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The next guest of The Recursive podcast is one of the most interesting members of the Bulgarian startup community. A former entrepreneur and current investor, Max Gurvits is a Managing Partner of Sofia-based venture capital fund, Vitosha Venture Partners.
In his conversation with Irina, Gurvits shares the reasons why he decided to live in Bulgaria and to work on developing the local ecosystem.
Speaking 4 languages fluently and having lived in 7 different countries, Max Gurvits was born in Moscow, but spent his childhood in Amsterdam, where his parents moved when he was 10. “I am thankful that I didn’t grow up in one place only,” he says.
Despite his parents being an artist and a scientist, Max decided to study law, which later helped him find his passion for entrepreneurship. He graduated from the University of Groningen in 2007, with a Master’s degree in International and European Law, and a year later, Max launched an online shop for “small legal services” with his roommate from university.
His first job was in the EU Safety Agency as a trainee in the rulemaking team, which is where he also met up with his life partner. It was 2007 and at this time Max visited Bulgaria for the first time and gained a great impression of the country. Four years later, Max decided to come back to Bulgaria as he saw it as a great location to develop startups and to live comfortably. 11 years later, he considers himself “a Bulgarian by choice”.
In 2012, Max made his first steps as an investor at, but also co-founder of Eleven Ventures, a venture capital company supporting one of the most promising startups in Europe. At that time, Eleven was the largest early-stage fund in Europe.
“It was through the work at Eleven that I really got into this investment world. The experience of being part of Eleven was formative and I am grateful to all my colleagues there because it gave me the idea of what I would probably do for the rest of my life. ”
The desire of Max to develop the local ecosystem and build a whole society of successful people and businesses has been key for his role in the startup industry during his time in Bulgaria.
Currently, the “Bulgarian by choice” tries to reach his goal of developing an open and diverse society and getting the best talents with his work at Vitosha. He has been part of the fund since 2020.
In the episode, Max talks more about his career path and the main challenges in front of the Bulgarian startup ecosystem. “If we talk about a big vision, if we are building an economy, what is the vision!? Are we going to become a Greece or are we going to become an Ireland?”. He explores the answer and shares his vision of developing Bulgaria’s economy in the rest of the episode.
Watch the full episode to find out also which key steps can be taken to make Bulgaria “more attractive for innovations” through the eyes of Max Gurvits.