Project GATE Launch: Setting Up Big Data and Artificial Intelligence Excellence Center at Sofia University


As part of the GATE project, a Big Data and AI excellence center will be established at Sofia University’s Lozenetz campus. The center will be part of a network of 55 Big Data centers in Europe and it will be the first one in Eastern Europe.


The goal is to create a big data and artificial intelligence excellence center with three modern labs that will process data sets in four areas – Future Cities, Intelligent Government, Smart Industry and Digital Healthcare. 

GATE project – Big Data for an Intelligent Society  launched in October with an event at Sofia University. 

The project will receive seven-year funding totalling € 30 million from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program WIDESPREAD-01-2018-2019 Teaming Phase 2 with co-financing by the Bulgarian government and the industry. It will employ more than 100 people. 

GATE is a joint initiative of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, which acts as a coordinator, Chalmers University and Chalmers Industrial Technologies, Sweden. 

The aim of GATE is to develop research capacity and innovative potential and to shape a new generation of young scientists capable of applying science to the benefit of the society. Innovations will be developed in three state-of-the-art technology labs – for modelling of processes in an urban environment (City Living Lab), for interdisciplinary industrial collaboration (Digital Twin Lab) and for virtual reality and visualization of big data (Open Visualization Lab). A newly constructed building on the Sofia University’s Lozenetz campus will host the center.

The laboratories will be at the heart of a vibrant ecosystem where innovative ideas will be generated, developed into projects and promoted in an effective collaboration with government, industry, academia and community organisations. For example, the labs will develop digital models of cities to support the planning of roads, buildings, the management of transport and urban traffic.

Thanks to multidisciplinary educational programs at European and global level, GATE will train excellent researchers and professionals in the field of artificial intelligence and big data. An educational lab will support the implementation of new methods for personalised and interactive learning.

“For the first time in Europe, there is a Center of Excellence with Bulgaria as a participant – it shows that young people, our young talents have their future here, in the country, and in Europe,” commented Ms Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society during the event for the official launch


Coursera Establishes R&D Center in Sofia with the Acquisition of Rhyme Softworks


The global e-learning platform Coursera announced the acquisition of the US-Bulgarian startup Rhyme Softworks and its product that lets developers execute hands-on, virtual e-learning projects from the internet browser. 

This is the first-ever acquisition the online education platform has made. Coursera now values at more than $1 billion, works with some 190 universities to deliver 3,600 online courses to 43 million learners since its establishment in 2012.

With the acquisition of Rhyme Softworks, Coursera is launching a new offering called Coursera Labs, which will let educational institutions and industry partners build their own hands-on learning projects, powered by the Rhyme technology. 

The terms of the deal remain undisclosed but it includes not just Rhyme’s IP and related assets, but the Sofia-based team of six, who will now form the basis of the new Coursera’s R&D office in Bulgaria. Coursera plans to invest in the center in Sofia as part of its Coursera Labs initiative.

Coursera Labs aims at bringing flexibility and customization to those subjects into the e-learning platform that have strong project and development components to them.

“The new capability will allow partners to create hands-on projects using almost any third-party software application, offered as standalone projects or integrated into courses. Rhyme truly embraces the concept of “learning by doing” and, moving forward, we see big opportunities to use Rhyme to extend the capabilities we’ll offer with Coursera Labs. With this acquisition, we will also expand Rhyme’s office in Sofia to focus on Labs-powered innovation efforts”, the official announcement says. 



Genius Sports Opens Office for a Larger Team in Sofia


London-based Genius Sports has opened a new larger office in Sofia with plans to expand its team to 400 people. The company develops IT solutions for tracking and collection of real-time data and statistics about sports competitions in football, volleyball, basketball, golf and others. Its clients include sports federations, professional leagues, betting companies, and its data reaches 30 million people worldwide. 

The new larger office in Sofia is located in the Megapark Business Center on Tsarigradsko Shose Blvd. The expanded team will work on managing the data the company receives and distributes in over 150 countries. The organisation is already recruiting specialists for 12 different positions related to programming, data analysis, quality control and more. 

Genius Sports has been in Bulgaria since 2015. Headquartered in London, the company has offices in 15 more locations across six continents.

“Genius Sports first invested into Bulgaria four years ago and we haven’t looked back. The talent we’ve been able to attract has been hugely impressive, building one of our largest global locations and continually enhancing business-critical services that are used by the largest brands in sports and betting,” Stephen Gardner, Chief Services and Delivery Officer at Genius Sports Group, said in an official press release.


JYSK Opens New Distribution Centre in Sofia Worth Over EUR 107 Million

The Danish chain store JYSK officially opened its distribution centre in the Economic Zone Sofia-Bozhurishte. The investment in the facility amounts to EUR 107 million. 


The centre includes two 42.4m tall buildings, where the operations are fully automated and don’t need human intervention, as well as one administrative building, which will accommodate over 200 people when at full capacity. 


The logistics centre in Bozhurishte will serve more than 200 JYSK stores in Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The total area of the site is 95,000 m2. It has a storage capacity of about 125,000 pallets.


The inauguration took place in the presence of the Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov, the JYSK CEO & President Jan Bøgh, Denmark’s Ambassador to Bulgaria HE Søren Jacobsen and the Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. According to Emil Karanikolov, the contracted investments in the industrial zone near Sofia amount to over BGN 530 million so far, and the new jobs announced by the investors are close to 1,600. You can see the official announcement of the company here.