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INSAIT opens its AI PhD fellowships, VMware gets acquired, the Gender Gap in European VCs is still wide: Our weekly round-up of news you shouldn’t miss

AI scientist
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The high season for acquisitions globally is here and this is also reflected in our regional ecosystem. It’s also buzzing time for pitching competitions. As such, it’s no surprise that this week’s round-up is a selection of the biggest acquisitions and startup programs in Southeast Europe. From the news that Broadcom buys VMware to the new call for the BlackSea ClimAccelerator, keep reading to get all the juicy details. Least but not last, young talents in computer science and artificial intelligence – INSAIT is looking for you. The world-class AI institute, based in Sofia, has opened its international doctorate program.


#1  Broadcom buys VMware for approximately $61 Billion in Cash and Stock

  • The global technology leader of semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions Broadcom will acquire VMware, another leading company in enterprise software. The transaction is valued at approximately $61 billion in cash and stock, based on the closing price of Broadcom common stock on May 25, 2022. In addition, Broadcom will assume $8 billion of VMware net debt.
  • After Broadcom buys VMware, the Broadcom Software Group will rebrand and operate as VMware. Broadcom’s existing infrastructure and security software solutions will be incorporated as part of an expanded VMware portfolio.
  • The combined company will provide enterprise customers an expanded platform of critical infrastructure solutions and address the most complex information technology infrastructure needs.
  • VMware Bulgaria is the biggest IT company in the country in terms of revenue, its local office surpassing 1000 people. Stay tuned for additional coverage on the impact of the acquisition on the local ecosystem and Sofia R&D office of VMware.

#2  Bulgarian telecom operator A1 acquired 100% of the IT company Stemo

  • The biggest Bulgarian telecom operator A1 Bulgaria in terms of revenue, announced the acquisition of the IT company STEMO.
  • The acquisition is part of A1’s long-term strategy to develop and assert itself as a market leader in the ICT services.
  •  STEMO has more than 30 years of history in the Bulgarian market of information and communication technologies. The company has over 260 employees, around 30M  revenue. It also owns  commercial offices, software houses, support centers, warehouses, equipped with modern information, technological and transport facilities.
  • A1 will finance the deal with its current capital and the value will not be publicly announced according to an agreement reached by both sides.
  • The latest acquisition is first for A1 since the 2015 deal for the Bulgarian telecom operator Blizoo.
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#3  INSAIT announces its international AI PhD program with professors from CMU, EPFL, ETH Zurich, MIT, Yale

  • The institute offers 5-year PhD fellowships at 36,000 EUR per year in computer science and artificial intelligence, under the supervision of renowned professors from leading U.S. and Swiss universities – Prof. Dr. Martin Vechev, Prof. Srdjan Capkun (ETH Zurich), Prof. Dragomir Radev (Yale University), Prof. Virginia Vassilevska-Williams (MIT).
  • Mentoring is also provided by companies such as DeepMind and Amazon Web Services.
  • The initial list of research areas includes machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, programming languages, verification, systems, computer architecture, automated reasoning, security, theory and algorithms.
  • INSAIT – the Institute for artificial intelligence, computer science and technology, located in Sofia, Bulgaria, is the first of its kind in Eastern Europe to offer world-class research facilities and conditions.
  • Students who are currently completing their BSc. or MSc. degrees or have already completed their degrees in areas such as computer science, data science, physics, electrical engineering, or mathematics are eligible to be considered for the program.
  • The first cohort of students is expected to start in the Fall of 2022.
INSAIT opens its AI PhD fellowships, VMware gets acquired, the Gender Gap in European VCs is still wide: Our weekly round-up of news you shouldn’t miss,
Prof. Dr. Martin Vechev, the architect of INSAIT

#4  Global Scale-up Programme: Giving power to green startups to address urgent climate challenges

  • Global Scale-up Programme (GSUP) is an access programme bringing together around 10 participating governments and up to 20 innovative companies from around the world to provide sustainable solutions to climate challenges.
  • Launched by Lithuania’s GovTech Lab together with Scotland and other countries from the CivTech Alliance, GSUP is aimed at fast-growing scaleups with products that can be scaled at pace given the right access to key government stakeholders.
  • This year the programme is looking for solutions that either answer the question of how communities can use data and technology to make ‘nature-smart’ choices and drive scalable green growth, or help figure out how data and technology can help the public sector procure greener services and reduce the environmental impact of the supply chain.
  • You can apply until June 6.
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#5  Black Sea ClimAccelerator 2022 is on the lookout of Bulgarian and Romanian startups on their path to building a sustainable future

  • Black Sea ClimAccelerator, the programme that provides support to early-stage cleantech startups, know-how for growth, scaleups, with grant financing of 300.000 EUR, and access to a network of mentors, investors and professionals, looks for the next rising stars to join their cohort.
  • The green startups will compete to offer scalable solutions on how to reach 0 carbon emissions and fight climate change effectively.
  • The accelerator is organized with the support of EIT Climate-KIC by Impact Hub Bucharest and its main partners Raiffeisen Bank România and OMV Petrom, as well as by Innovation Starter in Bulgaria.


#6  3 Romanian startups from the fields of adtech, edtech and insurtech won at the Commons Accel Demo Day

  • The winners were: CPV Lab Pro – an ad tracking platform, providing the data needed to optimize all marketing campaigns in one place; WowMind –  an educational content-sharing platform that aims to support children with formal and non-formal education; – Romania’s first online insurance benefits platform for employees of large companies.
  • On May 19, after three months of mentoring and intense training, 18 entrepreneurs presented their businesses to investors at DemoDay #6, the final event of the Commons Accel accelerator developed by the Institute of Excellence in Entrepreneurship (IdEA).
  • The event was attended by more than 100 people from the business world, investors, and Commons Accel partners including representatives from Techangels, Paypoint Romania, eMag.
  • IdEA has announced the launch of a new entrepreneurial project “ADRVEST Accel by IdEA”, aimed at contributing to the development of the region by training entrepreneurs in a modern and dynamic accelerator program, that will open in September 2022.

#7  The European Women in VC 2022 report highlighted the consistent issue of underpayment of women in ventures and startups

  • „In 2021, all-women-founded startups raised just 1.8% of investment in Europe. 9.3% went to mixed-gender founding teams, while all-men founding teams raised 89%“, the report estimates.
  • Since 2018, all-women founding teams have received on average 2.7% of startup investment each year.
  • Analyzing actual investment power, the report indicates that female GPs have less investment power than male GPs. The VC ecosystem also shows male dominance in senior positions.
  • Individual progress of European countries in pushing gender funding gap boundaries varies with access to education and support services being at the forefront of the common fight for funding equality.
  • Increased emergence of bio-tech and life science funds speaks about early signs of progress in bringing more funds into the hands of female founders.
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