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Yotpo is now a unicorn with Bulgarian SMSBump as its fastest-growing portfolio product

SMSBump founders Mihail Stoychev and Georgi Petrov
Image credit: SMSBump
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It’s been just over a year since Bulgarian SMS marketing automation platform SMSBump was acquired by US-Israeli Yotpo in one of the biggest exits for the local ecosystem. Now, its new parent company can call itself a unicorn after closing a $230M Series F round at a $1.4B valuation. In the past year, SMSBump has played an important role in this accomplishment with 170% YoY growth and a customer base that has grown to over 90, 000 brands from all over the world.

Led by previous investor Bessemer Venture Partners and a new one – Tiger Global, Yotpo’s funding round was also joined by existing backers Claltech Investment, Coin Ventures, Hanaco, Vertex Ventures, Vintage Investment Partners. 

After crossing the $100M ARR (annual recurring revenue) threshold,  with the new funds Yotpo will focus on delivering the foundation for an all-in-one eCommerce marketing platform, designed to help businesses stand out and retain customers. “We have always believed that eCommerce would become the dominant form of shopping, but 2020 was an incredible acceleration. The eCommerce arena is the most important place to be. Everyone is selling everything online now, from entrepreneurs setting up shop in their basement to some of the largest brands in the world. But this also means it’s only going to get more difficult, expensive, and inefficient to market to customers. By integrating our products and consolidating customer data into one eCommerce marketing platform, brands will get to know their customers on a deeper level, give them edgy, VIP experiences every time, and get a higher ROI for their marketing efforts,” shares Tomer Tagrin, Co-founder and CEO at Yotpo.

Yotpo’s customers include brands like Patagonia, Steve Madden, and GoPro.

Growth of the R&D (and business) hub in Sofia

In addition to financial growth, SMSBump is planning to grow its team at the local level, aiming to turn the Sofia office into the European R&D center of Yotpo, share the founders Mihail Stoychev and Georgi Petrov.

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“We are glad that a prominent product company like Yotpo has entered the Bulgarian market. We are facing a very interesting year ahead, during which we aim to expand the office in Sofia to 80 people, from technical roles (programmers, team leaders, QA, DevOps), and also human resources, marketing, and design specialists,” says Mihail.

“This round opens a new horizon for growth for us, and our office in Bulgaria will be key to achieving it. Along with the creation of new teams, we have to develop many new functionalities that will strengthen our place among the leading marketing platforms on a global level,” adds Georgi.

In response to the rise of e-commerce worldwide, the team in Bulgaria will strive to not only widen the scope of the SMSBump software, making it accessible to even more merchants and e-commerce platforms but also to build synergies with Yotpo’s other products. The SMS marketing solution is just one of the items that will be part of Yotpo’s future integrated platform, along with products for collection and display of reviews, loyalty programs, advertising visualizations, and others still under development. According to data provided by the company, brands that use two or more Yotpo products have grown 54% faster than those using only one.  

One interesting fact relating to SMSBump is that its exit to Yotpo in 2020 was the biggest acquisition ever of a company backed only by Bulgarian VC, following a €360K seed round from Eleven Ventures.

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Etien Yovchev is a co-founder and Chief Editor at The Recursive, online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. He has told the stories of over 200 ventures from the region and aims to provide high-quality constructive reporting on the progress of the SEE innovation ecosystem, making sure that the stories of promising local founders reach global audiences. Etien holds a MSc degree in Innovation Management from RSM, Erasmus University Rotterdam and has more than 4 years of experience in the commercialization of new products, having worked with many early-stage companies and a few corporate innovation departments across Bulgaria, The Netherlands, and the USA.