The software company ATPCO specializing in the development of software for ticket price formation and retailing, and various corporate tools for the aviation industry, will open its new office in Sofia, the company announced. It will be its only office in the EU and will start with a team of 5 people. The team will be led by Boyan Hristov, who has previously worked on various projects with ATPCO. The new office plans to expand its team to 15 people by the end of 2020. This decision is motivated by the company’s vision of Bulgaria as a rapidly developing technology market with qualified specialists.
The Bulgarian office will be working on the development of the Next Generation Storefront (NGS) system, the company’s new standard which allows better presentation, selection, and search of the products of the airline companies by the customers.
ATPCO works with more than 430 airline companies worldwide and delivers 99% оf the fare-related data in the industry. The company is owned by 15 of the biggest airlines in the world including Air Canada, Air France, British Airways, American Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Delta Air, Lufthansa и United Airlines. ATPCO now has offices in Dulles, VA, where the company is headquartered; London, UK; New York, NY; Miami, FL; and Singapore. You can read the full announcement on the company’s website.
Dreams Trans has begun the construction of a logistics park in the industrial zone of Bozhurishte. The project is worth BGN 25 million and will be completed by mid-2021.
The logistics park of the Bulgarian transport company will include a large warehouse and other built-up facilities with а total floor area of a bit over 35 000 sq. m.
The complex will have 25 000 sq. m of storage areas and 40 000 pallets. There will be a truck service, a gas station, and charging stations for electric cars. The project also includes a restaurant, a hotel with 35 rooms for the needs of the company and the businesses around it, a spa centre, a swimming pool, a fitness centre for the employees, and an office area.
The project will be carbon neutral with 1.1 megawatts of photovoltaics on the warehouse roofs and gas powered air conditioning.
Dreams Trans decided to choose Bozhurishte because of its key location at a crossroads. Another defining factor is the surrounding traffic between Turkey and Europe and along the North-South axis (Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania to Greece). The transport company also sees prospective new clients among the other companies in the economic zone.
The logistics park is expected to start operating by the middle of 2021 at the latest.
The American Yotpo acquired Sofia’s SMSBump – an SMS marketing platform founded less than three years ago. Only a year after its launch, the Bulgarian startup raised €360K – 175K from a business angel and 200K from Eleven’s second funding round for a 5.7% share of the company. Although the exact deal amount remains undisclosed, according to Eleven Ventures this is the highest price ever paid for a company backed by a Bulgarian VC. The first place used to be occupied by Vayant, which was sold for $35M.
SMSBump has a team of 20 people and a customer base of 28 000 e-commerce merchants, with 85% of them located in the USA and Canada. The UK, Spain, and France are among the firm’s markets in Europe, and it also has clients in Asia and Oceania. According to Mihail Stoychev, the clients of SMSBump have generated over $100M of additional revenue thanks to the platform, and the company’s revenue for 2019 approaches BGN 7.5M.
The American Yotpo is a leading marketing e-commerce platform with headquarters in New York. The company has over 400 employees and provides integrated solutions for product reviews, user-generated content and loyalty programmes. You can find the official announcement of Yotpo’s acquisition of Sofia’s SMSBump here.
Back in 2015, four friends gathered in Sofia to form the management team of a new company. They were all professionals in their respective fields – IT, Project Management and Sales. And they had an international background but decided to return to Sofia and launch Bulbera.
Bulbera already had a few products that were in TOP 10 at the Blackberry World online shop. The same year the company launched the parental control app Protect Your Kid which was made in cooperation with the German security company Netcos. In the following three years the app was downloaded over 100 000 times all over the world, including in high-tech countries like Japan and the USA. While working on the parental control app, the Bulbera team launched a CSR campaign in Sofia aiming to educate kids, parents and teachers on how to be safe online. The program became popular quickly and spread across the whole country. As a result, Bulbera became a trusted partner of the National Police Cybercrime Forces, SAFENET and the National Agency for Child Protection.
In the meantime, the company grew, reaching 17 Developers and 3 offices in 2019. Currently, Bulbera’s portfolio includes clients such as Nokia, Telenor, Takeaway, Caritas, Pleven Medical University and many more. The team works in three verticals – Healthcare, Telecoms and Leisure & Hospitality.
Deyan Blagoev, Business Development Manager at Bulbera, and a frequent guest of TV Shows, conferences, schools and all type of events related to child cyber security, shares with us what makes Sofia the place to launch a successful business and to develop local solutions with global application.
An outsourcing destination becoming a developer of local solutions with global application – is this a real trend here, in Sofia?
Sofia started as an outsourcing destination many years ago. Gradually, many new businesses and startups emerged, and currently they are offering a full range of innovative solutions. These businesses employ highly skilled professionals that change and improve the ecosystem and guarantee the quality of the products and services. For example, one of the biggest movie studios that shoots films for Hollywood is based in Sofia. And recently, a Sofia-based Bulgarian company won a technological Oscar award for its software for visual effects. There are numerous other examples in many sectors, such as the IT, Creative & Biotech sectors.
How do you evaluate the overall business climate in Sofia today?
I think Sofia