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BVCA on Tour with #InvestEU Berlin

The Bulgarian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) held its next BVCA on Tour in Berlin, in partnership with the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria. The event gathered 150 people to discuss entrepreneurship and venture capital (VC) investment across Bulgaria and Germany.

Success stories from some of the most outstanding start-ups and growing companies from Bulgaria were among the panellists, as well as successful Bulgarian entrepreneurs who are operating on the German market. Another panel discussion was dedicated to the VC fund managers who invested in those companies – not only capital, but also expertise, key contacts and know-how.

BVCA on Tour with #InvestEU started the event with opening addresses by BVCA team and the European Commission representatives from both Germany and Bulgaria. They presented the initiative – a series of events that aim to showcase the success stories in entrepreneurship and VC investment in Bulgaria around European capitals. The launch of VentureEU by the European Commission and the EIF was announced: a Pan-European Venture Capital Funds-of-Funds programme, backed by EU funding to the tune of €410mn, with the aim to raise up to €2.1bn of public and private investment. This is a continuation of the strong commitment and effort to boost investment in innovative start-up and scale-up companies across Europe and provide them with every opportunity to become world-leading companies while remaining in the EU.

BVCA Chairman, Evgeny Angelov, presented the VC ecosystem’s development in Bulgaria and the region. In his overview, he summarised that in the past five years there has been increasing public and private funding, which mobilised a total of €875mn, which is notable for the size of the Bulgarian market. This has resulted in financing more than 10,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and supporting 25,550 jobs, making Bulgaria a regional success story. Moreover, the country is becoming a regional hub, as more than 30% of the companies in the country are set up by non-Bulgarians. Its capital, Sofia, was ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the top 10 cities in the world to launch your start-up. Read more about the ecosystem’s development and his work in this article from VentureBeat.

BVCA on Tour with #InvestEU continued with a panel discussion with successful and innovative start-ups and companies across different industries, such as: Jourvie – the app that helps manage eating disorders; Coya – customer centric insurance solutions for millennials; Aeternity – the answer to current challenges in blockchain technology; Bulpros – the fastest growing technology company in Bulgaria according to Deloitte’s latest report „Technology Fast 50 in Central Europe“; and Bee Smart Technologies – the best remote beehive management system on the market. They presented their stories of starting and managing their businesses and how European and private investment helped them start, such as Jourvie; internationalise their business, such as Bulpros; or boost innovation, such as Bee Smart Technologies. 

Social entrepreneurship was pointed out as a sphere where there is more to be done in order for start-ups to become more sustainable and to prosper.

Partners of Bulgarian-based VCs from PostScriptum VenturesBlackPeak CapitalLAUNCHub Ventures and NEVEQ Capital Partners were the participants in the second panel. They shared what are they looking for in a company when deciding to support it, as well as presented some of the regional success stories within their portfolios. The representative from the European Investment Fund shed a light into the creation of the ecosystem in Bulgaria and that more funding is expected in the coming years, in support of SMEs in Bulgaria. Endeavor Bulgaria‘s Managing Director stressed on their role in bridging entrepreneurs with investors and mentors. The BVCA members concluded the discussion by sharing examples of how the Bulgarian diaspora around the world is engaging with the local ecosystem – by becoming mentors, angel investors, or starting their businesses in the country – and invited the audience to get in touch with them and with BVCA.

Read more about the event in Berlin and BVCA work in this article by Deutsche Welle (in Bulgarian).

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