The fourth cohort of Bulgarian startups with high potential for expansion in the US market started their acceleration journey as part of the Fall Accelerator Program of Bulgaria Innovation Hub (BIH). The seven companies which embarked on the 3-week equity-free program are Ampeco, Boleron, Escreo, Evrotrust, Primeholding, Shkolo, and SoftUni.
The online Fall Accelerator Program which started on the 27th of September will connect the Bulgarian founders with Silicon Valley experts, as well as with mentors, advisors, and investors from the BIH’s network. The startups will participate in 27-28 virtual workshops focused on go-to-market fundamentals including business planning and forecasting, pitching, and building successful marketing and sales teams. Some of the mentors which will guide the Bulgarian founders on their market expansion journey are Todd Rulon-Miller, former VP of Netscape, Jerry Chen – Partner at Greylock, one of the oldest VCs in the USA, Bogomil Balkansky – Partner at Sequoia Capital, Momchil Kyurkchiev – founder of Leanplum, Ivan Osmak – founder and CEO of Gtmhub.
In addition to the program, the companies receive free technology products and services worth $60K from companies such as AWS, Segment, Stripe, and others. At the end of the Fall Program, on the 15 of October, the cohort of 7 Bulgarian startups will pitch in front of investors from the US ecosystem. The next program will start at the end of March, early April 2022.
Meet the seven high potential startups
- AMPECO is an e-mobility software company that offers a white label solution for EV charging and energy management to businesses in the industry. Its smart cloud software suite for EV charge point management, allows businesses to launch and scale EV charging services. Orlin Radev, founder and CEO of AMPECO, has previously shared for The Recursive that the company is growing fast to match the speed of the growing demand from clients. “By offering an off-the-shelf white-label solution we make it possible for businesses to operate an EV charging network with minimum up-front investment and a very quick go-to-market. We give them best-practice models, which we have developed by learning from over 30 markets,” Radev shared.
- Boleron is a mobile-first digital insurance broker that offers a number of online insurance products including the first fully digital car insurance in Bulgaria through which clients can instantly receive a signed insurance policy 24/7. The platform is currently integrated with the biggest insurance companies in Bulgaria and allows its users to purchase insurance products at any time with just a few clicks. In February 2021, the CEO and founder of Boleron, Alexander Tsvetkov, shared for The Recursive that the company eyes expansion to the Romanian market following a €500K investment from the Bulgarian VCs New Vision 3 and Eleven Ventures.
- Escreo – an office productivity startup that allows its customers to turn surfaces in their homes and offices into creative places through its ‘write-on walls’ paint technology. The company was established in 2015 and has so far raised a total of €121K from local and international angel investors and VCs, such as Eleven Capital. Escreo has been recognized in Deloitte’s “Technology Fast 50 Central Europe 2020” as one of the rising ‘Impact Stars’ of CEE.
- Evrotrust is a mobile application for the identification, authentication, and signing of e-documents that has become one of the leading providers of regulatory-compliant digital ID solutions in the SEE region. It enables electronic identification and signing for various industries including financial services, telecommunication services, real estate, gambling, and more. In June 2021, Evrotrust opened its office in Skopje, North Macedonia, where it works with the global payment giant Mastercard to implement the country’s digital identity solution project.
- Primeholding is a software solution provider that helps clients solve complex technical problems throughout the full cycle of product development. The company also specializes in quality assurance automation, professional services, customer support, and DevOps.
- Shkolo is an end-to-end administrative and management software platform that enables the digitalization of Bulgarian school education. Founded in 2016, the startup is already serving around 1800 schools, which makes them the market leader in Bulgaria with 85% of the total market share. In 2020, Shkolo had around 1.2M users and last month it entered Endeavor’s Dare to Scale Program that helps local entrepreneurs with high potential to become globally competitive.
- SoftUni is an education initiative that trains thousands of young Bulgarians in software development, digital marketing, and design. For the seven years it has been on the market, SoftUni has led more than 700 trainings, over a thousand seminars and events, and has built partnerships with around 200 companies in Bulgaria. Last year the startup entered the Romanian market with its SoftUni Interactive project.
More about Bulgaria Innovation Hub
BIH was founded in 2019 by the Bulgarian ecosystem and community builders Vassil Terziev, Bogomil Balkansky, Pavlina Yanakieva, and Ivan Dimov with the mission to help Bulgarian technology startups become competitive internationally. Based in San Francisco, BIH is a non-profit organization that is fully funded by its ecosystem partners in Bulgaria and in the US, which include individual and corporate donors and supporters.
“Up until two years ago, Bulgarian tech startups were leveraging the individual efforts and connections of the diaspora when turning to the US market. Many of us assisted in the process but without a strategic approach and a clear plan it was difficult to sustain the efforts. We founded Bulgaria Innovation Hub with the intention to close the gap and connect Bulgarian entrepreneurs to local partners, investors, and potential customers. As a mission-driven initiative, we are focused on elevating the Bulgarian startup ecosystem to global leadership, and promoting the country as a technology innovation hub to the VC community in Silicon Valley,” shared Pavlina Yanakieva, CEO and Executive Director.