The Bulgarian Innovation Hub (BIH) has welcomed a new cohort of potential future unicorns from SEE to their Spring 2022 accelerator program. The 5 selected companies venturing on an exclusive journey from Bulgaria to the Silicon Valley in support of their global expansion are Humans in the Loop, StorPool, ProductLead, Augment, and Rush. The 3-week equity-free program started on May 9th and will take place online.
Graduates from the previous BIH accelerator include some of the most successful companies in the SEE ecosystem – OfficeRnD, Dronamics, EnduroSat, Econic One, and FindMeCure. Leading VCs and companies, like Sequoia, Greylock, Founders Fund, Gtmhub, Intuit, and more, are part of the BIH network.
The program will focus on providing the companies with expert advice, know-how, and resources on how to scale globally network and investor access. The startups will participate in around 27 workshops and receive mentorship from Silicon Valley expert entrepreneurs and investors such as Dafina Toncheva, Partner at US Venture Partners, Anton Lenke, Vice President of Sales at SKAEL, Bogomil Balkansky, Partner at Sequoia, Sim Simeonov, Founder and CTO at Swoop and IPM.ai, and others. Participating companies will also receive free technology credits worth over $90,000 from Bulgaria Innovation Hub’s partner network.
More about the selected companies here
- Humans in the Loop is a social startup that employs and trains refugees to provide data services to companies to train and test their ML algorithms. They have trained over 137 conflict-affected people in digital skills, English, IT, and other topics. The startup has been selected as one of the winners of MIT Solve and has allied with the Partnership on AI (PAI) for a series of pilot studies applying best practices in data enrichment work and measuring their impact.
- StorPool provides a fully-managed data storage solution that transforms commodity hardware into a shared, powerful, highly available, and reliable storage system. The startup has been named one of Europe’s fastest-growing companies and has announced a solid 30% year-over-year revenue growth and a 92% Net Promoter Score for 2021.
- ProductLead (Techinfluence) is a Romanian SaaS platform that enables marketing teams to make the most of a brand’s user-generated content. The company has already secured funding from co-investors Sparking Capital (lead investor), Bulgarian VC fund Eleven Ventures, and Founders Bridge in the past year.
- Augment.gg is a web platform allowing esports coaches to save time and gain insights by processing vast amounts of data. The platform is used by more than 25 top professional esports teams in less than a month of their release.
- Rush is a Shopify shipment tracking software for e-commerce merchants and businesses. They have secured a €2.5M seed round in April 2022 led by Eleven Ventures and LAUNCHub Ventures.
“The Bulgaria Innovation Hub program is a great opportunity for us, especially because I have the chance to be in San Francisco throughout these upcoming weeks (as part of a parallel networking initiative of BIH). This means that we are able to immediately put what we learn into practice in meetings with clients, investors, and partners. Our goal for the program is to ensure we are making the most of the lectures, engaging with the mentors, asking questions that are relevant to our business, and learning from the rest of the cohort companies,” Iva Gumnishka, Founder and CEO of Humans in the Loop told The Recursive.
Bulgarian Innovation Hub’s engine
Four Bulgarian power entrepreneurial players are the driving force behind BIH – Pavlina Yanakieva, Bogomil Balkansky, Vassil Terziev, and Ivan Dimov. They are passionate about leveraging entrepreneurship, education, and technology innovation to drive economic and social change in Bulgaria. These entrepreneurs have been building bridges and alliances that empower Bulgarian and SEE entrepreneurs to become global business and community leaders.
For more leadership insights on the Bulgarian tech ecosystem, you can listen to The Recursive Podcast on How to multiply success with Vassil Terziev, and read about Bogomil Balkansky sharing his principles on building great startups.