The Czech online grocery retailer Rohlik.cz acquires a minority stake in the Sofia-based eBag for a 500 000 euro investment and a future opportunity to double the investment with the consent of the parties to the deal. The investment in the Bulgarian e-shop is part of the European expansion of the Czech company.
eBag delivers more than 15 000 fresh food items from small farms and retailers, including meat, milk, fruit and vegetables delivered to over 35 000 households in Sofia. During the period, when crisis measures against the spread of COVID-19 were implemented, orders through the platform increased exponentially. The company expects the increased demand for and consumption of food ordered online to continue after the crisis.
With the investment, the Sofia-based company wants to accelerate its growth on the Bulgarian market and to expand its warehouse in Sofia to ensure capacity for the increased number of online orders. In the longer term, eBag wants to launch deliveries to other big cities in Bulgaria, such as Plovdiv and the cities at the Black Sea coast.
Rohlik.cz is based in Prague and is the largest online food store in the Czech Republic. Like its Bulgarian peer eBag, the retailer works with local suppliers and manufacturers. Last year, Rohlik.cz entered the Hingarian market with the acquisition of a local player and plans to expand to other countries such as Austria and Germany as well.
HeleCloud, a British technology consultant in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, announced the acquisition of 100 percent of the Sofia-based cloud software engineering company DataStork. DataStork will continue to operate under its name as a wholly owned subsidiary of HeleCloud.
Through its experience with large cloud systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) and large data for international customers such as Bosch and Uber, DataStork is in a perfect position to expand HeleCloud’s portfolio of high value-added cloud software services, founder and executive director of the Bulgarian company Doychin Yordanov sais in the official statement.
The Sofia-based DataStork was founded in 2016 and specializes in a wide range of technologies such as Microservices, IoT, Serverless, DevOps, BigData and others. The company currently employs over 20 software engineers.
The value of the deal remains undisclosed, but it is supported by BGF, an active investor in the UK and Ireland. Last year, the London fund supported HeleCloud for another acquisition – the Dutch OlinData, which specializes in open source infrastructure. The acquisition of DataStork is part of HeleCloud’s ambition to become a leading partner for public cloud services in Europe, the company says in its statement.
Since the beginning of 2017, HeleCloud is an authorized partner of Amazon Web Services and an official distributor of Amazon Web Services for Bulgaria through its company HeleCloud Bulgaria. The company is registered and based in London, among its co-founders are three Bulgarians
In addition to London, the company has offices in Hague and in Sofia. The Sofia-based team is the biggest one at this stage. In the summer of 2019, HeleCloud Bulgaria moved to a new larger office. The company has a strategic partnership with the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Sofia University for a specialized course focused on the AWS Cloud platform and some of the latest technologies in the industry.
The Sofia-based Walltopia has built the world’s tallest outdoor climbing structure onto the side of CopenHill, a waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen. The structure is 80 meters high and is designed, manufactured and installed entirely by the Bulgarian team of the company.
CopenHill is capable of converting 440,000 tons of waste into clean energy annually. The power plant is a 41,000-square-metre facility with an urban recreation centre and an environmental education hub, topped by a 400 metres long artificial ski slope, slalom course and green rooftop park with panoramic views of the Danish capital. CopenHill is part of Copenhagen’s goal to become the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.
When the power plant went under construction, the owners of the building started a tender competition where all major climbing wall suppliers were invited. The Walltopia team won the project in compliance with all of the requirements related to design, fixed budget, appearance matching the building architecture, climbing routes with varying difficulty for a supreme climbing experience – all these on a scale that has never been done before.
The climbing wall is split into four 20 metres high pitches with rest areas that use the ledges of the facade of the building itself. The wall starts on a platform above the ground level to limit people from climbing without supervision. Walltopia had to find the right balance between appearance and functionality and to create a structure that matches the impressive architecture of CopenHill, to prevent blocking the light entering the building, as well as to choose building materials that will withstand the harsh Scandinavian climate. The 80 metres construction is made of materials produced in Bulgaria and is designed, engineered, and assembled on site entirely by the Bulgarian team of Walltopia.
Find out more about the making of the CopenHill climbing wall here.
Walltopia, founded in Sofia in 1998, is the world’ s leading climbing walls manufacturer. The company has built climbing walls in more than 70 countries on 6 continents and has offices in the USA, the UK, Canada, Germany, Austria, Russia, China, the UAE and the Asia Pacific region. For its headquarters in Sofia, Walltopia has built its own office building on Tzarigradsko Shose Blvd, close to Sofia Tech Park, and has two manufacturing facilities – in Letnitsa and Bozhurishte. The company currently employs over 600 people.
The Belgian Team.blue, the largest hosting group in Western Europe, acquired the Sofia-based SuperHosting.bg – a market leader in Bulgaria in professional web hosting, domains, and VPS services. The company will continue to develop under the same brand and with the same team and management.
This is SuperHosting.bg’s second success for the last year. In 2019, the company launched an office in Belgrade and SuperHosting.RS quickly became a preferred partner for many small- and medium-sized businesses in Serbia. Following this step, the Sofia-based company wants to continue its expansion in the region at a time when the hosting industry has become one of the sectors with the highest boost by the pandemic, and digital solutions have become the only option for many businesses to keep their activity.
This is an important step that will allow us not only to expand our presence in the region but also to turn our office in Sofia into a regional hub for digital services and online business. The entry of a strategic investor for the sector, such as team.blue, positions Bulgaria as a regional center for hosting services and online business, states the company in its official statement.
SuperHosting.bg was founded in 2005 and today has a 40% share of the local market and nearly 100 employees in its office in Sofia. By joining the Belgian group, the Sofia-based company will help team.blue expand its presence in the region.
The team.blue Group includes over 30 local European brands and serves over 2 million customers in 10 markets in Europe. This is the second acquisition for the Belgian company in the last month after a deal for the Turkish hosting provider Natro in June. With the acquisition of SuperHosting, the group aims to further strengthen its position in the CEE region.
Sofia ranks 1st in the Smart City Development category and 7th in the overall ranking of Emerging Europe for the best cities for doing business in Central and Eastern Europe – Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020. Sofia is also in the Top 10 in the Quality of Life category, sharing the 5th place with Gdynia, Poland, Bratislava, and Slovakia. For the ranking, Emerging Europe investigated 75 cities in the region of developing Europe – capitals and cities with over 200,000 inhabitants.
The Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020 is part of the Emerging Europe Awards 2020 – the third edition of a program that presents the best of Europe’s developing region and honors the achievements of individuals, public and private organizations, projects, and initiatives.
Budapest has been named the most business-friendly city. The Hungarian capital also tops two of the eight categories taken into account in the ranking – Brand, and Local Authority Support. Sofia, along with Tallinn, is the winner in the category Smart City Development. Tbilisi leads in Economic Potential, Łódź in Business Climate, Bucharest in Pool of Talent, Warsaw in Infrastructure and Connectivity, and Prague in Quality of Life. Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw lead the overall ranks, where Sofia ranks 7th.
Due to the restrictive measures around Covid-19, this year, the ranking was presented online. In its publication, Emerging Europe quoted the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova on the occasion of Sofia’s recognition as one of the two leading cities in the category Smart City Development.
“Our efforts are focused on implementing innovative solutions in city governance and urban development,” she says. “Sofia is changing and the most important thing is that more and more citizens are taking part in this change. Sofia’s most valuable asset is the city’s highly educated workforce that is demanding a constantly improving city environment. We are working with a consistent focus on one strategic priority – the improvement of the quality of life of its citizens.”
TNW’s and fDi Magazine’s international panel of judges have now selected the winners and top-performing cities in the debut research and ranking entitled Tech Cities of the Future 2020/21. Data was collected for 76 locations in Europe, 25 in total were shortlisted, Sofia being among them.
We are delighted to announce that Sofia has received a high score in the following 3 categories:
Technology Cities of the Future 2020/20 is a debut ranking focused on finding those European cities with the most promising prospects for start-ups, tech and innovation investment. London, Paris and Dublin are the top-ranking cities in the overall ranking.
Cities were evaluated under five categories: Economic Potential, Innovation and Attractiveness, FDI Performance, Cost Effectiveness and Start-up Environment. In addition, surveys were collected under a sixth category – FDI Strategy. Locations that ranked in the top 20 in this category were given bonus points, which contributed to their overall score.
We believe that the next inclusion of Sofia in a prestigious international ranking is of great importance for the positive image of the city and its strong position on the global map of innovation, technology and business hubs.
fDi Magazine, in partnership with TNW, has prepared this debut issue of Technology Cities of the Future 2020/21 to highlight the impact of tech hubs on the global economy. Silicon Valley, with its high concentration of hardware and software companies, is by far the most famous representation of a tech city – but the concept has been exported and replicated across the globe. Tech cities are hugely beneficial to local, national, and international economies. They create employment, attract investment, talent, and can help re-energise local pockets in cities and more remote areas. One thing is for sure: tech cities seldom emerge on their own, rather they are often the byproduct of resolute urban planning and government intervention, the report states.
The full document is available for free download: https://www.fdiintelligence.com/article/77846
fDi Intelligence is a department of Financial Times, specializing in areas relating to investment and promotion of the investment climate globally. The professional magazine targets
The Bulgarian telemedicine platform Healee received funding of EUR 800 000 from two local VC funds in order to expand its market presence to USA, Germany, Great Britain, Australia and others.
Healee offers a remote connection between doctors and patients with video connection, exchange of photos and clinical results plus chat. The platform works for both mobile and desktop devices. The company says that since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis the platform has registered a 300% jump in online consulting sessions. The price of the consultations is determined by the medical practitioners, with the platform charging a 10% fee.
In times like these, telemedicine is essential for patients and doctors. This is the most appropriate and often the only option for people to talk to a doctor without exposing themselves and others to the risk of infection and without putting additional stress on overburdened hospitals, the company explains.
The interest in telemedicine as a service is expected to grow further after the end of the pandemic.
Healee has launched a little over one year ago and is a part of the large CampusX family.
A year after Bosch opened a software engineering center for the automotive industry in Sofia Tech Park, Bosch will also have a hardware department in Sofia to work on the engineering of key automotive control components.
According to the interview for Capital of Thomas Metz, Managing Director of Bosch Engineering Center Sofia, as a first step, the Sofia team will develop hardware for a central communication module (Automotive Gateways). Modules play an important role as a central hub for the communication of the electronic control units in an automobile.
The Sofia-based team is also a part of over 40 projects together with the company’s development units in Germany, USA, Hungary, and Romania. Projects include driver assistance systems (AI monitoring and evaluation of the behavior of drivers to prevent accidents), automated driving, electric mobility, a front-facing video camera tracking the road conditions, intelligent headlight control, and even software for electric bicycles.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis, the German company plans to expand further and continues to expand its team in Sofia. The office opened with 120 employees, and today the Sofia-based team exceeds 250 people.
The Sofia-based e-commerce platform CloudCart raised € 500 000 in funding from the venture capital fund New Vision 3 (NV3). The money comes from public funding from the Bulgarian Fund of Funds, as well as private capital. The investment will be aimed at market expansion in Europe. In return for the investment, NV3 acquires a minority stake.
CloudCart AD was founded in Sofia in 2016. The company develops the e-commerce software CloudCart which is an intuitive software for entrepreneurs who want to transfer their business quickly and easily online. Merchants can build their stores on the platform for free and sell free of charge up to their first BGN 1000 in turnover.
CloudCart has over 2000 active paid merchants in nearly 100 countries around the world, who, in turn, sell to end customers in 200 countries. CloudCart stores have reached 35 million unique visitors and over 3 million deals totaling BGN 130 million. During the COVID-19 lockdown, over 1,200 small and large businesses have managed to quickly bring their business online with CloudCart’s “Go through the crisis. Go online” campaign.In 2019, CloudCart ranked in the Top 3 of the prestigious Newsweek Best Business Tools ranking in the category “eCommerce Software”, along with some of the most popular international e-commerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce.
The American publishing and financial information media group Dow Jones will form a technology team in Sofia. The experts here will work as part of the company’s core technology team and will be engaged in the development of the Dow Jones dynamic platform that provides access to a comprehensive collection of economic and financial news and data to users worldwide.
In its portfolio, Dow Jones has world-famous brands such as The Wall Street Journal, Factiva, MarketWatch, and Financial News. Today, it is part of the News Corp group, represented in Sofia by the News UK media group, that stands behind some of the most influential media in the English-speaking world such as The Times, The Sun and The Sunday Times.
News UK formed a technology team in Sofia at the end of 2018. At that time, its partner for the formation of the Sofia office was the Bulgarian office of Questers. Now Questers is once again a strategic partner for Dow Jones’ planned expansion. News Corp has taken its decision referring to its previous positive experience in our country and the high efficiency of its operations in Sofia.
The Sofia team of Dow Jones is expected to start with ten specialists, but judging by the experience of the company in Bulgaria with its group News UK, the team members are expected to grow in number quickly.
To build and grow its Sofia-based team, Dow Jones is looking for tech-savvy DevOps and .Net Software Engineers. Learn more about the available positions here.
Alcatraz AI is relocating its teams from the Silicon Valley and Sofia offices to new, bigger spaces to welcome a growing international team and prepare for the launch of their new product for 3D facial recognition Alcatraz Rock.
The new office in the U.S. is in Redwood City, California, where a team of more than 50 experts will join efforts on scientific research and development. In Sofia, the team will have 6,500 square feet at its disposal and will serve as the company’s European center.
“As we move into mass production, the Alcatraz team is growing as well and so it was important for us to expand our office space both in Silicon Valley where we started and in our Sofia, Bulgaria location as well,” Alcatraz Founder and CEO Vince Gaydarzhiev said in an official statement, cited by BiometricUpdate.com – a leading media in the field of biometrics.
According to Vins Gaydarzhiev, the new product Alcatraz Rock is attracting a lot of attention because it offers biometric authentication without the need for touchpoints (which is now required for access control through fingerprint scanners, access control badges, turnstiles, and others). Alcatraz Rock works through 3D Facial Authentication and the COVID-19 pandemic imposed on the companies to look for new solutions for working spaces that don’t require physical touch, in ensuring secure access to the working space as well.
The company presented the new platform in February 2020, at an exhibition in Las Vegas. Developed by the same Apple engineers involved in the FaceID project, the product comes in response to the demand for new face recognition applications, which have become very popular with smartphones. The access control and security market are among the areas in which the technology finds a broad field for new applications.
In addition to pure facial recognition, Alcatraz Rock 3D also detects actions such as tailgating and piggybacking by recognizing the attempt and immediately alerting on a potentially criminal act. The solution also uses artificial intelligence and detects the behavior of people who do not naturally belong to a given environment or behave suspiciously.
Alcatraz was founded in Palo Alto, California, in 2016, and only a year later opened an office in Sofia. From the very beginning, the Bulgarian engineering team has been involved in the development of the company’s products. There are nearly 20 employees here, and the company is currently recruiting more specialists
The World Bank intends to expand its office in Sofia and add new services such as corporate security, accounting, human resources and public procurement to its operations in the city. The announcement was made at a meeting of the Bulgarian Council of Ministers.
Due to its plans for more activities in the country, the bank will lease 650 square metres of office space in addition to the 4,000 square metres rented in January in the Advance Business Center II building currently under construction by the Polish company GTC near the Business Park in the Mladost neighborhood.
The agreement on the World Bank’s entry into Bulgaria was signed just a year ago after a long process of evaluating the environment in several competing locations on criteria such as stability, quality of the IT infrastructure, advanced technology sector, competences of the labor force. Thus, Sofia became the group’s second shared services center after the one in Chennai, India, which opened in 2001. At the opening of the office, the bank announced its intention to hire 300 specialists in the city within five years.
The Advance Business Center II building should be completed by the end of this year. It will offer 17,500 square metres of Class A office space on 10 floors, a three-level underground parking garage, food courts and a LED video wall.