Get our rare newsletters
Contact GoalEuropeIf you have questions or need a consultation, get in touch.
European Investment Fund has been fairly active in CEE region in the past few years. This time, it has allocated funds to Bulgaria, providing capital for seed stage, as well as for early stage, growth and pre-IPO companies. According to Pavel Ezekiev of NEVEQ, until recently the only venture capital fund in Bulgaria, what Jeremie is trying to do is to create a startup ecosystem to allow Internet entrepreneurs get seed funding in their home country instead of relocating to the US or Western Europe.
Eleven.bg is the first accelerator that launched in Bulgaria with the aim to support Internet and tech entrepreneurs with global ambitions. It has received 12 million Euro from Jeremie program which will be split between acceleration stage (8 million Euro) and seed funding.
The accelerator will back teams in the region broadly defined as South East Europe with the initial 25,000 Euro of funding for 8 percent of the equity for the first three months, 25,000 for the next three months, and then subsequent funding of the top two to three teams with 150,000 Euros. Just like every other accelerator it will focus on the teams with disruptive, globally-scalable ideas.
Guess who is one of the co-founders? Yes, in addition to the by now omnipresent Jon Bradford of Springboard, other founders of eleven.bg are Daniel Tomov, Dilyan Dimitrov and Ivaylo Simov with a track record in private equity and venture capital industry. The team has already been scouting for talent at Venture Connect pitching competition in Bucharest, Romania and Startup Live Split in Croatia.
Eleven.bg partners with Google, and plans to take the graduating teams or “cohorts” to Google Campus in London or Silicon Valley.
Another seed stage investor in Bulgaria is Launchub.com, which has also been backed by Jeremie fund and will invest 8 million Euros to seed stage companies.
NEVEQ has also got a mandate and is in the process of raising additional 9 million Euros to complement allocated 21 million Euros from Jeremie program. Further funds for growth and mezzanine stages receive 30 million each and must match that with private money.
NEVEQ has already invested most of its previous fund (except for the cash allocated to the existing portfolio companies). The first fund was a combination of early stage and a follow on investments. It made one exit, and the fund is looking for other options for its remaining six companies. The full list can be found here.
According to Ezekiev Bulgaria is definitely happening, but at the moment there are not that many companies on the radar screen (we found that at GoalEurope as well). He explains it with lack of a dedicated pool of money to support seed to early stage businesses so the only options for the local startups was either to raise money from angel investors, or go abroad.
Let’s see how Jeremie program will change that. From the Bulgarian success stories we know XS Software, and better known startups are LOOKK (which one may consider also Hungarian, Austrian or UK-based depending on the cofounder), OpenBuildings, fonii and, well, NEVEQ’s very own Steve Keil is up to something we know is supercool and will soon come out of stealth.
And finally, here is my favorite: Keil’s Play Manifesto, or why things in Bulgaria are not working. Watch just for the sake of the “Baba factor”. Enjoy.
+44 (020) 3290 3544
vita at goaleurope dot com