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The CEE Startup Mafia in London: Leading the Way in Fintech, Sustainability and More

London startups
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London is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, attracting talent from all over the world. The city is home to a growing community of founders, entrepreneurs, and CEOs from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) who are making their mark on the tech industry.

From proptech, fintech, data science, sustainability and more, these entrepreneurs are leading the way in their respective fields, bringing their unique perspectives and experiences to the forefront of London’s startup scene. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the region’s exciting entrepreneurs, investors and innovators based in London, and explore their work and inspiring journeys.

The Greek entrepreneurs behind London startups

Petros G. Sideris 

Field: Proptech

Siders is the co-founder and CTO of a proptech platform TripsTrade, a property rental platform where each booking can be traded and sold through the platform and popular P2P systems (including the blockchain). The platform is built entirely on open-source technology, providing instant and scalable interoperability with hundreds of other financial protocols.

Sideris describes himself as an entrepreneurial full stack polyglot software engineer, whose passion is building beautiful, robust software in time to market, as well as new technologies and tools that are out of his comfort zone.

Rania Lamprou

Field: E-commerce

Lamprou is the CEO and co-founder of London-based e-commerce startup Simpler, whose model is called “headless checkout”, and decouples the checkout process from the online stores for the first time.

With extensive experience in e-commerce, Lamprou’s professional journey has been marked by a diverse range of experiences, including being a scholar at the Athens Entrepreneurship Hub, where she gained a deep understanding of the startup ecosystem and the challenges faced by early-stage companies.

After completing her scholarship, Lamprou transitioned to the corporate world, working as a business development analyst at several global companies.

Periklis Filippou

Field: Venture capital

Filippou is the founder of Verity Capital, a London-based privately held firm that provides independent financial services to entrepreneurs, ultra high net worth families and corporates.

The Greek investor has over 20 years of extensive experience in various areas of finance to his professional portfolio, with a background that includes working in investment banking, global markets, and private wealth management, and a deep understanding of financial markets, investment strategies, and risk management techniques.

Stella Buhalis 

Field: Venture capital

Buhalis is an investor at Nauta Capital, a London-based VC firm investing in capital-efficient B2B software companies.

While she initially pursued a degree in mathematics, she later transitioned to a career in start-ups and venture capital. Buhalis has gained valuable experience working with Greek VCs, including Metavallon VC, where she has developed a deep understanding of the industry.

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Victor Trokoudes

Field: Fintech

Trokoudes is the CEO and co-founder of Plum, one of the fastest growing fintech startups in the UK. As a Cypriot-Canadian serial entrepreneur, he has a solid educational background from the USA, where he studied economics at Harvard, and France, where he got his MBA at INSEAD.

He started career on a trading floor at Morgan Stanley, and then joined a small team of 5 at TransferWise, which later became a fintech unicorn of 600 employees.

The Bulgarian entrepreneurs behind London startups

Ana Kirova

Field: Social networks

Kirova is the CEO of dating app Feeld, a platform allowing both singles and couples to look for potential partners. As a Chief Product Officer, Kirova led the company to a revenue growth of 350% in 2021.

Before moving into product leadership, Kirova studied and worked in design and branding, and her main interest in how humans, sexuality, technology and alternatives intertwine.

Kosta Kolev

Field: Big data

Kolev is the co-founder and CEO of Calliper, a startup that aims to help other startups take control of their operational data and break down silos between different teams.

An engineer turned product manager and designer, Kolev has over a decade of experience helping startups find product-market fit (PMF) and is also one of the founders who got into the inaugural cohort of the Sequoia Arc accelerator programme for European seed companies.

Mirela Yordanova

Field: Venture capital

Yordanova joined European seed-stage VC fund Seedcamp in November 2021 as Network & Community Manager. Her role is to support founders post investment by understanding their needs and how best to support them, as well as to further accelerate the power of the Seedcamp Nation through their mentor network.

Before Seedcamp, Yordanova was a part of Bulgaria-based LAUNCHub Ventures, where she was building the platform offering and post-investment support for founders from Central Eastern Europe.

Krasimir Veselinov

Field: Security

Krasimir Veselinov is the founder and CEO of security solutions provider GuardSys. He has been in the security systems field for a number of years, and his education and deep experience in the security systems industry led to his creation of GuardSys, which provides wired, wireless, and hybrid security systems for commercial and residential use.

Veselinov has a diverse professional background that spans multiple fields. He holds degrees in both electrical and mechanical engineering, giving him a deep understanding of technical systems and processes. In addition to his engineering background, Veselinov also has experience as a sales executive, where he honed his communication and negotiation skills.

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Evgeniy Donchev

Field: Semiconductor industry

Donchev is a co-founder and COO of LoMaRe Technologies, a spin-off startup from Imperial College London that commercializes PMRAM – an emerging non-volatile memory technology.

With a diverse academic background, Donchev has also conducted research in electrical engineering, materials engineering, and materials physics, giving him a deep understanding of the properties and behaviors of different materials, as well as their potential applications in various industries.

Elitsa Marinova

Field: Venture capital

Marinova is an investor relation manager for the Scotland’s investment promotion agency (SDI), where she connects the VC world with Scotland’s most promising startups. She is currently working in the field of early stage investments with a focus on supporting Seed-Series A companies.

Marinova has pursued an academic and professional path that has taken her to various parts of the world. She studied business and management as well as politics, with a focus on international relations and ethical business. Her studies and interests led her to pursue a career that has taken her to numerous countries, including Bulgaria, the UK, China, Hong Kong S.A.R., Myanmar, Canada, and Argentina.

The Croatian entrepreneurs behind London startups

Filip Koprčina

Field: Sustainability

Filip Koprčina is the founder and CEO of Energy Shift, a platform that empowers citizens to invest in and co-own solar farms, promoting democratization and encouraging active participation in the transition to renewables.

The Croatian entrepreneur’s extensive experience in the energy sector includes previous work at a solar installation company and advising major oil corporations such as Shell and BP on their transition to sustainability.

He has also made significant contributions to the field as a member of the United Nations’ High Level Dialogue on Energy, providing recommendations on achieving SDG7 targets.  Koprčina’s expertise and dedication to the energy sector have earned him several accolades, including the EU Sustainable Energy Award in the Young Trailblazer category, awarded by the European Commission, and recognition as a Forbes 30 under 30 Europe 2022.

Danilo Lacmanovic

Field: Venture capital

Lacmanovic is the CEO of Regency Investment Management, an investment company specializing in club investments in real estate development projects across England. The Croatian entrepreneur has more than 15 years of experience and a track record in wealth management, private equity, and investment banking.

He is also the owner of a private equity fund specializing in direct investments in real estate, technology companies and special opportunities across Europe, US and MENA region.

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Martin Piskoric

Field: Digital Marketing

Piskoric is an award-winning podcast host, speaker, and author on the topics of 21st-century entrepreneurship, creativity and storytelling.

As a founder of the Go Newton project and an experienced digital, personal development, and communications strategist, Piskoric helps clients to regain their sense of business direction through the use of mindfulness, skillsets optimization, and innovative processes.

The Serbian entrepreneurs behind London startups

Stefan Zalad

Field: Data science

Zalad is the founder of Tysza, a data science company that works on extracting insights from data and applying actionable insights in solving problems and challenges, specializing in data analytics and data Engineering.

Zalad has had an interesting and diverse career path, spanning multiple industries and disciplines. Initially, he started his career in politics and worked in various positions, including as a press officer for one political party in Serbia. Later, he shifted to business development, eventually leading him to the emerging field of data science.

Mihajlo Popesku

Field: Martech

Mihajlo Popesku is a co-founder and Chief Research Officer at Questionardo, a martech SaaS platform that enables businesses to utilize AI to run, analyze, and trigger entire research programs.

Popesku is a marketing scientist with a wealth of agency and academic experience. For more than a decade, he was a university lecturer and a research executive, involved in more than 60 large research projects for clients in 27 different countries with a focus on tech, finance, cryptocurrency, energy, and property management among other industries.

The Romanian entrepreneurs behind London startups

Sebastian Trif

Field: Fintech

Trif is the co-founder of Aurelia, a startup working on democratizing access to fintech solutions for small and medium companies, bringing new and easier-to-scale tools for them to test. Before founding Aurelia, Trif was working as a full-stack engineer for Wise, another big UK-based fintech company.

Vadim Toader

Field: Proptech

An Oxford graduate in engineering, economics and management and former consultant, Toader is the co-founder of Proportunity, a startup that works solving one of millennials’ biggest generational problems: access to homeownership. The company’s solution uses machine learning to accurately forecast house prices and up-and-coming areas, providing loans to buyers looking to purchase homes in forecasted high-growing areas.

If we’ve missed anyone that you think should be on this list, please give us a shout at [email protected] – we would love to hear your suggestions and give credit where credit is due!

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Bojan is The Recursive’s Western Balkans Editor, covering tech, innovation, and business for more than a decade. He’s currently exploring blockchain, Industry 4.0, AI, and is always open to covering diverse and exciting topics in the Western Balkans countries. His work has been featured in global media outlets such as Foreign Policy, WSJ, ZDNet, and Balkan Insight.