Bulgaria Innovation Hub, the ecosystem-building organization that aims to foster cross-cultural collaboration between the startup communities in the US, Bulgaria and the region, opens applications for the fifth edition of its accelerator program. Bulgarian and SEE founders with aspirations for US market expansion can apply by April 1 for the equity-free program that starts at the end of April.
Taking place online in the span of three weeks, the BIH accelerator program aims to provide founders with critical go-to market fundamentals such as how to build successful sales and marketing organizations, how to fundraise and scale beyond their local markets. In addition to the online workshops led by Silicon Valley mentors and experts, the founders will gain mentorship and networking opportunities and a chance to collaborate with the alumni and each other. The participating companies will also receive free technology credits worth over $90,000 from Bulgaria Innovation Hub’s partner’s network.
So far, 35 companies have gone through the program, including OfficeRnD, Coursedot, and Dronamics, Endurosat and others. The aggregated impact on the ecosystem is represented by the creation of 290+ new jobs in addition to 1400 new clients for the startups that participated and more than $35M total in raised funds (both VC and venture debt).
Empowering high-potential Bulgarian and SEE startups
The program targets B2B technology startups from different industries, – from edtech, fintech, ESG, aerospace, mobility, healthtech, and more. The program is equity-free and is taught by Silicon Valley experts, serial entrepreneurs, product masters, and investors. The BIH curriculum is designed to provide critical go-to-market knowledge and resources required for successful scaling into the US.
For 3 weeks, Bulgarian entrepreneurs will take part in over 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, and Sim Simeonov, Founder and CTO at Swoop and IPM.ai, and others.
Additional criteria for the applicants include annual revenue between $1M and $10M (or significant user base) and initial pre-seed or seed funding from local VCs or private investors. The program fee is $5K for two participants per company and provides lifetime access to BIH content library, alumni network and community events.
Other indicative criteria include:
- Company type: Early-stage, product technology startups based in Bulgaria, or the SEE regions, or having strong connections with the Bulgarian startup ecosystem. Service companies may be considered if they are planning to develop their own products in the near future.
- Mindset: Teams should have the ambition to expand globally, be ready to embrace a growth mindset and be willing to learn and to reciprocate by passing the knowledge forward, and giving back to their home community of entrepreneurs.
More about Bulgaria Innovation Hub
Bulgaria Innovation Hub was founded in 2019 by Vassil Terziev, Bogomil Balkansky, Pavlina Yanakieva, and Ivan Dimov. The organization aims to build a two-way bridge between the US and the SEE entrepreneurial ecosystems by providing early-stage companies from Bulgaria and the region with entrepreneurial know-how and the cultural context to help navigate Silicon Valley business culture and dynamics. Acting as a local partner with market knowledge and network access, Bulgaria Innovation Hub leverages the expertise of the Bulgarian diaspora and a diversified community of experienced mentors.
The BIH accelerator program provides go-to-market expertise for early-stage SEE companies, investment support and exclusive access to its community. Since 2019, the mission-driven initiative has been elevating the Bulgarian startup ecosystem to global leadership and promoting the country as a technology innovation hub to the VC community in Silicon Valley. The organization partners with other Innovation hubs and accelerators in the area to increase its impact and widen their mentor network.
Find out more about the last cohort of Bulgarian startups that participated in the BIH acceleration program and take a look at the video.