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“Why Sofia?” with the Austrian Innovation Magazine Trending Topics

New year, new launch. In early January, the Austrian Trending Topics, the first journopreneurial platform in CEE, officially launched operations in Sofia as the first step of its strategy to expand in Eastern Europe. The local team aims at building a new generation community-based media for the new economy in Bulgaria.


Trending Topics Story:

Trending Topics started in 2016 as an Austrian tech & startup blog. Today it is a separate venture led by Jakob Steinschaden and Bastian Kellhofer and a digital platform for news and analysis from the startup and digital ecosystem with a continuously growing audience. Trending Topics has around 120K unique monthly readers mostly from Austria and Germany, and recently from Bulgaria. The new-generation digital media also works on different communication products and strategies with well-known brands like Erste Group, Raiffeisen, Kapsch, T-Mobile, Verbund, WKO (The Austrian Chambers of Commerce), among others.

The media company has managed to attract €170K by some of the most credible and prominent VCs in Austria: Speedinvest, startup300, Russmedia, Puls4 and Business Angels Hansi Hansmann, Michael Altrichter and Martin Giesswein. Having established and proven the model in Austria, Steinschaden and Kellhofer made the strategic decision to expand into a new region.

Eastern Europe as a rising tech ecosystem lacking media coverage was a logical choice. The expansion was supported by the Vienna Business Agency.


In Sofia:

The local team wants to fill the innovation journalism gap on the Bulgarian and Eastern European market. On one hand, Trending Topics aims to provide high-quality coverage of the startup, tech and innovation processes in the respective market. On the other, it aims at scouting and training a new generation of tech and business journalists who think and report within an innovation paradigm.

The journopreneurial platform hopes to find the support and partners to launch a journalism academy by the end of 2019.

The local team is led by two Bulgarian ladies with professional background in Vienna – Irina Obushtarova and Alexandra Kozbunarova.

Irina Obushtarova, who has been a supporter in the founding process of Trending Topics in Austria, will lead the operations in Sofia. Obushtarova has spent the past 11 years in Vienna where she started her career as Head of Sales at the Viennese magazine Biber. She later worked for Kobza Media Group and later switched to the IT-Sector, where she was responsible for the marketing of various software solutions.

Alexandra Kozbunarova, who will lead the newsroom, has also started her career in Vienna as a contributor to the magazine Biber and the local paper Wiener Bezirkszeitung. Four years ago Kozbunarova moved back to Bulgaria to join the largest business media Capital. She later joined the non-governmental initiative EDIT, which supports innovative economic development, researches and maps the local startup ecosystem.


TrendingTopics.at publishes news, analyses and video content on Europe’s entrepreneurial and technological ecosystem in English and German. The Bulgarian division publishes its content in English and focuses on news and success stories from Sofia and Bulgaria, as well as on important startup and tech topics from Europe and the world.


Why Sofia with Alexandra, Bastian, Irina and Jakob


A media that closely and continuously covers the startup ecosystem and different processes related to its development has been a missing piece. Especially in the past 2-3 years. We want to build a credible platform that gives a comprehensive picture of the new generation of businesses here and in the region, but also consolidates the accumulated knowledge.Alexandra Kozbunarova, Newsroom Lead, Sofia


Our readers and community don’t think in categories like nationality but live and work naturally in a connected world where physical borders don’t play a major role. We are first of all Europeans and Trending Topics is a reflection of our values.Bastian Kellhofer, co-founder at Trending Topics


I am really excited, we have now the opportunity to copy the success model of Trending Topics in my home country. The local startup and innovation ecosystem is maturing at an impressively high pace. Our mission is to be part of its progress and communities, to empower it with a voice and the international visibility it deserves.Irina Obushtarova, Team Lead, Sofia


Our goal is to establish a Pan-European business media that connects the European innovation hubs. We found the ideal testing ground in Bulgaria. The startup branch is flourishing. There is no other young digital business publication and we found a team that shares our vision.Jakob Steinschaden, co-founder at Trending Topics