More than 1000 young people visited the largest career forum Bulgaria Wants You: Sofia: Career and Life- Why Bulgaria? to investigate career opportunities in Bulgaria. Invest Sofia was an official institutional partner of the event that was held on June 11 – 12 in the capital.
More than 80 companies from different business sectors took part. Our team also presented the Agency’s activities and success cases of work on various projects in Sofia Municipality, as well as projects of cooperation with other Bulgarian municipalities.
The Bulgaria Wants You event was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Gabriel. A welcome speech was also given by the Chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev.
The idea behind the forum initiated by Ivan Hristov and Andrey Arnaudov is to motivate the attendees to start and develop their career path in Bulgaria by presenting different career opportunities that companies in Bulgaria can offer.
“My answer to the question Career and life – why in Bulgaria? has three aspects. First of all – the key role of talent in innovation in Bulgaria. Second, the type of innovation we should focus on. And third, how to make Bulgaria one of the most dynamic innovation ecosystems in South East Europe. I think it is important to make Bulgaria attractive for talent to choose and develop their careers here. No doubt, the role of education is crucial,” Gabriel said.
During the forum, the discussion Demography Has No Price was held, attended by policy-makers, businesses, state institutions, employers’ organisations, trade chambers, and experts. The participants discussed specific policies aimed at overcoming the negative demographic trends in the country.
“There is a job in Bulgaria for everyone who hesitates whether they will find a job in their homeland after obtaining a diploma abroad,” said the chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev. He told about his personal experience after graduating in London and gave examples of career development opportunities in Sofia-based companies.
The music producer Stanislava Armutlieva, actor Kalin Sirmenov, interior designer Alex Kovachev, Stoyan Minev from Lidl Bulgaria, Nikolay Dragiev from DXC Technology, Diana Kostova from Kaufland Bulgaria, Konstantin Kirov from ProCredit bank and entrepreneur Daniel Bachovsky also attended the event. This year the forum was held under the patronage of the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Iliana Iotova.
A record 14,000 attendees from 96 countries visited this year’s VIENNAUP’23 conference in Austria. Europe’s leading event for investment and entrepreneurship took place from 30 May to 7 June and focused on social entrepreneurship, sustainability, creative industries, female business leaders and responsible technology development with over 50 individual thematic events at 27 locations in the Austrian capital.
Part of the event were Invest Sofia’s experts from the Investment Analysis Department, Ioanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin. They took part in the panels and startup pitches during the Mobility in Action event, which took place at the Open Innovation Factory – the newly created space by the Austrian Federal Railways for co-innovation in the field of urban mobility. Ioanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin also participated in Salon Future – the platform for city representatives, startup ecosystem builders and organizations who are dedicated to building and supporting startup ecosystems in their cities. Visitors to the event had the opportunity to participate in panel discussions and networking sessions focused on topics such as building entrepreneurial communities, attracting international startups to their cities, and implementing policies that support the growth of SMEs and newly established companies.
During VIENNAUP’23, the Invest Sofia team met with representatives from the investment agencies from Austria, Poland, Hungary and Germany to talk about similarities and differences in their activities, the difficulties they encounter, and working practices. Joanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin also talked with business representatives from Japan, Italy, Israel, Austria, Hungary and Turkey.
The ViennaUP festival is a key event for the startup community not only in Austria but also for the European ecosystem. The event traditionally hosts a vast variety of thematic individual events organized by partnering companies and organisations. Investors, technology experts, people from the creative industries, policy-makers and city experts work together on latest cases and look for the best solutions. Alongside Austrian and European startups, companies from the US, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, African countries, Australia and Malaysia were part of the festival this year.
The Sofia-based manufacturer and provider of IoT and smart home solutions Allterco announced the acquisition of 60% of the Slovenian IoT company GOAP. The price of the transaction for this 1st stage of the deal amounts to EUR 2 million. The remaining 40% are subject to an Option Agreement that was signed.
With the deal, Allterco aims to expand its home automation product portfolio for end customers and enterprises. Among the company’s products are Shelly smart relays for remote control of lights, electrical appliances, sensors and home energy consumption monitoring, as well as the child GPS-GSM watch MyKi and MyKi Auto and MyKi Spot smart truckers created to track automobiles, cargo, and pets.
To further accelerate its growth, Allterco has selected Dublin, Ireland, as the base for its latest R&D hub.
The software company Luxoft to open a tech hub in Sofia, where a new team of 200 developers will work on the company’s joint project with Mercedes-Benz Group. The new department will develop in-vehicle infotainment systems (IVI) for autonomous vehicles. These are installed in the latest Mercedes A-class models. The office will also be responsible for software testing and validation activities.
Luxoft started operations in Sofia in 2014. The office is responsible for the development of solutions for the fintech sector and the automotive industry.
The Sofia-based health-tech startup FindMeCure received new funding from angel investors and its previous investor – the international fund TechStars. The amount of the deal remains undisclosed, but the company announced its intention to invest in strengthening its position in the US market and expanding its team of experts in sales, marketing and software engineering.
The company develops two clinical research platforms – FindMeCure, which helps patients access and apply for clinical trials, and TrialHub, a B2B clinical trial planning software. Both platforms are on a mission to bring research closer to patients and bring innovative treatments to market faster, avoiding the delays that clinical trials typically cause. The startup’s long-term vision is to become a B2B2C platform that enables better decisions in life sciences while helping patients around the world gain faster access to appropriate treatment.
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure management leader Ampeco has raised $16 million in venture capital in a Series A investment round led by BMW i Ventures. The company to invest the funds to strengthen its market position in North America and enlarge its engineering
For the 21st consecutive time, the international consulting company Deloitte presented its “Technology Fast 50” ranking for Central Europe. Three Bulgarian software companies were also awarded in it. These are Coursedot, StorPool Storage, and CloudCart.
The report aims to rank the fastest growing technology companies in the region. The organizations’ main ranking criterion is based on percentage revenue growth over the last four years – a minimum of € 50,000 in 2016, 2017, and 2018 and at least € 100,000 in 2019. It should also be noted that financial data of the companies are provided by the entrants themselves and are gathered via Deloitte’s online survey tool. This information is then cross-checked and passes strict verification.
Coursedot ranks first among the Bulgarian organizations, standing 13th in the ranking with a growth of 1366%. The other two domestic companies – StorPool Storage and CloudCart, ranked 46th and 50th, respectively, with a 541% and 494% increase in operating income.
Two other Bulgarian companies find a place in the special section of Deloitte’s report – Rising Stars. This category includes two more Bulgarian companies – EnduroSat and NOTOLYTIX, which mark the growth of 405% and 267%, respectively. The Rising Stars section includes organizations that cannot currently meet the core criteria to be part of Technology Fast 50 but have development potential and over € 30,000 in operating income for the previous three years.
In this year’s edition of the report, Deloitte introduces a new section – Impact Stars. It includes three companies from each country in the region, which manage to positively impact at least one of the following categories through the product or service they offer: public life, the overall business environment, innovation, environment, and social diversity. The three Bulgarian companies that fall into this section are EnduroSat, CloudCart, and ESCREO.
The Bulgarian companies awarded in the various sections of the report are among the more than 300 applicants for participation this year. The year also marked a record average growth in the distinguished organizations’ operating turnover – 1460%. This shows that the business environment in the region is suitable for the development of the companies.
The leader in the ranking this year is the Polish company Packhelp, which marks a growth of over 9000%. Nine countries are represented in the ranking this year, with the Czech Republic (21), Poland (15), and Croatia (5) representing the largest number. Bulgaria is
Nestle Bulgaria invested another BGN 23 million in a robotic production line at its factory in Sofia. The innovation was presented during an online event that included a virtual walk showing the factory’s innovations.
The investment is in a new production line of the KitKat brand, with an updated digital network that connects all machines to a single data system. In case a problem occurs, it can be solved remotely. In the current situation of an ongoing pandemic, the company considers this an opportunity of high importance to enable continuous production despite the circumstances.
“The new robotic production line guarantees faster and more efficient production at the Nestlé factory, and a safer working environment for the employees who will be trained to work with automated machines,” the company announced in an official statement.
Thus, Nestle Bulgaria works with two production lines that prepare and package 2.5 million bars of Kat Kat per day (or 1736 pieces per minute), prepared with Bulgarian flour. Of them, 95% are exported to over 35 countries abroad, including South Korea, Mexico, Qatar, South Africa, Singapore, and the Caribbean.
The factory has been operating in Sofia for 80 years, and owned by the Swiss giant Nestlé since 1994. The company employs 1,060 people, 60% of whom are employed in production activities.
The German Festo to invest 40 million euros in acquiring, designing, and building a new plant near Sofia. This will be the company’s third production facility in Bulgaria, as it has plants in Smolyan and Druzhba district in Sofia.
The plot near Sofia has an area of about 20 thousand square meters for production, logistics, office space, and technical premises. They are expected to be put into оperation in 2023. The 40 million euro investment does not include production facilities. The new plant will take on the increased demand for components for industrial automation, sensors, control pneumatic cylinders, communication modules, controllers, servo motors.
In the next four years, Festo plans to open 150 new jobs in production and as many for the technical engineering center in Sofia in order to enlarge its software, electronics, and product design and development team.
Read more about the company’s plans in the publication and the interview with Georgi Atanasov, manager of Festo Production, by Economy.bg.
Three Bulgarian software companies have entered the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 ranking for the fastest growing companies in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. These are Botron – with 503% revenue growth, Accedia – with 280% growth, and ScaleFocus – 185% revenue growth.
All three are Sofia-based companies, and the American Appfire acquired the highest-ranked – Botron, in June this year.
The Technology Fast 500 ranking is based upon available financial information over the years 2015 till 2018. It is important to note that the ranking covers companies that proactively and on their initiative, submit data on their activities, and not all potential companies. Another feature is that the ranking was closed on April 30, 2020, based on the available financial information covering the years until 2018. The number of organizations involved has not been modified based on the impact of COVID-19, and the condition of the listed companies might have changed since then.
This year’s edition ranks companies from 22 countries according to their average annual growth rate. The growth of the individual participants in the ranking varies from 157% to 39,754%.
The ranking is almost entirely dominated by companies in the field of financial technology and software development. The Top 5 includes three fintech companies, including the leader in the ranking – the British Revolut. Three of the top five companies are from the United Kingdom; the other two are from Germany. The list includes companies from Great Britain (98), the Netherlands (70), Germany (47), Sweden (46), and Belgium (35).
The German open-source software company SUSE opens an innovation hub in Sofia. The center will start operations for up to six months and will hire more than 200 employees in the coming years – software developers, digital marketing specialists, support, and project management experts.
SUSE develops solutions based on open source, cloud services infrastructure, application platforms, and more. The solutions find applications in healthcare, large data processing centers, supercomputers, and more. The company has offices in Switzerland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Great Britain, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, China, South Africa, and others. With nearly 1,600 employees worldwide, SUSE serves over 17,000 customers in 75 countries.
The Sofia engineering unit will focus on developing new open-source technological solutions and projects for autonomous cars, artificial intelligence, data analysis, and others.
The Sofia-based fintech Paynetics announced that it has acquired the German Wirecard assets in the UK and Ireland. Paynetics will take over card issuance and payment services to Wirecard’s corporate customers in both markets after the German company declared bankruptcy. According to the company’s official announcement, Sofia-based Paynetics will acquire the assets through its British subsidiary.
Paynetics is licensed across the EU, regulated by the Bulgarian National Bank, and a Member of Mastercard, Visa, SWIFT, and SEPA. The company offers next-generation payment technology solutions, including card issuing, money transfers, eWallets, mobile payments and software POS, etc.
The deal is of great significance for Bulgarian fintech in terms of expansion on the UK market and in Europe. At the beginning of the year, Paynetics raised 2.5m euros in funding from the Bulgarian-American Credit Bank (BACB), the New Vision 3 venture capital fund, and angel investors.
Sofia agrotech startup NASEKOMO has gone into partnership with the French Groupe Grimaud. Through a joint investment, the two companies will equip Nasekomo’s bio development factory near Sofia to breed improved blackflies and larvae for companies with large amounts of organic waste for processing.
The new joint venture Fly Genetics aims to launch on the European market in the second half of 2021. You will find more about the investment in the official announcement here.
Only three months ago, the Sofia-based startup NASEKOMO received an investment of 4 million euros from the Bulgarian funds NV3 and Morningside Hill, supported by the Fund of Funds in Bulgaria, and by private investors from the UK, France, South Africa, and Bulgaria.
Groupe Grimaud is one of the world leaders in multi-species animal genetics, bio-pharmacy, and Novel Farming. It has operations in more than 100 countries, generates € 320 M in turnover, and employs over 1,800 people worldwide.
Vitesse Running is a mobile app for running enthusiasts with workouts created by the best long-distance runners in Bulgaria and participants in Rio 2016- Militsa Mircheva and Yolo Nikolov.
Vitesse Running is a great solution that is highly useful for beginners and advanced runners alike. The virtual coach in the app generates a plan for each user according to their level and their training days preferences. It later adapts the plan according to the user’s performance. The workouts are meant to show beginners how exciting and diverse the running can be, and also prepare professionals for competitions.
“The main problem that runners at different levels face when using other apps is that even though they provide good detailed data to their users, that data is not analyzed and presented comprehensively “. – shares Martin Markov, co-founder and adds: ‘’Our goal was to create a mobile app that collects all the data that can be gathered from the user’s device and analyze it by using artificial intelligence in the process. Then we present that data in the form of running tips that we plan to make more personalised for each user’’.
Workouts by Olympians
Vitesse Running has more than 100 running workouts with different intensity divided into several categories: Beginners, Fat-Burning, 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon. The workouts are created by the professional athletes Militsa Mircheva and Yolo Nikolov. Militsa competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics and finished 108th in the marathon thus becoming the first Bulgarian woman to ever finish a marathon at the Olympics. Besides a professional runner himself, Yolo is the best coach of long-distance runners in Bulgaria. He also specializes in creating personalised training plans and programs.
“We joined the project because it is absolutely one-of-a-kind! It aims to prepare people on all levels to reach their goals in the most effective and individual way possible. We know that everyone has different talents which is why we created Vitesse Running. Our virtual coach will analyze your runs and show you where you have to work harder while building up the qualities you need for success.“ – says Militsa.
The team developing the app is entirely Sofia-based due to the many opportunities they see for this type of product here.
“We are originally from Sofia, so starting the business elsewhere was never an option. There are so many talented young professionals here as well as
The French company BIC has officially launched its Sofia office and plans to recruit a team of approximately 200 people by 2021. BIC Sofia Services is the world’s first BIC Shared Service Center and is part of “BIC 2022 – Invent the future” Group BIC Services (GBS) transformation plan, aimed at increasing efficiency and achieving sustainable growth.
The company had carried a long evaluation and destination selection process for its Shared Services office, which began early last year. We are glad that the Invest Sofia team partnered the company to examine the environment in Sofia and choose our beautiful and dynamic city for the place to build its team.
The new center in Sofia will consolidate the company’s administrative activities for BIC’s European Finance, Accounting, Quality Control, and Customer Service operations. The BIC Sofia Services teammates will share 2,200 square meters of office space, in Tower B of Bulgaria Mall, with a great panoramic view over the city. The company is currently recruiting specialists for 11 positions.
BIC is a world leader in stationery, lighters, and shavers. For more than 75 years, the company has provided high-quality, affordable products to consumers in over 160 countries around the world. Some of BIC’s iconic brands feature Cello®, Conté®, BIC FlexTM, Lucky Stationery, Made For YOUTM, Soleil®, Tipp-Ex®, Wite-Out®, among others. In 2019, BIC Net Sales were 1,949.4 million euros.