Romania’s technical talent pool, innovation potential, and growing venture capital ecosystem have attracted some international attention over the past week, and it sure looks like Romanian founders have exciting opportunities for raising investments from venture capital funds. But what about the other options of startup funding that the ecosystem offers? Equity crowdfunding being a case in point with Seedblink – the largest platform in Romania that focuses on small scale investments, reported to have facilitated the financing of 26 out of 54 rounds in Romania during 2020, allowing more than 3 000 investors from 12 countries to become business angels of the local startup ecosystem.
This week marks the thirtieth successful financing campaign on the Seedblink platform, facilitating the local startup for live stream shopping, Oveit, to raise €400k from 44 investors in less than three hours from the launch of its campaign, which officially started on the 21st January. Founded by two Romanians – Mihai Dragan and Andrei Stefan, Oveit started as an event management platform, then moved on to develop last-mile fintech payment solutions and recently began experimenting with audience engagement technologies and solidifying its position in the local customer experience industry. The latest round of financing comes in order to support the development of their new project for experimental ecommerce – their Streams.live platform which allows retailers to offer to their customers an innovative and interactive online shopping experience.
“We have been following Oveit for several years, always being amazed by the achievements of the two founders. We appreciated their success up to the pandemic as we appreciate the new Streams.live business line. Regardless of the volatility of the times, a quality team always finds the right paths to success”, says Andrei Dudoiu, CEO of SeedBlink.
The developing live stream shopping market and Oveit’s place in it
The emergent trend of Live Steam shopping combines live streaming with the ability to purchase products via digital wallets directly from the livestream, which makes the experience for the customers much more engaging than just adding items to their online shopping carts. According to Mihai Dragan, the global market for virtual e-commerce experience has a huge potential and is projected to reach $320b in 2023 in the United States and $474b in China alone. The growing demand for live stream shopping solutions created by the shopping behaviors of the younger Gen Z and Millennial generations has been further increased by the changes in retailing practices that the Covid-19 pandemic caused. The vision of Dragan is that the disruption in the retail market that live stream shopping can create will become the teleshopping of the digital age. It will bring back the interaction between shoppers and retailers, the sense of connectivity, and the feeling of discovery that traditional e-commerce platforms don’t offer.
Oveit’s Streams.live platform provides a tool that integrates seamlessly into the sales cycle and is very easy to install because even if a retailer doesn’t have a website, the whole experience can take place on an automatically generated customizable page system. The technology of the Streams.live platform is suitable for the fashion and beauty industries, as well as for food and beverage, automotive, electronics, and home and leisure. Mihai Dragan highlights that the best digital experiences are provided by social media platforms with their live shows, videos, and augmented reality, which is a trend that Oveit wants to address.
Is live stream commerce part of the near future?
Currently, the company has strategic partnerships with some of the world’s leading brands such as L’Oreal, Vodafone, Renault Group, Walgreen-Boots and the funds raised from the campaign will allow them to develop their Streams.live platform in time to support their partners’ planned live commerce projects. Oveit is also developing a digital wallet technology for “shoptainment” – a trend that shifts the focus of traditional e-commerce away from shopping towards entertainment. Moreover, with the raised money Oveit plans to expand its operations in the US, and introduce its platform, which is currently operational only in Romania, to Western markets. “The high capital in this round of financing, the only public listing until a possible IPO, will help us support the accelerated growth so far and will strengthen our efforts to attract a Series A investment, which we expect by the end of the year, at an estimated value of between $3m and $5m,” notes Mihai Dragan.