated.
From the Urals mountains to Silicon Valley
Using 50 languages to serve more than 130,000 paid customers across the world, Ecwid has made a long way since it was born in Ulyanovsk, 720 km east from Moscow, 11 years ago.
Now headquartered in San Diego, California, the company helps businesses sell via Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, eBay, Google, Wix, Square and other platforms. It also supports SEO and marketing campaigns via Google advertising, Facebook advertising, and more.
Since offline merchants can use these solutions to start selling online, Ecwid saw its transaction volume jump last year as the coronavirus stroke the world.
“Overnight [in Spring 2020], demand tripled because SMBs were under immense pressure to transition to online ordering. We at Ecwid are not worried about the Walmarts of the world but about the small guys and making it super easy for them. And so demand went through the roof,” recalled Ecwid founder Ruslan Fazlyev in an exchange last year with TechCrunch.
During a certain period of time, Ecwid offered its premium e-commerce tools for free to support small businesses affected by the pandemic.
In one year, in the period ended March 31, 2021, the company generated revenue of over $20 million, claiming a growth rate of more than 50% year-over-year.
Just a year ago, the company secured a $42 million round from Morgan Stanley and PeakSpan Capital. The preceding round of funding dates back to 2014, when Ecwid raised $5 million from iTech Capital and Runa Capital, two venture funds with Russian roots and global portfolios.
“Ecwid is arguably one of the most successful Russian startups of the past few years,” East-West Digital News wrote at that time. What was “arguably” the case seven years ago is now an accomplished success story.
Ecwid founder and CEO Ruslan Fazlyev said that while “the distinction between online and brick-and-mortar retail has disappeared, Lightspeed and Ecwid, two best-in-class platforms, will unite to truly empower businesses.”
“By eliminating the barriers merchants face when selling online, we will only more rapidly achieve our common vision of democratizing retail for independent businesses worldwide and enrich the communities they serve,” the Russian-born entrepreneur added.