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
The Sofia-based Prospecto will be acquired by the German Offerista Group. Both companies are developing digital retail marketing platforms that bring together the offerings of retail chains.
Offerista works with retailers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France. Prospecto Group is one of the leading companies in Central and Eastern Europe and collaborates with over 100 retailers and brands in 16 countries in the region. In addition to Sofia, Prospecto has offices in Budapest and Bucharest. With the acquisition of the Bulgarian company, Offerista Group will expand its business to new markets in Europe and to nearly 40 million customers.
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but Prospecto announced that the company will continue to be managed by its founder and CEO Ognyan Popov after the acquisition. The Sofia-based company was admitted to the pilot edition of the Dare to Scale growth program by the Bulgarian office of Endeavor. The program is aimed at scale-ups with big potential for future growth.
You can find more information about the exit in the blog of Endeavor Bulgaria.
A team of Bulgarian developers is at the heart of the latest huge leap in multi-cloud and hybrid cloud analytics. The thirty IT specialists are part of the Bulgarian team of AtScale, and their product is unique, with no equivalent in the world, according to the US software company.
The whole coding, architecture, automatic and manual testing process of AtScale 2020.1 has been carried out entirely in Sofia and fully entrusted to Bulgarian engineers, thus becoming an important step towards the fulfillment of the ambition of the Silicon Valley-based company to start building 60% of its software at the Sofia-based Technology Center by the end of 2020 .
Redefining traditional data virtualization and delivering upon the promise of cloud transformation, AtScale 2020.1 provides secure, self-service analysis while reducing compute costs by 10x, query performance improvements of more than 12.5x and enhanced user concurrency by 61x (Source: AtScale Cloud Data Warehouse Benchmark Report).
“AtScale 2020.1 is a major step toward achieving our long-term vision of delivering intelligent data virtualization to every enterprise. And the culprits for this exceptional product are our people in Sofia,” said Christopher Lynch, Executive Chairman and CEO of AtScale.”
When we first came to Bulgaria 1 year ago, we made a commitment that our future team here would work on par with the teams in California and Boston, and that they would build a product from start to finish. I’m happy we were able to bring together the best folks and give them the opportunity to do engineering at the highest level,” said Mathew Baird, Founder and CTO, AtScale.
Delivering on the promise of a single enterprise view of all analytics data, AtScale’s enhanced autonomous data engineering alleviates the performance and scale challenges of traditional data federation, manual data engineering and reliance on query caches. Additional enhancements in AtScale 2020.1 include a virtual cube catalog for simplified management of data assets and granular policy control that integrates natively with existing enterprise data catalog offerings.
“We have the chance to build a product with world-class features and functionalities. It wasn’t easy, but we are all very excited and happy with the final result. Every day, we are working on some of the most interesting technology challenges in the cloud, AI and machine learning, and we can’t wait to see what’s the big step ahead,” said Dimitar Manev, DevOps Lead in the Sofia team of AtScale.
Just four months after getting a foothold in Sofia, Coursera announced its plans to expand in the Capital and double its team. The global online learning platform opened an office in Sofia with the acquisition of the US-Bulgarian startup Rhyme Softworks.
The company will expand its engineering team and will focus on the creation of customised hands-on project trainings in the platform for the employees of corporate clients.
Coursera is a leading online training platform with over 45 million students worldwide. The platform collaborates with nearly 200 universities with a world-renowned image. About 2 000 companies train their talents through the platform.
Coursera invests in its centre in Sofia as part of its Coursera Labs initiative. It aims to provide the flexibility and personalisation of those courses part of the platform that involve work on practical projects and developments. Coursera acquired Rhyme Softworks for its product, which allows developers to create learning projects accessible through an Internet browser quickly and easily. It is precisely the upgrading of this product that will allow the creation of practical training tasks by the incorporation of the necessary third-party software applications.
The construction company Cordeel Bulgaria, a local unit of the Belgium-based Cordeel Group, has begun the construction of a modern office and logistics centre for the distributor Orbico Bulgaria, part of the Croatian Orbico Group. The investment is € 26.5 million and 500 staff will work in the centre after it is complete.
The logistics base will include offices and warehouses with a total area of 57,000 sq m. It is located near Botevgradsko Shosse road and its construction should be completed by mid-2021.
Orbico Bulgaria’s logistics centre will handle the storage and distribution of brands of Philip Morris Bulgaria, Shell Bulgaria, Mars and Procter & Gamble.
The Bulgarian online fashion store Remixshop.com is the Central and Eastern Europe’s first and only to implement EU policies for sustainable textile management practices in its business model. The store belongs to the Sofia-based Remix Global, which offers the “Sell to Remix” service in nine European countries, allowing customers to extend the life of unwanted clothing and accessories by sending them free of charge to the company’s logistics centre in Sofia.
As part of its plan to grow the business in a sustainable direction, Remix initially launched the service in Bulgaria and Romania and then in Poland, Germany and Austria. In 2019, the service became available to the other markets where the online store operates — Greece, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
“Sell to Remix” allows customers to send their gently used clothing and accessories to be sold on remixshop.com with easy, free-of-charge shipping and receive a percentage of the final price. The money earned can be used for purchases from the website, transferred to a personal account or donated to SOS Children’s Villages.
Unlike consumer platforms that connect sellers and buyers, Remix takes care of the clothes fully – from disinfection and defect inspection, to taking pictures, pricing and shipping to customers; unusable items are being recycled. A customer only needs to order the Remix Bag (a large, sturdy bag made of recycled polyethylene) and request a courier for return delivery to Remix.
This way, the service becomes an effective method of separate collection of textiles and prevents unwanted accumulation of textile waste.
A circular economy action plan with a focus on sustainable use of resources, especially in high-impact resource-intensive sectors such as textile and construction, has also been enshrined in the so-called Green Deal, part of the Agenda for Europe of the newly-appointed President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen.
The store handles about 300,000 items from orders every month and over 9,000 full Remix Bags from nine countries. To manage operational activities, Remix works with internally developed software and hardware products, including a proprietary ERP solution that optimises production processes.
“We are based in Sofia, because here we are able to find competent IT specialists to carry out the technological development of the various units of the company and to become more efficient and productive,” says Genoveva Petrova, CEO of Remix. According to her, businesses in the city, including small and
Financial Times just published an article titled Bulgaria attracts record tech investment. The publication states data on foreign investment to Bulgarian software and ICT, foreign greenfield investment and top sectors for foreign investment since 2015.
Bulgaria received a record amount of foreign investment in software and ICT services in 2018, with at least 16 projects valued at $240m, mostly in Sofia, the article sais.
The ICT sector had sales of $3.2bn in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 45 per cent, according to the International Data Corporation. It has more than 12,000 companies, of which 90 per cent are in Sofia, where they employ 50,000 people.
The publication cites the opinion about the business environment of foreign companies such as Acronis and Genius Sports that have already established their centers in Sofia and refers to what Cait O’Riordan, the FT’s chief product and information officer said, at the new centre’s opening: We looked at a number of locations across Asia, Europe and the UK before choosing Bulgaria. Sofia’s longstanding reputation as a centre for technical excellence, alongside its pedigree in data and artificial intelligence and its emergence as the technology capital of the Balkans, made it an irresistible destination.
One of the leading P2P lending companies, iuvo, is named runner-up in the People’s Choice category of the prestigious AltFi Awards (the winner in the category is Mintos). For more than a decade, the AltFi Awards have been a barometer of success among Europe’s leading fintech and alternative financing companies. The prizes will be awarded at a special ceremony in London in December.
In one year, the company has double the results in regards to its key performance indicators, such as attracted customers, active users, invested amounts, listed credits, etc, CEO Ivaylo Ivanov said on the recognition of the P2P investment platform.
In 2019 alone, the amount of investments in iuvo increased by 406% and the number of investors by 286%. The company is already in the Top 3 by market share in continental Europe according to Brismo, the largest alternative finance analytics site.
SEGA® Europe Ltd. announced Creative Assembly’s thrilling new strategy title reconstructing one of the greatest stories ever told, A Total War Saga: TROY™. This is the first standalone title of the Sofia-based studio after its acquisition by Creative Assembly in 2017.
A Total War Saga: TROY™ is inspired by Homer’s Iliad. The game exploits the legacy of some of the most popular heroes during the late Bronze Age and more specifically during the events surrounding the Trojan War.
Through Total War’s unique blend of grand, turn-based empire management and spectacular real time battles, Troy explores this epic conflict from both the Greek and Trojan perspectives.
In TROY, the fate of Aegean civilisation will be in the hands of the players; each choice they make will shape the lands from the mythical heights of Mount Olympus to the arid deserts of Anatolia. They will be able to experience history as it may have happened in the Iliad or shape the legend for themselves. The game follows the myths and legends in Homer’s epic poem peeling them back to reveal the realities that may have inspired them. The battlefields will tremble under the feet of renowned warriors like Achilles and Hector but it will take more than brute force alone to lay claim to the legendary city of Troy. Players will need to deftly manage a barter economy, conduct diplomacy among friends and foes, and curry the very favour of the Gods themselves before etching your name in the annals of history.
With the support of the English studio, the Bulgarian branch of Creative Assembly is the leading studio in the development of the game. The local team is responsible for all major components of the game, including stories, design, units, game mechanics, art, animations etc.
A Total War Saga: TROY will release on Steam for PC in 2020. Add it to your wish list here.
About Creative Assembly Sofia:
Creative Assembly Sofia is one of the fastest growing games development studios in Bulgaria, following its acquisition by Creative Assembly in March 2017. Since then, Creative Assembly Sofia has developed several DLCs for the award-winning Total War: Rome II, including Empire Divided, Desert Kingdoms and Rise of the Republic. A Total War Saga: Troy is Creative Assembly Sofia’s first standalone title.
About Creative Assembly™:
Creative Assembly is one of Europe’s leading games development studios,
The Sofia-based Cargotec Business Services (CBS), the global business service centre the Finland’s cargo handling solutions and services provider Cargotec, expands its operations with a regional hub in Singapore.
CBS will manage the new hub in Singapore – a crucial location for the service of the company in the Asia Pacific region.
Cargotec Business Services was established in Sofia, Bulgaria in August 2017 and its team presently consists of 310 people. The service center of the Finnish cargo-handling machinery maker Cargotec delivers world-class global business support services in the fields of finance, human resources, information management, as well as indirect procurement for the different Cargotec units across the globe. The centre currently offers services to 17 countries.
Globally, Cargotec (Nasdaq Helsinki: CGCBV) operates in more than 100 countries with more than 11,000 employees worldwide. Its three businesses, Kalmar, Hiab and MacGregor are recognised leaders in cargo and load handling solutions around the world. Through their unique position in ports, at sea and on roads, they optimise global cargo flows and create sustainable customer value.