Channel

Ecosystem

episode 1

The Bulgarian Tech & Digital Startup Ecosystem: Who is Who in 10 Words

Sofia has evolved to a real startup hub thanks to a lot of private investments and efforts ©Dimitar Karanikolov
Sofia has evolved to a real startup hub thanks to a lot of private investments and efforts © Dimitar Karanikolov

In the past seven years, the Bulgarian IT ecosystem is thriving at a rapid pace. However, it still remains relatively unknown in the global technology scene.

Despite the fact that the country has not produced a unicorn yet, or is not at top of mind when it comes to innovations, there are hundreds of companies providing interesting products and have the potential to disrupt industries and habits.

To help increase the awareness around the Bulgarian tech and digital sector, the team of Referial has partnered with Trending Topics’ newsroom to prepare a list of the local product SMEs and startups, but also other ecosystem players who support their development. The list is published to the Silicon Valley Bulgaria community and is frequently updated.  Some of the companies have already been profiled in Trending Topics, so feel free to clock through their stories by following the button.

AgriTech

Pollenity is opening up to hobby beekeepers and crypto fans.
© Pollenity
  • Agromo — Sofia based company that has developed a mobile and web application for crop monitoring based on analytics from high-resolution optical, IR and radar satellite data with short revisit times.
  • Farmhopping —  an online market for farm products that works with over a hundred Bulgarian farms 
  • Pollenity —  a startup that develops IoT products for beekeepers to help them increase honey production and better manage honeybee business operations
  • Techno Farm — company that has developed geospatial applications focused in the domain of remote sensing

Drones & Spacetech

 

The Dronamics team at work. © Dronamics
© Dronamics
  • Dronamics — developing a new type of cargo airplane – small, unmanned and fuel efficient. Autonomous, can be monitored and managed remotely via satellite.
  • EnduroSat — engineering of smart and affordable spacecraft for business applications and space exploration missions.
  • fragaX — building unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) from 4kg to 150kg.

Edtech

 

Coursedot was founded in 2015 by Teodor Panayotov to be an online marketplace for IT training courses ©Pexels
©Pexels
  • 365 Data Science — an online educational career website
  • CourseDot — marketplace for IT training
  • Open Source University — an academic and career development ledger
  • Shkolo — optimizing school back-end and administrative processes, E-class books 
  • The Tinusaur — educational platform focused on programming, robotics, electronics and modern learning methods, presenting science and technology as interesting and entertaining.
  • Ucha.se — a platform for video lessons on school subjects
  • Worddio — mobile application for passive vocabulary building, above 30 000 installs in more than 170 countries, for a year.
  • Daskal.eu – marketplace for online courses and software for management of the teaching process

 

Entertainment, Gaming, Media

 

QuarkVR © Trending Topics
QuarkVR © Trending Topics
  • Coherent Labs — creating gaming user interfaces for game studies 
  • Drooble — social network for musicians
  • Evedo — decentralized marketplace and ecosystem for performers, event organizers, venues, attendees and sponsors.
  • FITE — digital entertainment company which allows users to cast video to connected TVs, requiring no setup or additional software
  • iGreet — greeting cards using augmented reality technology
  • Imperia Online (part of Stillfront) — game developer and publisher company
  • MediaHub — IPTV & OTT Platform providing end-to-end solution for online video services delivering content to various end-user devices
  • Rebellious Software — Indie Game Development with first game titled “World of Myths” — a Collectible Card Game
  • Chobolabsmultiplayer games for tablets and smartphones.
  • QuarkVR – developer of video streaming technologies

 

Fintech

 

Payhawk.io allows the instant issuing of digital or physical debit cards for employees. ©Jordan Mihajlov, TrendingTopics.bg
Payhawk.io allows the instant issuing of digital or physical debit cards for employees. ©Jordan Mihajlov, TrendingTopics.bg
  • Colibra — crowdsourced blockchain platform for handling insurance claims
  • EvroTrust — one‑off e-identification of natural and legal persons straight from the smart device
  • InChainZ — contact-trading and contact-investing platform on blockchain
  • iuvo — P2P loans investment platform
  • Jarvis — a platform for building a decentralized financial hub 
  • Klear — P2P lending platform
  • Payhawk.io — payment solution which helps small businesses deal with expenses
  • Phyre — a platform enabling payments via smartphone on a contactless terminal
  • Reloyalty — instant cashback platform for card payments
  • QaiWare — providing end-to-end solutions for fintech and e-commerce
  • Software Group — global technology company that is specialized in delivery channel and integration solutions for institutions that provide financial services
  • Tradex Social – prototype stage platform for beginner friendly crypto mining & trading,  allows beginners to follow copy more experienced traders 
  • TokenGet — token issuance platform 
  • WeiDex — cryptocurrency exchange platform that does not rely on third-party services to store customer assets or information
  • Xenia Solutions — Card payments expertise, interchange fees and international card-to-card transfers
  • Nexo – spin-off of the CEE loan company Credissimo, Nexo is marketed as the world’s first instant crypto-backed credit lines provider.

HR Tech & Collaboration Management

 

Noble’s plans sound close to too ambitious, but the core team consists of rather experienced founders who have been around in the ecosystem failing and succeeding since its very beginning, which makes it all more plausible. ©Noble
©Noble Hire
  • Enhancv — SaaS startup built around a web platform for creating modern resumes 
  • Gtmhub — tool to aligning every employee with the corporate purpose (using Objectives and Key Results — OKRs)
  • Hire Heroes — helping IT people find their workplace by using guidance and connections of experienced IT professionals
  • Noble Hire — referral-based job board connecting tech talent with product companies
  • RemoteMore — connects the top 5% remote developers with companies that are hiring
  • Wetonomy — combines blockchain smart contracts and incentive frameworks to helps organizations run by code
  • nPloy – Tinder-like mobile app for jobs browsing
  • Kanbanize — Kanban Software for Lean Management
  • Swipes – project management tool for product teams

 

IoT, Smart City, Smart Home

 

© Playground Energy
© Playground Energy
  • AirLief —  developer of an application that monitors air pollution and quality
  • Allterco — focuses on commercial and technical provisions of direct mobile messaging and billing, business mobiles service provisioning and digital marketing and advertising
  • CozZo – food waste management system
  • Develiot – solution for independent monitoring of air quality that runs on LoraWAN network, spin-off of Telelink
  • MClimate — IoT Company whose devices connect you to heating and cooling system
  • Playground Energy — Playground equipment that transforms kinetic into electric energy, spring toys transmit data to enhance urban planning based on users activity
  • Tickey — solution for e-ticketing in public transport

Logistics

  • Orderadmin –  AI-powered shipping software and warehouse management system for e-commerce retailers.
  • Transmetrics – predictive optimization SaaS for the transport and logistics industry.

Marketing, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence

 

This is a very long read, we confess, but it will give you the most comprehensive picture of Bulgarian fintech ©Pexels
©Pexels
  • A4everyone — data analytics SaaS, predictive analytical solution to help them with their sales and supply chain forecasts.
  • Browswave — business intelligence and sales tool for online pricing of consumer electronics
  • Damocles Analytics — AI-Assisted Political Research Platform
  • FocusVision — develops market research software from surveys, online focus groups and communities to AI-enabled analysis tools, customers: Procter&Gamble, Ebay/PayPal, Walmart.
  • HyperAspect  – AI products for real-time log analytics & anomaly detection, text extraction
  • Imagifinity — allows for fast making of precise3D scans of people and their use in online shopping, social platforms, virtual reality, sports, health, etc.
  • Leanplum — mobile engagement platform with $ 97 million of funding as of 2018
  • Metrilo — Instant e-commerce analytics, powerful CRM and personalized email marketing all in one place
  • Ontotext — Building Knowledge Graphs to link diverse data, enrich it via text analysis and index it in GraphDB for semantic search
  • Oxxy – drag and drop platform for websites and landing pages building
  • Sensika – solution provider for media monitoring, digital channel performance measurement and data analytics
  • Smartloop.ai – a platform for AI-powered chatbots
  • Ubitrack — AI-Powered Analytics on Performance During Football Games

Mobility

 

Spark already has seven models users can choose from ©Jordan Mihajlov, TrendingTopics
©Jordan Mihajlov, TrendingTopics
  • Avtoikonom – mobile marketplace for car services
  • ElJoy – electric bikes produced in Varna, shared bike station in capital city Sofia
  • eMobility International – holds the two brands Spark (e-car sharing service) and Eldrive (develops charging station infrastructure)
  • Motoretta – manufactures e-scooters in Russe
  • Narcine — innovative, electric scooter for city movement
  • Navigato — B2B and B2C solution for charging infrastructures monitoring and management
  • Parknshare — application for finding and renting parking spaces
  • Sin Cars – racing and electric cars manufacturer
  • TaxiMe – mobility as a service, mobile app for taxi services

 

Proptech & Real Estate Management

 

Currently the newest hub Campus X ranks #1 by size ©Alexander Novoselski, Campus X
©Alexander Novoselski, Campus X
  • CoBuilder (Construction) — digitizing the construction industry (Building Information Modelling)
  • Cowork7/24 — a platform with 160+ bookable coworking  in 25 cities on the platform
  • FantasticStay – vacation rental management software
  • Fitsys — sport and wellness club management software
  • Gymrealm – a software solution for management of fitness and sports centers
  • Homeheed – AI powered Real Estate aggregator, 3x less showings, and get 2x more suitable offers
  • Ocenime —  website for analysis of real estate for selling and renting
  • OfficeRnDcoworking management and community management software used by some of the biggest coworking operator brands worldwide
  • Property Club – a platform for real estate crowdfunding
  • PropyEnd-to-end real estate transaction management platform that facilitates safe, fast & simple real estate transactions entirely online

Medtech & Healthtech

 

©AYO
©AYO
  • AYO – blue light therapy glasses that boost energy and improve sleep
  • Bioseek — online search portal for life sciences
  • EuroPATC — provides assistance in protecting children with autism and improving the lives of their families.
  • FindMeCure — online platform allowing every person struggling with a medical condition to access treatments in development
  • Healee — application to connect patients with their doctors digitally
  • Iris — blue light filter and eye protection software
  • Micar 21 — drug discovery in short time — using in silico and Artificial Intelligence
  • Nutrigen — offers individual solutions in the field of Nutrigenomics and Nutrigenetics based on the unique DNA profile of each individual
  • Printivo — 3D bioprinting startup specialized in the creation of human tissues

Platforms for Developers & IT

  • Appzio — allows full stack developers to create native apps for iOS and Android just from the backend
  • Botron Software — Enterprise-grade add-ons for Jira 
  • Imagga — Image recognition platform, providing tagging APIs to developers
  • StorPool Storage — block storage software solution for public and private clouds
  • Tick42 — tools to integrate desktop applications (glue 42 is the product)

 

Security

 

Biometric identification in cars © Biodit Global Technology
  • Amatas — cyber security as a service, partners — Veracode, Darktrace, Smartai
  • Biodit — development of smart biometric access control systems
  • LogSentinel — provides an advanced secure audit trail application and encryption to ensure data integrity
  • Lynx — information security startup which uses bio identifiers to secure hard copy signing with the aid of blockchain technology
  • Mimirium — software that collects user information and stores it securely on his devices.
  • ReCheck — platform to store and manage on Blockchain product authenticity and documents

 

Telecoms

 

©Pixabay
©Pixabay
  • ApiHawk  — Cloud Billing and Automation software for Hosting companies and Telcos
  • Excitel — Broadband Internet Service Provider in Delhi & Hyderabad
  • NetIX — the 1st global distributed IP exchange, and the Best Internet Exchange, for 2018. Provides IP Transit, 4K and HD TV channels distribution, distributed DDoS protection

Travel & Hospitality

  • 15toGO — social travel app and a group tours marketplace where people can match with like-minded travelers, book hassle-free, and travel for less
  • ClaimCompass — helps air passengers receive their deserved compensation for delayed, canceled or overbooked flights
  • LockTrip — decentralized open source bookings technology and an integrated marketplace

LegalTech, Accounting & Back Office Automation/ Management

  • Advokatami.bg —  a marketplace for legal services – documents and consultancy, with offices in Bulgaria and Singapore
  • consult.law – early stage marketplace for legal consultancy
  • Documaster —  document management system develops products for records management and long-term documents preservation
  • HyperScience — AI-centered enterprise solutions for automating work and document digitalization
  • LegalTrek — integrated legal practice management solution designed for small-to-medium law firms

VC & Private Equity Funds

  • Blackpeak Capital — growth equity fund focused on investing in high-growth Southeast European small and medium enterprises.
  • BrightCap Ventures — an early-stage venture capital firm investing in companies with defensible technology and significant global growth potential
  • CEO Angels Investment Club — group of senior executives and entrepreneurs related to Bulgaria investing their own money in early-stage startups in return for equity
  • Eleven Ventures — pre-seed and seed VC based in Sofia, Bulgaria with a focus on entrepreneurs from South Eastern Europe
  • Empower Capital a EUR 21 million fund financed by the European Investment Fund – JEREMIE Initiative Bulgaria with the mandate to provide unique access to equity and quasi-equity funding to growing Bulgarian companies
  • Impetus Capital —  investment fund specialized in pre IPO investments with €2.5M under management
  • Innovation Accelerator Bulgaria – pre-seed and seed investment fund with a mandate to deploy €15.6M to 220 companies
  • LAUNCHub Ventures  — an early stage VC fund, investing in the seed stage, €28M under management
  • NeoVenturesopen-ended investment company with entrepreneurial capital, based in Emerging Europe, invests in early and later stage game-changing businesses, no geographic limitations
  • NEVEQ — Venture capital investments in early and growth stage
  • PostScriptum Ventures –  established VC group with a particular focus on the ongoing (r)evolution of the energy sector
  • Rosslyn Capital – private equity and investment management firm that invests manufacturing, food and beverage, telecommunications, information technologies, renewable energy, agriculture, and real estate development

Incubators and Accelerators

 

©Founder Institute Sofia
©Founder Institute Sofia
  • Aeternity Ventures — Decentralized incubator for Blockchain startups building applications on æternity platform
  • Cleantech — business network, which focuses on clean technologies and sustainable growth
  • Climate-KIC Accelerator Bulgaria — EU business acceleration programme focused on cleantech commercialization
  • Digital Spaces Living Lab — living lab in the areas of location-based services, smart city apps, wearables, and IoT.
  • Founder Institute Bulgaria — the Bulgarian branch of the pre-seed startup accelerator society
  • Rinker Center — promotes education, life-long learning and foster entrepreneurship and business development in Bulgaria. Priority areas for the center will be the development of rural areas and the spread of social entrepreneurship
  • Sofia Tech Park — the first science and technology park in Bulgaria, aim exchange of knowledge and ideas between the academic field, the business, the government, and the startups.

Coworking Spaces

 

  • Betahaus — the first coworking space in Bulgaria, focus on business teams of established companies, digital businesses, digital nomads, startups
  • CampusX — created by the founders of Telerik and Telerik Academy, the largest hub in Sofia, hosts software startups, IT Academy, established IT companies
  • Cosmos – design and art coworking space
  • Coworking by MOVE.BG – social innovation hub hosting media, NGOs, impact startups
  • Missia23 –  a hub for creative industries, aims to bridge the tech and creative sector
  • Networking Premium Co Working Space — brings the Israeli startup experience and way of work to Bulgaria
  • Puzl CowOrKing — the largest  IT coworking space with offices in Central and Eastern Europe, expanding to CEE
  • Sofia Holistic Coworking Company (SOHO) — combines a coworking space with a programme of cultural and social events
  • Work and Share  – third largest co-working space, no particular specialization, next to the private Software University

+++ Sofia ranks in top 20 European coworking markets +++

NGOs & Networks

  • ABLE — The Association of Bulgarian Leaders and Entrepreneurs
  • BESCO — NGO for legal and business representation of companies in Bulgaria
  • Bulgarian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association — focal point of private investors, venture capital funds and the entrepreneurial community in Bulgaria
  • bithope – a platform for donating cryptocurrencies
  • Data Science Society — knowledge sharing platform for Data Science enthusiasts, geeks, and experts; The community behind Data Science Meetups and International Datathons with attendees from more than 20 countries.
  • EDIT.BG – embraces innovation and technology by benchmarking the digital industry in order to to unleash the full potential of the Bulgarian digital sector.
  • Endeavor Bulgaria —  a global network that selects, mentors and accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs in growth markets around the world, providing them with access to markets, talent, and capital
  • Law and Internet Foundation —registered scientific center to the Ministry of Education with research activities in the field of ICT law, e-education, e-justice, e-health, e-justice, etc.
  • ProductTank Sofia – a community of professionals involved in digital product building and management
  • Sofia Knowledge City Cluster — transform Sofia to a smart city by supporting the development of business based on innovation and knowledge

Online Portals & Media Agencies

  • DevStyleR — media focused to present every aspect of software developers’​ life
  • Silicon Valley Bulgaria — a map of the IT ecosystem in Bulgaria
  • Trending Topics Bulgaria  — Austrian-Bulgarian digital media reporting on the processes within knowledge-based economies in the CEE region

Major Events

  • DEV.BG — Organizing presentations and events with a focus on the development of the Bulgarian IT ecosystem
  • DigitalK — international speakers, taking place for 7 years already
  • Entrepreneurs Night Out — Networking events for businesses and entrepreneurs held monthly at select venues across the center of Sofia
  • Global Webit Series — hosting in Sofia global and regional enterprise Fortune 500 leaders, world renown scientists, startups, founders and policy maker
  • Innovation Explorer – annual international innovation forum in Sofia
  • OpenFest — Bulgarian conference dedicated to the free culture, free knowledge sharing, free and open source software.
  • TechTour — Event Management for High Tech Entrepreneurs worldwide

 

Is something missing?

This material originally appeared in Referial. Now Trending Topics is partnering with the platform to give more visibility to regional innovators and tech entrepreneurs.  In the next months, together with Referial we will be exploring different verticals and ecosystems from the SEE region. As lists are never complete, ping us with cool ideas and new companies, the community effort is most appreciated. Find us here: office@referial.com and office@trendingtopics.bg

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