The Bulgarian telecommunication company Telelink has announced its attempt to invest in blockchain scale-ups that have proven their product or service within the market and are growing in revenues. Companies that are willing to participate in the contest could apply online until 30th of September and ten selected scale-ups will get the chance to pitch in front of investors during the blockchain forum CEE Block on 26th of October. The winner in the pitching contest will receive an investment of €250K and mentoring from Telelink to further develop its business. The conditions of the investment remain undisclosed.
“The Blockchain technology is not expected to fully mature until 2020 and we are currently not engaged in any concrete projects based on it. For the time being we are focused on preparing ourselves to gain a competitive advantage once the technology matures and becomes broadly deployed by building knowledge and expertise to meet the future demand”, Lubomir Minchev, CEO of Telelink, explied Trending Topics the motivation for the commitment.
100 applicants expected
Eligible for the contest are all European entrepreneurs who have already validated their blockchain solution within the market and have at least two completed financial years. “So far we have around 20 applicants from Central and Eastern Europe and we expect them to grow to 100”, Maria Oprenova, founder of CEE Block forum, told Trending Topics. Based on her conversations with investors, Slovenia and Bulgaria are amongst the countries with the strongest blockchain communities and development experience in the region. The goal of the event is, however, to reach out to developers and companies outside the community, Oprenova explained.
Industry 4.0 focus
The online applications are open until 30th of September and the participation is paid. Once the companies have completed the application process they have to transfer €300 fee. The preselected ten blockchain scale-ups will be announced on 15th of October on the web page of CEE Block. In the preselection process priority will be given to supply chain solutions for manufacturing industries and for companies providing goods and services, as well as to products and services related to healthcare and education. “Blockchain is part of the broader family of distributed ledger technologies which are expected to have a profound impact over the next years. We believe that DLTs are part of the new production trends or the ‘fourth industrial revolution”, Minchev explained the choice of the priority areas.
Ten selected companies will be given the chance to pitch their solutions and answer jury’s question in front of a audience of investors, C-level executives from CEE and European policy makers on the 26th of October. The final decision depends 70% on the jury and 30% on the audience’s vote. Innovation, social impact, team capacity, business model, market fit and potential are the main evaluation criteria.
Recent blockchain investments in Bulgaria
“Almost every tech company is now interested in blockchain and willing to explore and probably invest in the field”, said Oprenova. The main partner of the organized by Oprenova conference Telelink is, however, not the first Bulgarian company to fund blockchain projects. In the end of July the registered in Bulgaria aeternity Ventures, the venture arm of the smart contract developer æternity Blockchain, announced a total investment of $1.3M in nine international startups developing different products based on the technology.
“After the first wave of speculations around investments in cryptocurrencies we now observe a shift of focus towards real business application of the blockchain technology”, Emiliyan Enev, CEO of Recheck, told Trending Topics. According to him, in Bulgaria there are at least a dozen proven and active blockchain solutions in areas such as education, product authenticity, finance, real estate and data monetization.