Out next guest at The Recursive podcast is one of the most prominent executives in the IT industry in Bulgaria. Ivaylo Slavov can be described as a citizen of the world. He started his professional career in the finance sector in Germany, and then moved back to Bulgaria more than 15 years ago to help set up the first nearshore IT operations for American giants like HP.
In 2010 he started his own company BULPROS and quickly turned it into one of the fastest-growing IT companies in Central Europe. Last year BULPROS merged with the German company ec4u. Together they aim to become the digital cloud services leader in Europe. Their new company DIGITALL is now set to conquer the US market.
In his conversation with Irina, Ivaylo Slavov gives an overview of his versatile management experiences from the boom of the dot-com era in the late 90s, to building the Bulgarian ecosystem from scratch, and taking his business ventures to global success.
Looking back, it’s extraordinary that only 13 years ago the Bulgarian innovation ecosystem was still a green field operation. “Everything that we see today is just a work of 13-14 years. With the exception of Telerik, most of the other initiatives came from the BPO sector. This was the sector that gave people the maturity to start thinking in processes, to start evolving in terms of business knowledge”, Ivaylo Slavov explains.
For him the braveness that you need to develop a startup mindset comes with maturity and he talks about what does Bulgaria need to scale and become a global brand for innovation.
Before the merger with ec4u, he managed BULPROS through 6 acquistions and one exit. His key lesson in this process is that having join targets and understanding for different cultures is important for the successful integration between merging companies. “You can miss the opportunities to use the best things of a culture or a company if you go and say my way is better”, Ivaylo Slavov adds.
In this episode, he also shares the toughest lessons he has learned being on leadership positions for more than 20 years. One important thing is who’s behind you in bad times, because “business is a curve, not a hockey stick that goes up in the sky all the time.” The other one is how to be loyal to someone who’s not performing well.
Watch the previous episode to learn why Adina Huma from R-CREATE believes that reshuffling and quickly adapting to new challenges is key for the endurance of any startup.
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