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Bulgarian-led Scaleflex will help more marketers and developers manage their digital assets with new €2.5M funding

The team of Scaleflex, the media asset management platform
Image credit: Scaleflex's Team
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Scaleflex, the digital media asset management SaaS company with a Bulgarian co-founder and R&D team, just closed a €2.5M investment round from the Bulgarian VC fund BrightCap Ventures, Budapest-based Oktogon Ventures, and John Marshall, co-chairman at OneTrust and founder of AirWatch (acquired by VMware). The investment will be used to accelerate the sales and marketing efforts of the company, allow for more R&D in AI, and strengthen the leadership team. 

Scaleflex helps R&D teams, marketers, and content managers to manage, optimize, and deliver media assets, such as images and videos, and allows them to better collaborate with each other in real-time. 

Diana Stefanova, a Venture Partner at BrightCap Ventures, shares that the team of Scaleflex stands out with their strong business and technological expertise, and always reaches their goals and targets. According to her, the decision to invest in the digital asset management startup stemmed from the fact that the solutions of Scaleflex have proven market potential, expanding total addressable market, and a growing customer base.  

Customer-centric bootstrappers

The Bulgarian co-founder of Scaleflex Emil Novakov defines himself as a citizen of the world.  He was born in Bulgaria, raised between Germany and France, studied in the US, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Vietnam, and currently lives in Munich. He studied telecommunications engineering in Paris, where he met his co-founder Julian De Maestri.  He then went to the US to study computer engineering. In the States, he began his career as a sales engineer at a B2B startup and gained valuable experience and first-perspective insights, which later helped him to develop and market the B2B SaaS product of Scaleflex. 

When Novakov and De Maestri set the foundation of Scaleflex in 2016, they initially bootstrapped the development of its first product Cloudimage before receiving a seed investment from BrightCap Ventures. According to the Bulgarian founder, Scaleflex has always been customer-first, and ever since the launch of Cloudimage, 80% of their product roadmap has been all about meeting the requirements of their customers. Their digital asset management solution aims to help developers and marketers easily resize and manage images, in order to optimize the loading speed of their websites.

Novakov shares that the first users had positive feedback about the product and made inquiries if they can start hosting their images with Sclaleflex instead of Amazon. At that point, the startup began developing storage and in order to add some more value to the business model, the team decided to also integrate AI elements. Scaleflex partnered with Bulgarian software pioneer Imagga for image tagging and categorization. With this, the startup launched its second product Filerobot, which stores media assets, processes them, and boosts their distribution to optimize their online performance. 

Remote culture and collaboration

Novakov explains that the pandemic led him to the realization that in order for Scaleflex to keep up the development momentum, the team needed to keep its cohesion and collaborative dynamic. Having adopted a remote-first culture ever since the beginning, the company has focused on developing an environment that encourages transparency and connection between employees. 

Covid-19 also accelerated the need for marketers to digitally collaborate with each other, and Scaleflex recognized that there was a market opportunity to focus on real-time remote collaboration around media assets. 

Besides the core “Media Asset Widget” for developers, the startup has already developed a centralized file management system called “Filerobot Asset Hub” which allows marketers to collaborate in the processes of media upload, media asset search, and media asset manipulation. 

What comes next for Scaleflex

Currently, Scaleflex has over 500 clients from more than 50 countries, which are coming from the e-commerce, real estate, automotive, and news and media sectors. Until now the focus of the company was to achieve inbound-led growth and the new investment will be used to expand its client base by boosting sales and marketing operations. 

Novakov explains that in the long term the ambition of Scaleflex is to offer the most flexible and customizable upload experience and media asset management and optimization capabilities in the market. He notes that because of the volume of assets that they already manage, Scaleflex can teach custom ML models to optimize images and videos for better categorization and search. “All in all, our goal is to simplify our customers’ content operations and help them leverage their content to get closer to an increasingly distributed customer base”, Emil Novakov, co-founder of Scaleflex shared with The Recursive. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.