Sofia-based ScaleFocus Acquires Upnetix
The Bulgarian software company ScaleFocus announced the acquisition of 100% of the Sofia-based privately held Upnetix, one of the 50 worldwide certified Google development agencies. Upnetix specializes in mobile engineering, front-end development and design-driven digital transformation. Tagging the Upnetix team, ScaleFocus will strengthen its capacity and technical skills in mobile engineering, front-end and design-driven digital transformation.
— ScaleFocus (@ScaleFocus) September 26, 2018
ScaleFocus is a Sofia-based company, founded in 2012. Currently, the company operates with stand-alone offices in London, Munich, Zurich and Washington DC. ScaleFocus has two more offices in Bulgaria – in Plovdiv and Burgas – and is about to open a third one in Varna in October. As of September 2018 the company services medium and large-scale enterprise customers across North America and Western Europe, with a full-time staff of 500+ people.
Founded in 2015, Upnetix is a privately held JSC, currently having an engineering staff of 120 professionals. Upnetix is a major provider of custom client-tailored software solutions, the biggest mobile development studio in Bulgaria and is among the largest software outsourcing companies in South-Eastern Europe. The company provides the full range of software development and consultancy services, covering all stages of the product life cycle: strategy, business analysis, design and prototyping to development, quality assurance, deployment and post-project maintenance and support.
In 2017 Upnetix became the first and only company in SEE to become a certified Google Developer Agency. In both 2017 and 2018, it has been recognized as the fastest-growing technology company in Bulgaria in the TOP 100 Annual Ranking by ICT Media and Computerworld, which honors companies, headquartered in Bulgaria, that have experienced substantial growth over the last three years. It was named as the most dynamically growing company in the software and outsourcing sector in Bulgaria from institutions like Forbes and GSA.
Stillfront Group has acquired the Sofia-based Imperia Online
The Swedish firm buys out 100% of the shares of Imperia Online in a deal worth €10 million. The Bulgarian studio is one of the biggest game production companies in Southeastern Europe with 25 released games, including the flagship title Imperia Online – a medieval cross-platform MMO strategy with over 40 million users worldwide.
Meanwhile, Stillfront is a network of independent developers, publishers and
Sofia Municipality Starts Autumn Campaign to Collect Household Textile Waste
The campaign is under the slogan “It’s time for wardrobe detox” and aims to reduce textiles in mixed household waste, as well as to recall the importance of textile waste sorting for the environment, including air quality.
The campaign was launched with mobile stations according to schedule in September and will end on November 25 with the Green Fashion Days show that will present a specially designed collection of clothes created entirely with the textile collected under the campaign.
Locations of the stationary stations:
More than 2 tons of textile waste were collected only a week after the pilot project was launched. At present, 12 waste flows are being collected in Sofia, including paper, plastic, glass, metal, green and bio wastes, etc.
Information about where and how to separately dispose of your waste, including electrical appliances, toxic waste, Christmas trees, etc. is available on the website of Sofia Municipality here.
New Youth Innovation Lab Opens in Sofia
At the end of September, the Youth Innovation Laboratory opened doors in Sofia. It was created under the “Unlocking the Potentials for Business and Social Innovation in the Danube Region by Equipping Young People with New Generation Skills” initiative. The project is implemented by the “European Programs and Projects” Directorate of Sofia Municipality and Sofia Development Association.
By developing the Youth Innovation Lab Sofia Municipality aims to support, promote and develop the entrepreneurial and digital skills of young people (aged 15-29) in Sofia. The project supports the implementation of the Smart Specialization Strategy of Sofia. The lab will also offer a digital reading room, as the project is implemented in partnership with Sofia City Library.
The leading partner of the project is the Budapest Municipality, and the other partners include PRIZMA Foundation (Slovenia), Maribor Municipality, NOVA (Austria), Accente (Austria), Cluj Development Association (Romania), DEX Innovation Center (Czech Republic), Mihajlo Pupin Institute (Serbia), Savski Venac Municipality (Serbia), North-West Regional Agency (Romania). Associated partners are Belgrade Municipality (Serbia), Graz Municipality (Austria) and Corvius University – Budapest (Hungary).
Chivas Venture Social Entrepreneur Competition to Give Away USD 1 Mln to Social Entrepreneurs
Startups with socially significant projects can apply for the Chivas Venture competition. The global contest is held for the fifth consecutive year, and has a total prize pool of USD 1 million. It aims to fund ideas that address social and environmental issues worldwide.
The application terms and the participation form are available on the website of the competition. The deadline for application is October 31. In order to participate, the company’s representative should be at least 25 years old, speak English, and the company’s annual revenue should not exceed USD 1.5 million.
According to the rules of the competition, local finals will be held first so that the project which will represent Bulgaria internationally could be selected. The team of the selected startup will participate in a 3-day acceleration program in the UK along with the participants from other countries. Then an online voting from the broader audience will follow, and the number of votes will determine the allocation of USD 100 000 from the total prize pool. At the international finals of the competition, the projects will be introduced to experts and the winner will receive the remaining USD 900 000.
You can learn more about the previous finalists from Bulgaria from the promotional video of the competition. The local campaign’s motto this year is “Grumblers against Entrepreneurs”.
Private and Municipal Urban Development Projects to Gain BGN 600 Mln Support
The Fund of Funds has signed operational agreements with the Sustainable Cities Fund Association and the Regional Urban Development Fund, selected as financial intermediaries for three urban development funds. The intermediaries will manage BGN 353.3 million from the Operational Program “Regions in Growth” 2014-2020. A private investment in the amount of just over 40% of the funding will be provided as well. The amount for the final beneficiaries is expected to reach nearly BGN 600 million.
The funds will support 39 municipalities, including Sofia. For Southern Bulgaria, including the capital, the projects will be managed by the Sustainable Cities Fund Association. The funds for Sofia will amount to BGN 87 million. Final recipients of the funds can be municipalities and municipal enterprises, private companies, public-private partnerships, individuals, etc.
The urban development funds will support projects related to urban environment improvement, sports infrastructure, transport, energy efficiency, industrial zones. Projects can include
Sofia Investment Agency joined the international start-up and entrepreneurship platform SCALE. Our team worked on the development of Sofia’s profile at SCALE, which aims to show the city’s potential as an entrepreneurial and start-up destination and the opportunities it could offer to entrepreneurs from Europe and all around the world.
SCALE (The Startup City Alliance Europe) is an online portal/platform, aiming to create a connected and transparent European city-to-city startup ecosystem. SCALE supports European startups wanting to scale not only within Europe but also to foreign markets from all around the world.
SCALE connects and fortifies the supportive structures that are already in place, bringing together European municipal governments, universities, corporates and fast growing startups (scale-ups). Currently SCALE unites 19 European startup organisations from 10 European cities: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Helsinki, Milan, Munich, Paris, Porto, Rome and Vilnius. Sofia is the 11-th city to join the platform.
Each of the 11 cities has its own profile, providing detailed information on the development of the start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem in each of the cities, including information about the different stakeholders, events, news, supporting organisations, etc., as well as valuable insights on how to access the market, establish and develop a startup, soft landing packages, etc.
In addition to an overview of the developing start-up ecosystem in the city, Sofia’s profile provides detailed information on the:
You can learn more about the SCALE platform and check Sofia’s profile here.
The international technological forum Global Tech Summit, consisting of the Java2Days, CodeMonsters and AI&Smart Tech conferences, the Tech4Kids and Free Tech Training educational initiatives with free access and Technology4Business – an event for business leaders, will take place between November 27th and 29th, in the Congress center of the National Palace of Culture (NDK).
Global Tech Summit is the leading technological forum in Eastern Europe. It introduces the latest trends in the technological world to software engineers, managers and start-ups, so they can stay ahead of the curve.
Java2Days is the 1st international Java conference in Eastern Europe. It was established in 2009. During the years Java2Days took place as the premier event in the region and a must-attend conference for anyone in the Java development area.
CodeMonsters provides the IT professionals, dealing with technologies different from Java, with an access to the latest trends, focused learning and endless networking opportunities.
AI&Smart Tech is a new event, emphasizing on artificial intelligence, machine learning, projecting and building “smart” infrastructures and others.
Technology4Business is an invitation only event intended for leaders from the business and public sectors. It presents a new vision for the use of technologies, implementation of innovations and improvement of the organizational efficiency.
Free Tech Training provides free participation in the summit for more than 800 Bulgarian students and schoolchildren from the specialized schools.
Tech4Kids is the official name of the “International festival: Programming and Robotics for kids” organized for schoolchildren aged 7-14. It gives them free access to entertaining programming and robotics lessons, where, together with the leading world experts, they create their first computer program that lets them control a robot, drone or a simple home appliance.
The program of GTS 2018 includes lectures and workshops, thematic discussions with leading technological experts, HR managers and Managers of leading companies, series of hackathons, Annual Technological Awards, spaces for demonstration of software development tools and much more.
On the event website you can find further information about the forthcoming technological forum. Follow the social media for news about the program of each event.
We are sharing an invitation to join the CEE Impact Day – a two-day conference dedicated to the vital role that impact ventures play in the worldwide adoption of sustainable and inclusive technologies, policies and behaviours.
The event is taking place on 4-5 October in Vienna, Austria and is hosted by Impact Hub Vienna and Investment Ready Program. CEE Impact Day aims to catalyse investment into social enterprises by building the impact investment ecosystem in the CEE region. The conference will host more than 250 impact investors, social entrepreneurs and executives from Central and Eastern Europe.
If you are a social entrepreneur, corporate organization, intermediary, startup, or NGO join the CEE Impact day to learn the latest trends that are shaping the impact investing industry and how social innovation could create value for your organization or community.
For more information, please visit ceeimpactday.org or contact directly Dušan Janković: +436603242244 / firstname.lastname@example.org for full assistance on registration, pass options and attendance of the upcoming event.
With the start of the new business season, the www.ibaconnect.com business platform, created by International Business Alliance.Bulgaria, has developed several new functionalities aimed at business cooperation and project development of Bulgarians in Bulgaria and around the world. The network was launched in the spring and aims to provide direct contact between users to cooperate in developing projects and partnerships and expanding business in new markets and new fields. This made IBA.Bulgaria the first of its kind online business platform, which brings together the Bulgarian business diaspora globally. The networking platform has a target that the authors define as International Business with Bulgarian Connection and aims to connect Bulgarians with own business (or engaged in business) in Bulgaria and around the world.
The platform combines the most useful business features of Facebook and LinkedIn, allowing profiles to receive targeted business news in newsfeed and to conduct partnership talks through direct contact between users. What makes the IBA network different is that users have the opportunity not only to use their daily and business contacts to have mutual benefits, but also to partner in business, to consult, to jointly create projects in Bulgaria or to external audiences and markets.
The platform has a clean interface and constantly adds new functionalities and options, with focus on business cooperation. All of them will remain available for full and free access to all accounts that joined the network from the very beginning of its creation, even after switching to access under certain conditions to part of the platform’s capabilities.
Business owners can benefit from the following already active features:
Enterprise Europe Network at the BCCI provides full assistance for the overall organization, registration and attendance of the upcoming events described below. If you need additional information, you can contact the organization at the contact details listed below:
European Innovation and Information Center
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Phone: +359 2/ 8117 525 / 515/ 505/ 417
Bilateral business meetings at KAVALAEXPO 2018, Greece
The international exhibition KAVALAEXPO 2018 aims to support business and improve the economic environment in the region. Traditionally, the event is attended by more than 120 exhibitors and 10,000 visitors from Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria and other Balkan countries. The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry can help you to take part at the event as exhibitors and/or participants in B2B meetings with potential partners.
The exhibition will be held from 05.10.2018 to 09.10.2018 in Kavala, Greece.
Business meetings will take place on 06.10.2018 /Saturday/.
The scope of KAVALAEXPO 2018 comprises the following sectors:
Services, trade, clothing and footwear, furniture, household appliances, food and beverage, marble and stone products, building materials, machinery and equipment, wooden constructions, etc.
Deadline for registration: September 10, 2018
Bilateral business meetings in Peru at Alpaca Moda 2018
The meetings will be held on October 22-27 in Arequipa, Peru. The event is among the most important international events related to fashion and trade in authentic Peruvian wool textile products. It aims to present offers for export of Peruvian producers and exporters of textile products made from Peruvian wool-alpaca. The invitation targets international buyers, importers and distributors of textile garments from a number of countries, including those from Europe.
The main product categories and sectors include:
Industrial production of textile products
Woolen technical textile for industrial purposes
Clothes and shoe stores
Coats, cardigans, blankets, sweaters, scarves and accessories (including jewelry)
Other consumer products
Bilateral business meetings are organized by the Peru Export and Tourism Promotion Board – PROMPERU, which is part of the Enterprise Europe Network in the country. The Peruvian organization will bear the costs (air tickets, domestic transport and accommodation) of the selected, preliminary approved participants.
To register, you need to complete the registration form here by selecting the Buyer option.
The deadline is September 30, 2018
Here is the link to the event.
Bilateral business meetings in Izmit at MATCH4INDUSTRY BUSINESS MATCHMAKING EVENT, Turkey
Bilateral business meetings will
Bulgaria remains in the top 20 of the annual ranking for the most attractive outsourcing destinations of the consulting company A.T. Kearney. The index of the consultancy comprises 55 countries and is calculated on the basis of three indicators – financial attractiveness, availability and qualification of staff and business environment.
In 2015, our country was in the top ten but in recent years it has been constantly stepping back, mainly due to increase of taxes, insurance and regulation costs. Nevertheless, in general the business climate remains stable and our country is a competitive destination for outsourcing, retaining its leading position before the Czech Republic, Romania, Germany and the UK. The country’s profile includes large investments in services outsourced by Coca-Cola HVS, Uber and Service Source.
Since the first edition of the index in 2004 the top three positions are held by India, China and Asia Minor.
Puzl CowOrKing, the largest coworking space in Sofia, announced its plans to build Puzl IT Hubs in the big cities of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the coming years. The first destinations will be Bucharest, Budapest and Prague.
In recent months, Puzl has explored various cities and industrial buildings offering enough space to build new Puzl IT hubs to unite and develop local technology companies of all sizes, research centers, innovation labs, IT schools. The expansion aims to harness the potential of the CEE countries and to enable local companies to succeed globally by building a network of connected Puzl technology centers.
Puzl CowOrKing opened doors in Sofia 5 years ago and today it offers 3 separate spaces in two of the buildings of the former Vitosha factory on Cherni Vrah Blvd and houses some 600 people – a community of people and companies in the field of technology and innovations. Puzl CowOrKing plans to further expand in the capital – with a top floor space that combines a roof-top restaurant, a coworking and event space.
In 2017, Puzl CowOrKing won the “Best Coworking Space” award at the regional final of the Central European Startup Awards. This year Puzl was nominated again in the same category.
The Bulgarian Fintech Sector has own Association, which is quickly spreading its network of partners and members. The Bulgarian Fintech Association aims at providing a common ground for the fintech businesses in Bulgaria and developing the industry.
The Association was founded by prominent professionals in the area, who desire to establish a strong network of fintech companies with shared values. Founding members are Paynetics – an e-money payment institution providing acquiring and issuing services, Penkov, Markov and Partners – one of the largest law companies in Bulgaria and Kaloyan Ratchev of Vangavis, an innovation company with strong expertise in the fintech industry. Chairman of the Association is Mr. Valeri Valtchev – serial entrepreneur and investor, who has devoted the past few years to creating innovative fintech startups able to compete on a global scale. Guergana Stoitchkova is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Association.
In Bulgaria, Fintech has become a very trending word with the emergence of a number of innovative new companies in the areas of payments, financial services, security. According to a Unicredit report, Bulgaria ranks first in the CEE by number of fintech companies. While many fintech companies are striving to provide an alternative to bank services, banks are showing increasing interest in the fintech solutions and are constantly seeking ways to implement financial innovations in their structures. Interest in the field is shown from all sides: from investors, financial institutions, regulators, governmental bodies.
The mission of the Bulgarian Fintech Association is to create a platform bringing together all parties in Bulgaria with interest in Financial Technologies and to provide a common ground for communication, knowledge transfer and exchange of ideas. The Bulgarian Fintech Association aims at becoming the face of the Fintech in Bulgaria and to represent the shared values of its members before regulators, investors, financial institutions, foreign associations, partners and any other party.
Among the Association’s goals are to strengthen Bulgaria’s position as a FinTech center in the region, to incentivize entrepreneurship in the field of financial technologies and digital innovations, to raise the issue of integrating innovative financial technologies into the traditional financial industry and to increase public awareness of this sector and the most notable innovations within it.
The Association will hold a kickoff event in the autumn open to everyone who would like to learn more about its future plans or is interested in becoming a member. In the
For one year, the assets managed by local and foreign investment funds operating in Bulgaria grew by 21.2% (BGN 657.2 million) and reached a total of BGN 3.762 billion at the end of June, according to the latest statistics of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB). By comparison, they amounted to BGN 3.105 billion a year ago. The quarterly investment growth was 2.8% (BGN 102.5 million).
As a percentage of GDP, the total amount of assets of local and foreign investment funds at the end of the second quarter reached 3.6%, compared to 3.1% of GDP a year ago and 3.5% at the end of the first quarter of 2018. Special purpose vehicles (SPV) with real estate securitization are not included in the investment funds, BNB said.
Compared to the first three months, investments went up by BGN 17.9 million (2.5%) in Bulgaria and by BGN 11.5 million (5%) in the other EU countries.
For one year, the investment funds increased by 78 and totaled 1055 by 30 June, which was a decrease of 14 funds on a quarterly basis. Foreign investment funds grew by 62 to 924, while local funds rose by only 16 per year reaching a total of 131, according to preliminary data from the BNB. In the last three months, 15 foreign and one Bulgarian investment fund have withdrawn.
You can find the complete BNB statistics in the document here.