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Bulgarian e-commerce startup Rush raises a pre-seed round from LAUNCHub Ventures and SMSBump founders

Kiril Kirilov and Stanislav Stankov, founders of Rush, e-commerce
Image credit: Kiril Kirilov and Stanislav Stankov, founders of Rush
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E-commerce is a hot topic to follow right now as both demand and innovations in the industry are rapidly increasing. This doesn’t mean that there are no challenges in the sector. Data shows that 38% of online shoppers would abandon their orders if the delivery time is more than a week and nearly a quarter would do the same if no delivery date is provided. 

Rush, a Bulgarian startup that helps businesses of all sizes track their orders and improve the buying experience of their customers, just raised $300K in a pre-seed round led by LAUNCHub Ventures. The round was joined by angel investors, veterans in the e-commerce industry, including Adii Pienarr, founder of WooCommerce, Casey Armstrong, CMO at Shipbob and former VP Marketing at BigCommerce, Mihail Stoychev and Georgi Petrov, the founders of SMSBump who recently exited to Yotpo, and Jonathan Kennedy, founder of HeyCarson. 

Founded by Kiril Kirilov, who has a background in the e-commerce industry and understands the pain point of merchants, and Stanislav Stankov who has experience in product management, Rush will use the investment to grow its customer base and its team. 

From sprinting, to dropshipping, to entrepreneurship

The idea for Rush was born out of the business struggles that the dropship entrepreneur and former sprint race champion Kiril Kirilov was experiencing. Even though Kirilov was making around $450K monthly revenues and his business was developing fast, the rapid growth led to a mountain of problems related to shipping delays and customer miscommunication. As a result, he had to deal with disputes and cases with payment gateways which could have been avoided if issues were discovered earlier. 

“The customers did not have visibility when the product will be in their hands, or how they will get it, or where their order is at the moment. This created a lot of work for Customer support and even more chargebacks. Customers began to directly cancel their payment transactions. When you operate on a margin between 10-20%, having 10% of all your revenue taken out of chargebacks, can lead to an end,” Stankov explains. 

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At that point, there was no solution on the market to offer shipment visibility and customer experience handling that is similar to what Amazon offered and affordable for individual merchants. this was the trigger that led to the launch of Rush. To create a solution for this problem, Kirilov was joined by Stanislav Stankov, who worked as a Product Manager at Upwork.

“Together with Kiril, we focused on building a solution that can be plug-and-play to the Shopify store and can tackle the post-purchase issues merchants and their customers experience. We hired the first developer at the end of March and released it at the start of Dec 2020. During that time we saw that the problem is quite complex and there was not a single swiss-knife solution that handles the full spectrum of it,” Stankov says. 

How does Rush solve the problems of e-commerce sellers

In short, Rush is an order tracking and notifying SaaS Shopify integration that allows e-commerce businesses, individual merchants, and dropshippers to transform their shipment tracking pages into marketing opportunities. The way it does it is by enabling Shopify merchants and their customers to have post-purchase communication. The platform offers e-commerce businesses and sellers а customizable tracking page with features for personalized messaging, product recommendations for upselling and cross-selling, and analytics and insights. 

The Shopify solution allows merchants to increase their revenue and customer retention and avoid the need to constantly check email chains with inquiries about the status of customers’ orders. By using Rush sellers are able to set delivery expectations and, thus, reduce the post-purchase customer anxiety. The improved shipping transparency naturally leads to less abandoned carts and more revenue. 

After the merchant fulfills an order, Rush immediately syncs the tracking info and allows the merchant to set up tracking notifications. Therefore, buyers receive emails or SMSs with information on the delivery status of their orders, which is a value-added for their customer experience and increases brand loyalty.  

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Fast growth and future plans

For the two years it has been on market, Rush is already servicing more than 500 customers. It works with big international delivery companies including FedEx, DHL, China Post, Canada Post, and many more to allow merchants to ensure the same level of service and detail about their orders regardless of the place they live. The solution of Rush is used by brands such as Eubi, Jane Lushka, Thousand Miles, and primalharvest. 

Stankov shares that in the long term their vision is for Rush to become the Post-Purchase solution every e-commerce store wants to have. While in the short term they will focus on building the right product, setting the right company culture, and creating the core team. With the raised $300K pre-seed round, the company will aim to grow its team to 20 people and continue its double-digit monthly growth of customers. 

The investors’ perspective

“The experience, grit, and determination of the founders led us to one of the quickest investment decisions. We believe the post-purchase experience will define the future leaders in the e-commerce space and Rush is helping merchants to increase clients’ satisfaction after the sale. This is very important in the era of a constant increase in the customer acquisition costs,” Stan Sirakov, General Partner at LAUNCHub Ventures shares. 

Mihail Stoychev and Georgi Petrov have made three angel investments in e-commerce businesses so far. The investment in Rush marks their first angel investment in a Bulgarian company. The founders of SMSBump tell The Recursive that even though their main responsibilities remain the same within SMSBump and Yotpo, they would be glad to enable and become part of the success stories of more startups. 

“Rush will be one of the next big companies in the Shopify e-commerce space. The tool that they develop will allow the network of integrated carriers to grow since they provide a tracking solution that is tailored to the design prerequisites of each merchant. Rush has also developed a smart way in which sellers can recommend additional products to customers. This, together with the history and the experience of the two founders made the choice an easy one for us,” Mihail Stoychev explains. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.