German media company ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE announced the opening of a development centre in Sofia during the js.talks conference. The team here will develop products for various platforms which will allow viewers to interact with the media content.
Currently, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE has a team of 40 people in Sofia. The local development centre was created by the Bulgarian software developing company Dreamix and the HR consultancy BIKA Services that focuses on building IT teams.
With the opening of its office in Sofia, ProSiebenSat.1 will seek to modernise the content offering via a platform that enables the interactive participation of viewers. The goal is to utilize the trend of increased consumption of entertainment and information content over the internet, as opposed to traditional TV viewing.
The German television giant, known mainly for the Pro7 and Sat.1 channels, reaches 45 million German-speaking households in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The company is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and has a market capitalisation of nearly €3 billion. In addition to TV channels, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE also has its own movie studios that produce content for platforms such as Amazon and Netflix.
Visteon Corporation (Nasdaq: VC), the world’s leading supplier of automotive digital instrument clusters introduced the industry’s first fully digital cluster displaying holographic objects. The innovation was developed at Visteon’s second largest development centre in Sofia.
The instrument cluster represents the first real 3D cluster in automotive production and will be a part of the new 3D i-Cockpit® on the all-new PEUGEOT 208.
Partnering with Groupe PSA to develop a pioneering “3D Blade” concept, Visteon’s digital cluster displays advanced reflections to create the impressions of 3D graphics. The cluster is composed of a high-definition 10.25-inch “background’ thin-film transistor (TFT) and a 7-inch “foreground” TFT projected on a semi-reflective blade. The leading-edge display creates a 3D projection of approximately 15 mm between the front and rear images.
The PEUGEOT 208 cluster’s projection offers styling teams the flexibility to create depth with rotating menus and shadow effects and, importantly, bring distribution of key information to the driver – including priority information such as speed and alerts. The display also allows animations to pass dynamically from the foreground to the background in ADAS modes or as 3D animations in a number of configurable colors and skins.
Ivan Mihaylov, operations manager for Visteon in Sofia, said: “The reliable performance of Visteon’s 3D cluster is guaranteed by two high-end independent CPU systems with DDR3 memory modules. The embedded electronics, mechanics and software comply with the highest automotive design standards allowing stable behavior in extreme environmental conditions. The advanced hardware provides three HD video outputs, 11 power supply sources for the various board voltage levels and gigabit serial interface with the rest of the vehicle electronics.”
Visteon Electronics Bulgaria is the second largest development center of the company with more than 680 employees, focused currently on the design and development of over 30 projects for millions of cars in future mass production.
Visteon is a global technology company that designs, engineers and manufactures innovative cockpit electronics and connected car solutions for the world’s major vehicle manufacturers. Visteon is driving the smart, learning, digital cockpit of the future, to improve safety and the user experience. Visteon is a global leader in cockpit electronic products including digital instrument clusters, information displays, infotainment, head-up displays, telematics, SmartCore™ cockpit domain controllers, and the DriveCore™ autonomous driving platform. Visteon also delivers artificial intelligence-based technologies, connected cars, cybersecurity, interior sensing, embedded multimedia and smartphone connectivity software solutions. Headquartered in Van
Hitachi Solutions has opened an IT centre in Sofia. The office starts its operations with a team of 10 people and plans to expand to 50 specialists over the next two years.
The company is in close partnership with Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and wants to establish a Hitachi Solutions student program, which will hire and train young professionals every year.
The site in Sofia is part of the expansion of the firm’s European subsidiary Hitachi Solutions Europe. In 2012, the unit started with 35 professionals, and currently employs over 800 in offices in the UK, Germany, France and Portugal, and now in Sofia.
Globally, the company has over 3 000 employees. Its focus areas are digital transformation and Microsoft Cloud BI solutions.
Animoto, the first fully Bulgarian collaborative robot developed by Giga Automata, will enter mass production in the beginning of next year. Аll of the electronics of the Animoto cobot are manufactured entirely in Bulgaria and its price will be €10 000. During an interview with Economy.bg, Georgi Arabadzhiev, co-founder and manager of Giga Automata, stated that this is the lowest price on the European market.
Animoto has already attracted a lot of interest among Bulgarian companies, especially in the food industry, which involves work on production lines and packaging activities, as well as in industries that include precision assembly activities, sensors and more. Despite the initial idea of first launching on an external market, Giga Automata is currently planning to prioritize automating the activities of companies on the domestic market.
Animoto is a standard collaborative robot that can work together with humans. It is capable of carrying a weight of up to 5 kg to a distance of one meter. With specific settings, it can paint, weld, work in logistics or perform other activities, depending on the specific needs of the enterprise. Animoto’s expected life cycle is 10 years.
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
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.
A little over a year after I announced Rhyme on @ngconf 2018, as a former co-founder and CTO of the company, I'm thrilled to share that it is joining forces with @Coursera after a successful acquisition!https://t.co/DcMDCzAPI8https://t.co/9Z8sfGFwSl pic.twitter.com/1BH4TXtm5y
— Minko Gechev (@mgechev) August 29, 2019
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.
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.
Very happy to be part of the official opening of #JYSK #Balkan distribution center in #Sofia with PM @BoykoBorissov, MoE @EmKaranikolov & CEO Jan Bøgh – Major #Danish investment strengthening 🇩🇰🇧🇬 cooperation @DanishMFA @thetradecouncil @DanskErhverv #dkpol #dkbiz @simonkollerup pic.twitter.com/GJjujZtLxN
— Søren Jacobsen 🇩🇰 (@DKambBulgaria) September 12, 2019
StorPool is recognized as the fastest block storage software for building and managing powerful public and private clouds. StorPool systems are incredibly fast, starting from 1,000,000 IOPS and <0,2 latency. The Sofia-based company provides a software-defined storage solution for demanding customers, where low latency, high IOPS, online scalability and high availability are important.
The mission of the company is to make storage simpler and more affordable by delivering the best software-defined storage system for entreprises building Clouds.
The block-level, distributed storage software was designed by the Bulgarian team from the ground up and is arguably the fastest and most reliable software-defined storage solution on the market today.
StorPool Storage aims at helping cloud builders to build simpler, smarter, more efficient clouds, at much lower costs and boost their margins. The company delivers on its mission by developing the fastest and most efficient distributed storage software and making it available on a global scale.
Boyan Ivanov, CEO at StorPool Storage, tells us what makes Sofia a place to launch a successful business and develop locally solutions with global application.
Please tell us briefly about your investments in Sofia? What does your company do in Bulgaria and outside?
StorPool is a software vendor. We develop software for companies, which build so called public and private clouds – hosting companies, telecoms, enterprises. We help these companies to speed up their business and increase the cost-effectiveness and reliability of their infrastructure. Our customers are spread around the world.
However, most of the product development is carried out in Sofia. Subsequently, we are one of the active participants in the local IT ecosystem.
What motivated you to invest in Sofia?
As said above, StorPool’s development center is in Sofia. A big motivator for investing here is the quality of the experts and the number of skilled developers which are available here.
StorPool not only provides high-quality products and services but develops and invents them here. Tell us more about the solutions that the Sofia-based team develops locally?
StorPool works in a very specific sector – IT infrastructure for other businesses, which have a lot of data. We develop a data storage solution, which we sell globally. It is an innovative way of storing data, lately known as “software-defined storage”. It is better than existing data storage solutions, known as “SAN” in all meaningful
Odelo Farba, the subsidiary of Odelo Group in Bulgaria opened a development centre in Sofia. The company is a key supplier to Mercedes and the team in the capital will work on the design of the taillights of automobiles, which should go into production two years after the initial design phase.
The centre starts with 10 highly-qualified engineers and plans to increase their number to 20 by the end of the year, and to employ 40 people within three years. They will work in several disciplines, including engineering, optics, electronics, and testing, Odelo Farba said.
The development centre in Sofia is part of the 40 million-еuro investment in Bulgaria announced by odelo last year. The other project of the group is the construction of a production base near Plovdiv. The company received a Class A Investor Certificate from the Ministry of Economy for its investment in the country.
About the company
Odelo Bulgaria Ltd is part of the Turkish Bayraktarlar Holding. The company is a leading supplier of automotive lights and works with major car manufacturers such as Daimler, BMW, Audi, VW, Renault, Toyota and others. The holding also includes companies in the insurance, construction and tourism sectors.
The company has factories in Germany, Slovenia, Turkey and China, as well as development centres in Stuttgart (Germany) and Bursa (Turkey). The group employs nearly 4,000 professionals.
Germany-based Varengold Bank opened a branch in Sofia at the end of 2018, following its strategy to expand its business in the fast-growing economies in Southeast Europe (SEE). The branch in Sofia will serve as a hub from which Varengold will operate across the entire SEE region. The bank’s mission is to support and finance online marketplaces, predominantly Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending platforms, that provide consumers and companies with faster, easier and more affordable loans and financial solutions than those offered by established banks. As such, Varengold Bank’s goal is to become the preferred partner of Fintechs in the area of Marketplace Banking. Additionally, it supports foreign trade-oriented companies in niche markets by providing transaction/commercial banking services.
The team of Varengold Bank’s Sofia Branch is comprised of experts in the field of banking and technology. Its General Manager, Sergey Panteleev, has 12-year’s experience in corporate and investment banking and structured finance.
Sergey Panteleev tells us what makes Sofia a place to establish a successful SEE regional center.
Varengold opened its office in Sofia nine months ago as part of the Bank’s expansion in Southeastern Europe. Why Sofia?
I could mention more than a dozen reasons, but let me give you three: Firstly, Sofia boasts a wide range of highly-educated professionals across almost every sector of the economy, but especially in the fields of IT, ICT, Tech and Finance. Secondly, as international rankings confirm, the city is among the most business-friendly in Europe thanks to an ecosystem that is entrepreneurial, startup-friendly, innovative, and generally strong in R&D. Last, but not least, Sofia is very competitive in terms of cost effectiveness. Also, let’s not forget the advantages that almost everyone takes for granted: The EU membership and the low currency risk. At Varengold Bank, we believe that with its strategic location, Sofia is the perfect starting point for our expansion in Southeast Europe (SEE). The city will serve as a hub for our operations across the whole region, which in our view will continue to outperform the average growth rate in the EU. We are happy that we are here and we are looking forward to accelerating the development of the region further with our projects.
In June, Varengold acquired 20% of the Sofia-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Klear. What do you expect from the investment and how do you see the Fintech sector in Sofia and the region?
ARC Academy – the first multidisciplinary creative academy of its kind – opens in Sofia Tech Park this autumn. Students of the Academy will be able to study in four areas: game development, brand building, film production and space design.
ARC Academy has attracted business partners to teach the disciplines. The training process will involve companies that are leaders in their respective industries. They will give students the opportunity to participate in joint projects, in a real business environment and with latest material base, which the standard university environment lacks, thus slowing down employee development compared to the pace of development and business needs. In this way, the Academy will realise its concept of being a practical educational platform in which businesses find and train their future staff.
ARC Academy is supported by the Bulgarian Entrepreneurship Center (BEC) and Sofia Tech Park. For the Advertising and Brand Management specialty, the Academy is in partnership with the Varna University of Management (VUM) and students will be able to graduate with a Master’s degree.
The creators of the project are Anthony Christov and Milin Dzhaliev. Anthony Christov returned to Sofia after 30 years working in Hollywood in positions including Art Director at Pixar productions like Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Incredibles 2, and others. Milin Dzhalaliev is an expert in advertising and branding and has worked in various management positions, including 10 years as manager of Saatchi & Saatchi at Publicis Groupe Bulgaria.
The Academy’s plans include standard training formats and online courses. The first classes start in October and the call for applications is already open.