Sirma, one of the biggest privately owned Bulgarian IT companies, in partnership with Innovation Capital, announced the launch of its incubator for startups from Bulgaria – Sirma Venture Lab. Admissions are open until May 31st for entrepreneurs who want to gain access to additional funding and learn from a dedicated team of experienced professionals in the industry. The participants need to tackle a real problem and reshape the future in one of the following verticals: FinTech, Healthcare, Industry 4.0, Logistics, Automotive, or Hospitality.
The best performing companies of the 3-month incubation program will receive €50K, with up to €350K follow-on investment for the top performing projects. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet with some of the most successful investors in the region – from angel investors to VC funds.
The companies expected to join Sirma Venture Lab are pre-seed and seed stage startups with at least an early market validation for their products. Another key factor for succeeding in the incubator is having a strong team with a vast domain expertise.
Momchil Zarev, CCO of Sirma, says that for startups to be successful, they need a “long-term vision, strong capacity, chemistry and resilience in the founders team, enough runway and right market timing for the product or service.”
What happens when?
Startups who want to be part of the Sirma incubator can apply here. After that, the shortlisted companies will be invited to a live pitching event where they can present their projects and their plan to reach the global market. After the evaluation part, the incubation program will officially start, when the startups will have received a term sheet for investment.
In the next three months, participants will take part in workshops and one-on-one sessions with experienced mentors, designed to assist them with everything they need in their journey. In late September, Sirma Venture Lab will close with a Demo Day where top performers will showcase their progress and will look for additional funding.
Sirma’s support for the participants will continue in the next year; the companies with best performing projects will get access to up to €350K follow-on investment.
Who are the mentors?
Gaining both technical and business development knowledge from experienced professionals and mentors are two of the most important factors for startup founders and entrepreneurs to take part in such events.
Momchill Zarev and Yordan Nedev , who are part of the management of Sirma, together with Angel Angelov and Yavor Gochev from Innovation Capital compile the management team of the program. They will share valuable lessons about working with investors, managing a team, and creating a successful company.
To ensure that participants will gain additional insights to the tech side, Sirma will provide a dedicated team of professionals to work closely with the startups. Sirma’s CTO – Tihomir Totev, will be mentoring the participants on their plans to bring their ideas to life and will be sharing valuable insights from the technical side of creating a high-quality product. Tihomir will be joined by two of the company’s Lead Developers – Boyan Kukushev and Nikolay Krastev, to help startups build their MVP and get market validation. Finally, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to see their product put into practice using Sirma’s wide range of technologies.
“Thе opportunity for participants to collaborate with experienced professionals from Sirma is unique since startups will add very strong technical capacity and man hours to their projects. Sirma’s tech team is well versed, experienced with startup projects and could fill in gaps and accelerate development processes by offering strategic business and technical advice, development credits and seed funding. In addition, the long term vision of a partner and potential investor such as Sirma is crucial as this provides a very good perspective for a longer runway and both technical and financial stability for the participants in the program”, Zarev highlights.
In addition to a strong tech foundation, every starting company needs a sustainable business model, exposure to the ecosystem, and familiarity with accounting and legislation. To gain an understanding of these matters, participants in the Sirma Venture Lab will learn from many professionals such as Borislav Stefanov, a management consultant with more than 15 years of experience in management for companies in a wide variety of industries and Lyubomir Tankishev, who has over 10 years in business development.