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Who Are the Successful CEE Tech Philanthropists Giving Back to Society?

tech philanthropists

In a world where profits and progress are often synonymous with success, it’s easy to forget that we all have a responsibility to give back to society.

But there are a select few tech philanthropists in the industry who not only recognize this responsibility but actively seek out ways to make a positive impact on the world around them. 

In this ultimate list, we’ve compiled the stories of tech industry leaders who have made giving back a core part of their business strategy. From creating educational initiatives to supporting underrepresented communities, these innovators are paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable future.

It’s not just about writing a check – these individuals are actively engaged in social initiatives, using their influence and resources to create real change in the world. This is the beginning of a mapping and we will update the list with more names in the following months

 

Tech philanthropists from Bulgaria

 

Name: Ilia Krastev  

Ilia Krastev is the CEO of A Data Pro, the Bulgarian content, data, and business intelligence services company. A Data Pro participates in the global education initiative of AMEC Measurement and Evaluation and has become a key partner to Bulgaria’s largest universities. Since 2017 Ilia has been part of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Association for Innovation, Business Excellence, Services and Technology (AIBEST, formerly BOA), and since 2019, he is the Chairman.

 

Name: Sasha Bezuhanova 

Sasha Bezuhanova is the founder and chairperson of MOVE.BG -a platform for collaboration in finding sustainable solutions for the state, economy, and society. One of the key initiatives of MOVE.BG is The Changemakers – a program, which identifies, links, and unites the Bulgarian changemakers into a national network. The aim of the program is to show thousands of faces behind the change in our country and to unite them for common actions. Sasha is also a senior executive, angel investor, and philanthropist. In 2013 she left her business career, spending years as an HP executive, and devoted herself to supporting social prosperity. She is currently Chairperson of WWF Central and Eastern Europe, The Bulgarian Centre of Women in Technology (BCWT), and a Board Member of GreenCentre. 

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Name: Tenko Nikolov

Tenko Nikolov is the founder and currently Managing Partner of the web hosting company SiteGround. Tenko is a vivid supporter of educational initiatives and serves as a Board Member of Teach for Bulgaria, an organization that facilitates access to quality education for every child. He is also a sponsor of INSAIT – the first AI institute in the Balkans. Together with his Managing Partner, Ivo Tsenov, Tenko Nikolov, has established the SiteGround Foundation to support the  implementation of social projects in health, education, and sports. For the last two years, SiteGround and its owners had invested more than €7M  in hospitals, and non-governmental organizations. 

 

Name: Vassil Terziev

Vassil Terziev is the co-founder of one of the most successful tech companies in Bulgaria Telerik. The company’s sale to Progress in 2014 is still the largest for Bulgaria to this date. More than 40 companies were created by former Telerik employees. Moreover, Vassil and his co-founders have invested in the education of the next generation of tech talent through the Telerik Academy Foundation. They also created the startup incubator Campus X which hosts a plethora of innovative Bulgarian companies. Vassil has mentored and helped the growth of more than 50 businesses. He is also a founding board member of Endeavor Bulgaria and the Bulgaria Innovation Hub. 

 

Name: Bogomil Balkansky

Bogomil Balkanski is a Partner at Sequoia Capital, one of the world’s most renowned funds for technology venture investments. Previously, he held senior positions at Google and VMware. While his career has been focused on the USA, he remains committed to supporting the Bulgarian entrepreneurial and technological ecosystem. He invests in improving Bulgarian education through his long-standing support for Teach for Bulgaria. In addition, Bogomil is one of the co-founders of Bulgaria Innovation Hub, the organization that aims to help Bulgarian businesses expand to the US.

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Name: Max Gurvits and Elina Zheleva

Max Gruvitz is a Managing Partner at the Bulgarian VC Vitosha Venture Partners, and Elina Zheleva is the Managing Partner and Director at the design thinking studio launchlabs Sofia. Together they initiated BG4UA, a technological and innovative community in Bulgaria that provides aid to refugees from Ukraine. They engaged the local tech community and managed to gather more than 4000 volunteers who helped with transportation, accommodation, and monetary funds to help Ukranian refugees, amounting to around $350K. 

 

Tech philanthropists from Greece

 

Name: Nikos Moraitakis

Nikos Moraitakis is the Founder and CEO of Workable, a leading recruitment software company. Moraitakis is also known for his social activism and his support for refugee and migrant causes. 

 

Name: Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou

Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou is the co-founder and General Partner of the Greek early-stage VC Velocity.Partners. He is also known as the founder and curator of TEDxAthens. Dimitris is a Member of the Board of Advisors of Future Library,  a non-profit organization devoted to reinforcing the significance of libraries as knowledge, creativity, and interaction-promoting institutions. He is also a supporter of initiatives for civil rights and social action, economic empowerment, education, environment, and human rights. 

 

Name: Panos Siozos

Panos Siozos is the founder and CEO of LearnWorlds, an online learning platform. He is also a supporter of initiatives related to economic empowerment, education,  poverty alleviation, science, and technology. 

 

Name: Maria Chatzou Dunford

Maria Chatzou Dunford is the founder and CEO of Lifebit, a cloud-based genomics platform. She is also a supporter of initiatives related to women’s health and empowerment, аnimal welfare, and children. Dunford has donated to organizations such as Women for Women International, which provides education and resources to women in conflict-affected areas.

 

Tech philanthropists from Romania

 

Name: Alina Vandenberghe

Alina Vandenberghe is the co-founder and co-CEO of Chili Piper, an inbound conversion software that helps sales teams automatically schedule appointments and instantly turn leads into qualified meetings. She is a supporter of causes related to women’s empowerment, children, civil rights, economic empowerment, and education.

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Name: Radu Georgescu

Radu Georgescu is the founder and CEO of Gecad Ventures, a venture capital firm. He is also a supporter of initiatives related to education, entrepreneurship, and social welfare. 

 

Name: Sergiu Cristian Manea

Sergiu Cristian Manea is a Romanian businessperson, educator, and CEO at Banca Comerciala Romana. He is a supporter of educational causes and serves as a Board Member of Teach for Romania, which provides educational resources and support to underserved communities. 

 

Name: Radu Tici

Radu Ticiu is the founder of Growceanu Angel Investment, a business angel support organization. He is a supporter of educational causes and economic empowerment initiatives. Radu has volunteered as the organizer of three editions of Startup Weekend Timisoara. 

 

Name: Marius Ghenea

Marius Ghenea is Managing Partner at Catalyst Romania, an early-stage venture capital fund in Romania. He is also a philanthropist who supports education and entrepreneurship initiatives.

 

Name: Ciprian Man

Ciprian Man is the co-founder of Growceanu Angel Investment, an angel investing platform. He is a private investor in a couple of startups, including Bright Spaces. Ciprian has volunteered for the Save the Children initiative and is now serving as a Board Member of the organization. 

 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.