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15+ Early-Stage Bulgarian Startups to Keep an Eye on in 2023

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The world of early-stage startups is a dynamic and ever-evolving realm, where ambitious entrepreneurs strive to turn their innovative ideas into successful businesses.

In this article, we will explore a selection of Bulgarian early-stage ventures that have caught the eye of local investors, demonstrating potential for growth. They have been supported by local venture capital firms like Vitosha Venture Partners (and their accelerator program), Eleven Ventures (and their Eleven Alpha program), Innovation Capital, and New Vision 3 Fund.

Here are the early-stage Bulgarian startups that are worth keeping an eye on:

Please note that this is an alphabetical order of the companies’ names and not reflective of any ranking or preference.

1. Brain Foods

Founders: Plamen Medarov, Maria Veselinova

Vertical: Food, Culinary

About: Brain Foods is a Vegan brand for healthy snacks. The company is dedicated to actively participating in the global effort to reduce the consumption of animal products in the food and beverage industry, aiming to eliminate the exploitation of animals throughout supply chains.

The startup raised 550K euro in a seed funding round in November 2022, with investors including Vitosha Venture Partners, New Vision Fund 3 and the ProVeg Incubator.

2. Diplom.id

Vertical: SaaS

About: Diplom.id is another interesting player within the early-stage Bulgarian startups. This is a tool for designing, signing, sending and verifying certificates and diplomas. The startup raised €35K from Vitosha Venture Partners’ ACCELERATE Program in May 2023.

3. FlatAway

Founder: Boris Pavlov

Vertical: Real Estate

About: FlatAway, a Bulgarian startup, is making strides in the housing sector by offering an innovative “housing as a service” model tailored to the remote generation. The platform showcases a diverse range of professionally managed properties available for flexible rental periods. They have a subscription-based system, allowing digital nomads to effortlessly switch locations without the hassle of adjusting rent payments. (You can read more insights from Boris Pavlov, Founder and CEO of FlatAway, in this piece where we discuss why CEE proptech startups are flocking to Dubai.)

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The startup raised €300K from Eleven Alpha in March 2023. Additionally, it successfully raised funds through the crowdfunding platform SeedBlink.

4. Karavani.bg

Founder: Nikolay Nekov

Vertical: Travel Tech

About: Karavani.bg wants to redefine the caravan rental experience in the country. The startup offers a selection of verified caravans, streamlining the entire process from selection to reservation.

The startup raised €50K pre-seed investment from Innovation Capital in 2022.

5. Nomad Cabins

Founders: Nina Manchorova

Vertical: Construction, Prop Tech

About: Nomad Cabins offers high-quality, prefabricated wooden panel houses as a sustainable alternative to conventional construction. Their models combine modern design with innovations in natural materials and comfortable furnishings, and can be installed within a matter of months.

The startup raised €50K from Vitosha Venture Partners’ ACCELERATE Program in May 2023.

6. Novatio

Founder: Krasimir Boyadzhiev

Vertical: Logistics

About: Novatio solution aims to streamline and automate supply management, offering different applications catering to customers, dispatchers, drivers, and warehouses. It saves time and money by automatically planning deliveries by car and routes.

7. Petstay

Vertical: Pet Tech

About: Joining the ranks of promising early-stage Bulgarian startups is Petstay. This is a platform that allows pet owners to confidently leave their furry friends in the care of trusted caregivers while they are away on travels. It serves as a reliable alternative to traditional pet hotels, eliminating the hassle of searching for friends or neighbors to take care of one’s pets.

The startup raised €38K from Vitosha Venture Partners’ ACCELERATE Program in May 2023.

8. Pleggi

Founders: Yonko Minev, Tsvetelin Nikolov, Hristo Cholakov

Vertical: Software Development, Job Recruitment

About: Pleggi is on a mission to innovate the job application process by employing a series of concise online games that effectively evaluate cognitive abilities and personality traits. By merging the realms of science and technology, Pleggi gathers behavioral data, enabling candidate-employer matching.

At its core, Pleggi addresses the challenges surrounding subjective and biased pre-selection recruitment decisions, which often rely heavily on applicants’ CVs rather than their true skills and potential. By focusing on problem-solving and minimizing reliance on traditional application materials, Pleggi aims to mitigate biases and ensure a more accurate assessment of candidates’ suitability for specific positions.

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The startup raised €50K from Vitosha Venture Partners in 2023.

9. RelaxifyApp

Founders: Aleksandar Stankov, Yoan Petrov, Tome Nedinkovski

Vertical: Wellness, Mental Health

About: RelaxifyApp is created by psychologists to offer a comprehensive and evidence-based solution designed to elevate the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of people. The app integrates gamified mental health tech providing users with a means to relax and rejuvenate.

10. Sappience

Founder: Angel Georgiev

Vertical: Asset Management

About: Joining the ranks of promising early-stage Bulgarian startups is Sappience. This startup offers asset lifecycle management for global asset-intensive companies, covering the entire spectrum of asset management. The company strengthens asset-intensive businesses in sectors like Telco, Energy & Utility, Facility Management, Logistics & Transportation, and more.

The startup raised €150K / pre-seed investment from Innovation Capital in 2021.

11. TokWise

Founders: Krasimir Kolev, Vassil Vassilev, Julien Marcenac

Vertical: Renewable Energy, SaaS

About: TokWise is a SaaS platform for players on the energy market to help them otpimize their trading decisions. Their solution is AI-powered and serves as a bridge between physical assets and intricate electricity markets, consolidating the management of renewable portfolios. TokWise platform serves renewable producers, green energy suppliers, commercial and industrial prosumers, and aggregators and traders.

The startup raised €25K pre-seed investment from Innovation Capital in 2020.

12. TouchMenu

Founder: Todor Bobev

Vertical: Hospitality

About: TouchMenu’s main focus is digital hospitality ecosystems. The company’s flagship offering is the Virtual Concierge, a web-based platform that entices hotel guests with a wide range of services.

Accessible from any mobile device or tablet, guests can unlock the full potential of their stay with a simple scan of a single QR code.

13. True Insights

Founder: Nikola Tanev

Vertical: е-Commerce, SaaS

About: True Insights is a Bulgarian e-comtech startup offering a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product specifically designed to assist e-Commerce brands and store owners in analyzing the quality of their product pages and listings.

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Through the utilization of its proprietary AI algorithm, the product identifies key elements and variables, delivering comprehensive insights on the state of product listings. Furthermore, True Insights enables businesses to track and compare competitor products, identify areas for improvement, and receive valuable advice to enhance their content.

The startup raised €300K from the Eleven Alpha program in March 2023.

14. Twisted Technology

Founder: Christian Grigorov

Vertical: IT Services

About: Further enriching the ecosystem of early-stage Bulgarian startups is Twisted Technology. They are currently developing a mobile and web platform that allows users to discover and connect with the most fitting repair service for their needs. On their platform you can find repair shops that provide repair service for personal computers, laptops, phones and their peripheral devices.

Moreover, service providers utilizing the platform gain access to advanced CRM software, optimizing their workflow processes and enhancing the overall quality of their services.

The startup raised €30K from Vitosha Venture Partners’ ACCELERATE Program in May 2023.

15. ZhivaAI

Founder: Georgi Prandzhev

Vertical: Healthcare, HealthTech

About: ZhivaAI secured the top prize at the Beyond pre-accelerator finals in June 2023. The company has developed an AI-assisted system designed to detect pre-cancerous cervical conditions.

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https://therecursive.com/author/snezhana/

Snezhana is an Innovation Journalist at The Recursive. She uses the power of storytelling to put the spotlight on the emerging innovation ecosystems in Central and Eastern Europe. With a keen eye for the bleeding edge, she delves into the depths of deep tech, unearthing captivating stories that bridge the realms of science and human imagination.