The EBAN Annual Congress is one of Europe’s largest and most international Business Angel events. The event also hosts the EBAN General Assembly, held annually by EBAN, members, and partners. This year’s event is the 18th in a raw and will be held in Sofia on 25-27 June 2018.
The European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds, and Early Stage Market Players – EBAN, is the pan-European representative for the early stage investor gathering over 150 member organizations more than 50 countries today. Established in 1999 by a group of pioneer angel networks in Europe with the collaboration of the European Commission, EBAN invests 7.5 billion euros a year and plays a vital role in the funding of SMEs across Europe. EBAN fuels Europe’s growth through the creation of wealth and jobs.
Among the members of the Association are business angels, venture capitals and accelerators, electronic funding platforms, associate and other early stage market players. In its 18 years of presence, EBAN is setting professional standards, provides training and certification, benchmarking, research, networking, and lobbying, as well as cross-border syndication and co-investment support.
Please follow the link for videos from EBAN’s past events across Europe and coming soon updates on the venue and the programme of the Congress.
Sofia Investment Agency team is glad to present the new Sofia Business Guide – just published and now available for download from our website.
Sofia Business Guide covers a wide range of topics, such as local economic data, labor force, education, transport and connectivity, industrial spaces, priority industries. The Guide also serves as a step-by-step handbook on how to start your business in Sofia as it contains latest data on business taxes, investment incentives, how to register a company action list, among others.
By summing up and assembling the most important and up to date information in the 60 pages of the Sofia Business Guide, we wanted to give a general, but detailed, overview of Sofia as an investment destination and to assist for a successful onset those who have considered beautiful Sofia as a place to set up their business and everyday live.
The document is available in 4 languages – English, French, German and Bulgarian and can be downloaded from Invest Sofia’s website. Data is presented predominantly in graphics, tables, and infographic.
Feel free to use all content and graphs in your business endeavors whenever you present your projects to foreign partners and potential investors.
For users from abroad, our team is available for further information and detailed analysis on specific topics, as well as for ongoing support on every stage of the investment plan.
Sofia Investment Agency would like to thank the Institute for Market Economics, Bulgarian Outsourcing Association, Puzl CowOrKing, Colliers Bulgaria, Forton I Cushman &Wakefield and Innovation Starter for all the information and support they provided.
UK-based Ocado Technology, the technology division of Ocado Group, to expand its existing team in Sofia from 50 to 150 engineers thus setting up its own dedicated and standalone software development center in Sofia.
The company has signed a five-year lease for two floors totaling 2,000 m2 of floor space in a new office building close to Vitosha Metro Station and Paradise Center. The Sofia software development center will work on Ocado Technology’s world-class systems and solutions in the areas of robotics, machine learning, simulation, data science, warehouse control, in-store picking, and more.
Ocado Technology initially opened the Sofia development center in 2016 by collaborating with Questers, a technology “build, operate and transfer” services company, also based in the UK and present in Bulgaria since 2007. Ocado Technology Sofia has successfully attracted nearly 50 highly qualified employees in little over a year. Based on the quality of technologists hired, Ocado Technology has decided to create a significant independent presence in Sofia.
Several teams in Sofia will work on The Ocado Smart Platform – the company’s end-to-end solution designed to power all aspects of a grocery retailer’s e-commerce business, Richard Haywood, head of Ocado Technology Sofia said in the official press release of the company. According to Mr. Haywood, moving into a brand new office will help Ocado grow further and build a collaborative environment to enable the team to continue to solve challenging problems.
The development center in Sofia is Ocado Technology’s fourth location outside the UK, alongside two offices in Poland and one in Spain. Working with Colliers International, a leading real estate consultancy, Ocado Technology have found a great location for the office situated next to Paradise Center Mall, with easy access to the city center via the Vitosha metro station, the Ring road and local buses and trams.
About Ocado Technology
Ocado Technology is developing world-class systems and solutions in the areas of robotics, machine learning, simulation, data science, forecasting and routing, inference engines, big data, real-time control, and more.
Ocado Technology enables Ocado.com, the world’s largest
The Belgium-based electronic components producer Melexis plans to double its production capacity in Sofia, where the largest manufacturing facility of the company is currently located. Over the next five years, Melexis will invest 75 million euro to significantly extend its R&D activities, as well as its warehousing facilities, adding additional 15.000 sqm to its existing 7.500 sqm facilities in Sofia. Melexis’ Sofia-based workforce is expected to reach nearly 600 employees by the end of 2018, and the total will grow by another 160 people till 2020.
The investment in Sofia is part of the expansion of Melexis in strategic European locations to help the company meet growth plans in logistics, manufacturing and R&D activities that will bring additional capacity to meet the growing demand for the services and solutions that the company designs, manufactures and renders in the automotive microelectronic sector.
We’ve managed to reach an important milestone in our project, reaffirming the intentions we have been pursuing together over the last 3 years. We have faced difficult moments that we managed to successfully overcome, thanks to the support we received from you. Thank you for this!, says Sylvain Collot, Manager of Melexis Bulgaria, in his letter to Sofia Municipality and Sofia Investment Agency.
According to the latest analysis prepared by Cushman & Wakefield, investment volumes in a commercial real estate in Central and Eastern Europe reached nearly €13 billion in 2017. All CEE countries grew at a similar rate with Poland growing most rapidly at 9% y-o-y. Foreign investors from North America, Asia, and South Africa dominate the market, followed by German and Austrian buyers.
2017 was marked by two trends – limited product and high demand in the core segment and subdued appetite for secondary and tertiary assets. Commercial real estate investment activity in CEE reached €5 billion in Poland, €3.3 billion in the Czech Republic, €1.8 billion in Hungary, €1 billion in Romania, €876 million in Bulgaria and €470 million in Slovakia. The retail sector outperformed nearly €1.9 billion worth of investments, followed by approximately €1.4 billion in the office sector. The warehouse market accounted for almost €900 million, while approximately €850m was invested in both the hospitality and mixed-use sectors each. Hotels became a relevant investment product with investment volumes amounting to €862 million and this sector is set to attract increasing investor interest. In Bulgaria, demand growth remained firm in the office and retail sectors but eased slightly for industrial space.
2018 is expected to be another good year for the commercial real estate investment market with most active inflows from the US, Canada, South Africa. Q1 2018 is likely to exceed €3 billion.
Falcon.io, the The New York- and Copenhagen-headquartered leading social media and customer experience SaaS platform, announced its acquisition of the Bulgarian social media platform Komfo. The acquisition of Komfo consolidates Falcon.io’s position as the European market leader. The company enables its clients to explore the full potential of digital marketing by managing multiple customer touchpoints from one platform. Falcon.io’s diverse and global client portfolio includes Carlsberg, Toyota, William Grant & Sons, Momondo, Panasonic, Coca-Cola, and many more. The official statement of the company says that Komfo’s social advertising and analytics capabilities will strengthen the Falcon platform with even better services for social media listening, engaging, publishing, measuring and managing customer data.
Takeaway.com, the leading online food delivery marketplace in Continental Europe, acquires BGmenu in Bulgaria and Oliviera in Romania for €10.5 million. Takeaway.com already owns the largest food delivery brands in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, and Austria. Recently, the company started in Vietnam and currently partners with more than 31 000 food chains and restaurants. To further accelerate growth, Takeaway.com will significantly invest in both Bulgaria and Romania.
LINK Mobility Group ASA (“LINK”), Europe’s leading and fastest growing provider of B2C mobile messaging and mobile services, acquires the South-Eastern European mobile messaging activities currently owned by Allterco JSCo (“ALLTERCO”). The agreed enterprise value of the transaction is EUR 8.8 million. Under the deal, Allterco is selling to Norway’s LINK all its telecommunication companies in Europe – TERA COMMUNICATIONS AD, TERAVOICE EAD, ALLTERPAY EOOD, TERACOMM RO SRL (Romania), TERA COMMUNICATIONS DOOEL (Macedonia). With the investment from the acquisition, Allterco will focus on the development of IoT devices and services delivered by its wholly-owned subsidiary Allterco Robotics. Allterco Robotics was founded in 2015 and develops Internet of Things products under two brands – MyKi – kids smartwatches and pets trackers and Shelly – smart home controllers. Allterco is listed and publicly traded on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
A decision on whether the American Academy of Blockchain will acquire SoftUni – the largest private software university in Bulgaria, will be announced soon. At the beginning of the year, Academy School of Blockchain, the world’s first accredited school for blockchain education and development signed a strategic partnership with SoftUni for block trainings around the world. The first one will take place in Vietnam. Founded in 2013, SoftUni is the largest private school in Europe and Eastern Europe’s leading
Bulgarian venture capital fund Eleven announced Eleven 2.0 – the Founders Fund – a EUR 6 million entirely private investment fund to support local early-stage companies. The fund is supported by entrepreneurs and managers of large technological and traditional industries companies from Bulgaria and the USA.
In the next 3 years, Eleven 2.0 will invest in about 20 companies with pre-seed ticket sizes starting from EUR 100,000. In exchange, the fund will take 10 to 12 % of the stakes in the company. Depending on their development and need, the fund potentially could invest up to 200.000 EUR. The focus will be on startups that use technology to implement improvements across industries, especially for b2b products and services.
After five years experience on the startup scene in the region and investment rounds of total worth 12 million EUR, the managing partners of Eleven now believe that the model of working with group companies is no longer adequate for the environment. Entrepreneurs have different needs at different times, so in the second Eleven we will build an individual development plan for each startup, says Daniel Tomov, a partner at Eleven. So, instead of one-size-fits-all acceleration model, Eleven 2.0 will now provide every startup with different resources and knowledge tailored to the needs of companies at a different phase, depending on industry, team, progress and other factors.
What changes now is that young companies will now develop under one roof. This will provide them with access to additional services such as marketing, sales, legal and strategic assistance. The time-frame at which the companies can spend under the wing of the fund will not be limited and they can stay within the fund until they find their next investor, says Vassil Terziev, managing partner at the fund.
Eleven was founded in 2012 with the portfolio provided by JEREMIE (Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises) – a joint initiative launched by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank. Up to now Eleven has invested in more than 150 companies from South Eastern Europe and stands among the top 5 most active early stage investors in Europe.
Should you be interested to become part of the Eleven 2.0 project, learn more about
Sofia Startup Expo 2018, 13-14 March 2018
Sofia Startup Expo 2018 will gather startups and entrepreneurs who will present their latest innovative products, technologies and services.
The SSE will be held on 13-14 March 2018, at “Sofia Tech Park”, “John Atanasov” hall and will cover all stakeholders and stages being part of a new business – startup companies, management, government agencies, incubators, investors, venture capital funds, banks, students’ ideas and technology companies from all over the world.
Exhibitors from the field of the information and communication technologies, education, construction, energy, transport, ecology, the agro-food industry, agriculture, health, financial services, and other spheres are expected to take part in the exhibition. The event will be attended by leaders, experienced entrepreneurs, investors, as well as key visionaries and futurists.
One-day conference session, interactive seminars, technical hackathon and an award ceremony for innovations are part of the programme.
TCI Global Conference, 20 March 2018
Every year, TCI organizes its flagship event, the TCI Global Conference in an outstanding city/region gathering between 300 and 500 participants. TCI has chosen Sofia, Bulgaria as the location and host for its European Conference in 2018. As a Regional Conference of TCI, it will support the reinforcement of TCI in Europe by promoting closer ties among cluster practitioners in the region as well as by facilitating an open exchange of experiences, results, and methodologies.
The Conference is open to both, TCI members and non-members.
TCI Network is the leading global network of main organizations and practitioners with deep expertise in clusters. Through its activities, TCI reaches out to 9,000 practitioners from development agencies, government departments, cluster organisations, academic institutions, companies and multilateral organizations in over 110 countries.
Programme, speakers and registration form are available on the website of the organizers.
Employer Branding Best Practices, 30 March 2018
Employer Branding Best Practices is the fifth of a series of events on Employer Branding in Bulgaria. The idea of this year’s event is to share with the audience the best practices of some of the largest companies in the world. Their representatives will share which techniques have managed to radically change the workflow and which have helped them improve their image to the world.
A Bulgarian team launched a demo version of a fully integrated multi-component platform for the needs of scientific research in the field of Life Sciences. The platform is called Bioseek.eu and works through a qualitatively new type of semantic search algorithm that has been developed for more than a year by the team of Bioseek. The search engine is designed for scientists and doctors who work on the development of new treatments and works with a graphical database, research visualization tools, a publishing module, etc.
The work of the team starts with the development of a search algorithm for fashion, which, in addition to product category, also filters attributes such as color, brand, price class, discount, etc. In the course of work, the team finds out that the true value of the development is not the fashion platform, but the semantic search algorithm itself, as it is applicable to every industry. That is why they switched their business to biotechnology research and development.
The number of consumers in biotechnology is relatively small and the business is very niche, but industries with enormous capital stay behind it, as research related to biotechnology is tied to industries such as cosmetics, drug development, dyes, pesticides, etc. The platform creators believe that their product will bring optimization of drug development costs. The average cost of developing a drug is now nearly USD 3 billion.
The platform will serve all workflows in a scientific development – from exploratory search to publishing science research results. Bioseek.eu algorithm can link specific genes and diseases, as well as link several different diseases. The platform even has a dedicated online store, a linked library with plenty of scientific works and useful links and other functionalities that are helpful to the workflow.
The development was funded by a previous successful start-up and recently it won an investment from ImVenture I, as well as mentoring and funding from Enterprise Google Services.
You can find a five-minute presentation of Bioseek here.
Find more about the company’s plans for next year, and why Rosen Genchev, founder and CEO of BioSeek, describes it as something between Facebook and Google in his interview for the UpDate show on Bloomberg TV here.
The share of the automotive sector in Bulgaria in gross value added is 3.6% and has increased over the last 10 years more than 4 times, shows the second Research of the automotive industry in Bulgaria, jointly conducted by Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, Colliers and PwC. The automotive companies are now more than 130 and employ more than 37,000 people.
Main highlights of the report
Automotive companies are located in all regions of the country, with a higher concentration in Southern Bulgaria. The companies operating on the territory of Bulgaria, produce components for well-known international automotive brands – 90% of all airbag sensors for European manufacturers are produced in our country and that Bulgaria produces components for all the world’s largest manufacturers, including Tesla. To further strengthen growth, companies’ managers plan to invest in development and implementation of new projects/products leading to technological innovations. Currently, over 40% of the companies, which took part in the survey, perform research & development (R&D) activities, related to system and application software development, automation of manufacturing, reduction of the weight of manufactured components for decreasing the levels of emissions in the automotive industry and others, in addition to production. Positive examples of R&D centers in Bulgaria are the American “Visteon” and “Sensata Technologies”, as well as the German „Behr-Hella Thermocontrol“ (BHTC).
Automotive companies plan to establish direct liason between business and university career centers, as well as setting up dual education classes, supporting the automotive business. The main challenges for the automotive industry, according to respondents, are bureaucracy, infrastructure, the legal system and the imbalance between demand and supply on the labor market.
Full results from the survey, forecasts, and interviews with leading companies’
YFU Denmark (Youth For Understanding) is offering a three-week summer camp programme – Be an entrepreneur the Danish way!. Just like YFU’s one-year student exchange programmes, the entrepreneurship summer camp offers a unique opportunity for young Bulgarians to get to know Denmark from up close. The programme aims to strengthen Danish-Bulgarian cultural relations.
The Summer camp might be interesting for Danish or Bulgarian companies to consider offering a scholarship to a child of one of their Bulgarian employees or a student in a school in a community of interest. The programme starts from June 24th with classes with Danish students, followed by entrepreneurship camp with sessions in design, digital technologies, eSports, future technology, and more.
The Bulgarian division of YFU is still looking for participants in the 2018 summer camp. If you are interested, you can contact directly Mrs. Iris Wiesner, National Director in YFU-Bulgaria via e-mail email@example.com, + 359 2 470 6527 / + 359 898 894542, and Skype: iriswiesner.
A team of Sofia Investment Agency visited Poland between January 22 – 24 to take part in business meetings with representatives of 10 public and private organizations in Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz. Vladimir Danailov, Executive Director of Sofia Investment Agency, and an Investment Analysis Department team of the Agency launched an open dialogue on potential partnerships in joint projects with the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, the Mazovia Development Agency, representatives of the European Funds and Economic Development Directorate at Warsaw Municipality, Poland’s Industrial Development Agency, Center for Innovation – Warsaw, Lodz Special Economic Zone, Krakow Technology Park, Malopolska Development Agency, Municipality of Krakow, Urban Development Directorate – Investor Support Center and Science Park for Biotechnology and Center for Innovation.
The Bulgarian team of the Agency introduced to its Polish colleagues the business environment in Sofia as well as investment opportunities in the city. For their part, the Polish host organizations presented opportunities for bilateral business contacts and the conditions for development of specific industries in Poland. At the meetings with organizations we also discussed successful practices for developing a more favorable business environment in the cities of the two countries and effective incentives for investors, implemented by both countries.
Właśnie skończyliśmy spotkanie robocze z naszymi kolegami z Sofia Investment Agency. Dziękujemy za ciekawą dyskusję!
— PAIH (@PAIH_pl) January 22, 2018
We are convinced that the three-day meetings were useful and interesting for both parties and the contacts made will turn into fruitful business relationships and lead to the implementation of new business projects. Our team thanks our colleagues from Poland once again for the interesting discussions and willingness to support together Bulgarian businesses in Poland and Polish companies in Sofia.
If you are interested in an investment opportunity in Poland or looking for a partnership with a Polish organization, do not hesitate to contact our team at firstname.lastname@example.org for specific guidelines and opportunities that we have found during our visit.
More about some of the organizations we have established partnerships with.
The Polish Investment and Trade Agency (formerly Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency), helps investors to enter the Polish market and find the best ways to utilise the possibilities available to them. We guide