Craig Vodnik

Craig Vodnik
(Andrew A. Nelles / for Blue Sky / June 29, 2015)

Craig Vodnik is the co-founder of Cleverbridge, an e-commerce platform for software and cloud companies based in Cologne, Germany.

Among the firm’s more than 300 hundred clients are Dell Inc. and Malwarebytes Corp., a Silicon Valley company that makes anti-malware software. In addition to its offices in Chicago and Cologne, the company has locations in San Francisco and Tokyo.

Cleverbridge has been profitable since 2007, when Vodnik was the startup’s sole employee in America. Today the firm has more than 250 employees.

Vodnik told Blue Sky that he believes Chicago is quietly emerging as a hub for companies that make the e-commerce infrastructure work — the payments processors, fraud detectors and data analysts that are the guts of click purchasing.

“It’s happening in Chicago because the knowledge is here,” he said, rattling off companies like Braintree, FeeFighters, Trustwave, W. Capra Consulting Group and Rippleshot, not to mention broader e-commerce firms like Groupon and GrubHub.

Vodnik began his Internet career in 1995 as webmaster of the Chicago Tribune, where he helped launch the paper online.

Vodnik has also worked in advertising and financial services. He has a degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Find him on social: @CraigVodnik Craig Vodnik