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 firstname.lastname@example.org, + 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 email@example.com 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
Recently, the Russian East-West Digital News (EWDN) technology news and research agency published Startup Investment & Innovation in Emerging Europe report – the first-ever study covering 24 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. EWDN has offices or representatives in Moscow, Kiev, Riga and Sarajevo as well as in Paris, Brussels, Silicon Valley, Bogota and Dubai and claims that the project is a collaborative effort to analyze startup investment trends and to highlight innovation ecosystems across CEE. Startup Investment & Innovation in Emerging Europe report includes case studies and interviews with local dynamic tech entrepreneurs and active investors. Each country profile includes key local facts and trends, venture facts and numbers, information about startup support infrastructure and individuals from the local innovation scene.
The report reviews the local innovation ecosystems, highlights the hottest tech hot spots in the region, analyzes development strategies by public authorities at the local and country levels as well as international programs to support innovation in the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine. Special sections are dedicated to AI projects, corporate investment and open innovation, and other hot topics related to innovation across the region.
According to the report, Bulgaria is a Modest Innovator with a score of 47.5 (index based on the European Innovation Scoreboard 2016 where Sweden is the top-performing country with a score of 143.6). The country has a well-developed IT industry which, over the past years, has been evolving from being engaged primarily in outsourcing activities to more innovative, R&D-related activities. Over time, performance has not changed relative to that of the EU in 2010, EWDN concludes.
Modest Innovators are also Croatia, Romania and Ukraine. In the innovation scoreboard, better performers are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia – all of them listed as Moderate Innovators with a score higher than 54.1.
A key finding of the report is that CEE is quite a diverse region: it comprises some of Europe’s most advanced innovation ecosystems (Estonia, Slovenia) and some of the least developed (certain republics of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia). Brain drain and startup emigration affect the countries of the region, due to limited local market size, access to capital, and the appeal of Western countries – Western Europe and the US. However, the
The past 2017 set a record in terms of office space deals in Sofia with contracts for almost 200 000 sq m. The most active in demand were IT and outsourcing companies. First-class sites covering an area of 116 000 sq m were completed and another 178 000 sq m are expected to be operational this year, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield Forton. The consulting firm says that deals have already been concluded for 40% of the new areas and the rental price for a premium office is expected to remain stable this year, at a level of some EUR 13.5 per sq m.
The most preferred areas for property developers and tenants are those around Tsarigradsko shosse Blvd., Simeonovsko Shosse Blvd, Manastirski Livadi, Lozenets and Hladilnika and the Business Park area. Private investor interest also determines the priorities of the municipal plans to further develop good infrastructure in some of the areas with active construction.
It is expected that several large office buildings in the capital will be completed during this and next year:
Don’t Miss Out in Sofia in February:
Sofia Wine & Spirit Fest
Sofia Wine & Spirit Fest will take place in Central Department Store (TZUM) – Exhibition Hall, Sofia, February 9-11, 2018.
The fair is specialized for producers, importers and traders of wine, spirits and food. The eligible categories and terms of participation are available on the website of the fair here.
Dentsu Digital Camp 2018
Dentsu Digital Camp 2018 will provide the insights senior marketers and company leaders need to deliver results in a fast-paced digital environment. Attendees will get unbiased, actionable advice on the trends, tools, technologies and techniques they need to master their business from engaging and entertaining speakers from leading global and local brands. This year’s camp is titled Transforming the Future: People and Data
Attended by leading C-level managers, entrepreneurs, senior executives and media practitioners from different business industries the event provides unprecedented networking opportunities, brilliant speakers and exhibition space for innovative brands and companies all in one.
The camp is organized by Dentsu Aegis Network, part of Dentsu Inc. which is made up of ten global network brands – Carat, Dentsu, dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Merkle, MKTG, Posterscope and Vizeum.
Event website: http://digitalcamp.bg/
Innovation Explorer 2018
Innovation Explorer 2018 is the fourth edition of the Forum, organized by Kapital and Innovation Starter.
This year’s event is titled Innovation state of mind. Food for thought.
The organizers have invited 20 of the world’s most innovative and influential speakers in each innovation category: Creativity, Open Innovation, Disruptive Innovation, Social Innovation, New product development.
Keynote speakers, full agenda, workshops and registration link – on the website of the event – http://innovationexplorer.bg/
New Routes to Vitosha Mountain
Sofia Municipality plans four new routes to different parts of Vitosha for pedestrians and cyclists. The routes are from Arena Armeec sports hall to Simeonovski lift, from Borisova gradina to Dragalevtsi lift, from South Park to Vitosha eco-trail and from Vazrazhdane Park to Knyazhevo.
The team of “Green Sofia” at Sofia Municipality also works on a project for an electric bicycle station in the mountain as well as for the construction of bicycle paths to the end of “Bulgaria” and “Pushkin” boulevards, where there is a quick and easy access to Vitosha Mountain. The projects will be funded by EU programs.
More Destinations from Sofia Airport
Wizz Air will increase the number of its routes from the country to 44 in 2018. The new destinations will include Athens, Nice, Lisbon, Malaga and Vienna. In Bulgaria, Wizz Air has carried more than 2.5 million passengers in 2017, an increase of over 40% for the company.
The total passenger traffic for Sofia Airport rose by over 30% last year, which was the highest increase in Europe, according to the latest data. The airport services 36 airlines, which carried the record high 6.5 million people in 2017.
The New Road Connection between Brussels Blvd and Terminal 2 Officially Open
In early January, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski officially opened the new road connection between Brussels Boulevard and Terminal 2 of Sofia Airport.
The amount of the funds invested reaches BGN 13.7 million from the budget of the Ministry of Transport.
The new road is expected to ease the traffic in the area of Sofia Airport and the surrounding logistics and office centers.
Today a new road that connects "Brussels" Blvd. and Terminal 2 at Sofia Airport was opened. It will ease the traffic from and to the airport and facilitate the access for passengers traveling by car. #sofiaairport #newroadtoTerminal2 #newroadtoSofiaAirport pic.twitter.com/5VECrrbGX7
— Sofia Airport (@SOFIAirport) January 9, 2018
Key Urban Spaces to Be Renovated
Sofia will receive BGN 41 million under “Regions in Growth” Operational Program to modernize key urban spaces in central Sofia. The area around “St. Alexander Nevsky” Cathedral, “National Assembly” Square, “Tsar Osvoboditel Alexander II” Monument, “St. Sofia” Church, the building of the Synodal Palace, “Vasil Levski” Monument, “St. Kliment Ohridski” Garden, the space between “Oborishte” Street and the Central Military Club as well as
The outsourcing industry in Bulgaria is changing rapidly and is looking for new specialists. About 20 000 new job openings are expected by 2020. This was announced at a joint press conference of Sofia Investment Agency (SIA) and the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association (BOA), where Plamen Tsekov, member of the Management Board of BOA, and Vladimir Danailov, Chief Executive Officer of Sofia Investment Agency, presented current data on the outsourcing sector from reports of the two organizations.
The industry has fundamentally changed its content in recent years. Based on key customer support services (call centers) in the period 2010 -2013, where processes and technologies were relatively standardized and uniform, the need of the business grew into customer service with high added value. It demanded the processing of far more complex processes involving much more analytical activity, building, maintaining and providing growth in core business activities such as marketing, sales, accounting, human resources, etc. That is why this sector is in need of specialists in human resources management, financial and accounting outsourcing, IT specialists, Plamen Tsekov said. Some 80-90% of the outsourcing activities in Bulgaria are concentrated in Sofia. The added value of the outsourcing sector in Sofia reached a record-breaking BGN 2.2 billion, according to official statistics, Vladimir Danailov said.
The problem with the staff is in the focus of SIA and together with the business and the Ministry of Education and Science, a new digital platform is being developed to give schools and universities a specific opportunity to work with business representatives in the city, Danailov stressed. Nowadays, our sector of the economy requires not only proficiency in two or more foreign languages, but also engineering and business skills, Tzekov added.
According to the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association’s report, the outsourcing business is expected to generate a turnover of EUR 2.5 billion by 2020. The sector is seen to reach 4.3% share of GDP and to increase its number of employees to 62,500. By the end of 2016, more than 47,800 people have been employed in this industry and the data for 2017 is expected to report an increase of about 12%. A total of 1.5% of all income taxes paid in the state treasury in 2016 come from the outsourcing industry and 0.9% of companies’ operating income is for taxes.
The outsourcing industry is the backbone of the middle class in
Innovation Norway just launched the Call for Travel Support under the new Programme “Business Development, Innovation and SMEs”, Bulgaria. The objective of the Travel Support is to facilitate establishment of bilateral partnerships between Norway and Bulgaria with the intent to participate in the upcoming call(s) under the Programme. Travel grants up to EUR 1’000 are available to private businesses from Bulgaria and Norway. For more information about the Call, please visit http://investsofia.com/en/innovation-norway-launches-a-call-for-travel-support
The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Serbia opened the second Call for project proposals under the Interreg-IPA CBC Bulgaria – Serbia 2014-2020, co-funded by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II) of EU.
The total budget of the Call for project proposals is in the amount of EUR 12 121 602.
The program will fund projects in one of the following areas – Sustainable Tourism, Youths and Environment.
All conditions and the full package of application documents can be found here: http://www.infobusiness.bcci.bg/project-223-1-18.html
The procedure “Support for resource efficiency pilot and demonstration initiatives” under the Innovation and Competitiveness Operational Program 2014-2020 is now open. The program aims at increasing the resource efficiency of enterprises through development and implementation of technological solutions and methods that are pilot for Bulgaria and are product or production innovation. Eligible applicants are micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises with a minimum of three financial years closed before the date of announcement of the procedure that have earned a minimum income of BGN 120 000.
The minimum amount of funding is BGN 200 000 and the maximum depends on the size of the enterprise. The total budget for the procedure is BGN 71 644 656. The procedure allows both individual applications and application in partnership with another company. The deadline for application is April 23.
Don’t forget that you can use the services of Enterprise Europe Network at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to find foreign partners through the business offer database. The services of the organization are free of charge and target all small and medium-sized enterprises. The offers are available here.