My name is Paul Weinberger and I’m a founding partner at Vitosha Venture Partners. With 15 years of experience in venture capital and international M&A, I will be spending a lot of time in Sofia in the coming years as we are aiming to invest into the best growth companies in the region; something I’m very much looking forward to. Here are a few reasons, why we are so excited about Vitosha and Bulgaria.
Why we believe in Bulgaria
Bulgaria has seen a really steady growth and progress over the last few years. The infrastructure has improved, the economy has become more resilient and the population - very competent and well-educated. Bulgaria has a really impressive advantage as a country deeply connected to its regional neighbors, while at the same time being a member of the EU; a strategic position that the country is using well to position itself as the most logical entry point to the region. Our team has years of experience doing regional investment work in the Balkans out of Sofia, and with Vitosha, we can take this to a whole new level.
Why we think Bulgaria is a great place from a venture investing perspective
The facts are simple: Bulgaria is the no. 1 business process outsourcing destination in the EU and currently the leading funding market in the SEE region. It’s very impressive that 1/3 of the startups here are founded by non-Bulgarians - a truly international community! Also, in a recent report, the European Center of Digital Competitiveness ranked Bulgaria as the top "Digital Riser 2020" among Europe and North America countries. And for me, it’s no coincidence that large IT players such as SAP decided to have their R&D center in Sofia. So at Vitosha, we see this potential as an opportunity and are looking to establish ourselves as the first internationally present player in the local ecosystem. Our aim is to help lift entrepreneurship to a new level, contributing to innovation, jobs and growth locally.
How do we see the current Bulgarian startup scene
Over the last years, the country has managed to establish itself as Southeast Europe’s most vibrant IT hub with a booming tech sector and outstanding talent. Bulgaria has built a strong reputation in tech sectors such as Enterprise SaaS, Deep Tech, Fintech or Blockchain, with more and more local VC money being invested. It is great to see that the capital, managed by Bulgarian based VC firms, is growing every year! Even for someone like me, who is / was mainly active in the DACH region, those dynamics have not been unnoticed. And recent transactions such as Hyperscience or Propy show, more and more international top tier VC’s are writing big checks for Bulgarian tech companies. And it’s exactly the trend that we are aiming at continuing: connecting the local venture market with European top players will be one of our main roles at Vitosha.
What we bring to the table with Vitosha
First and foremost: At Vitosha, we love to work with talented and visionary founders. From our joint investment experience and track record in the Vitosha team, we understand what it takes to successfully scale businesses, and with our hands-on approach, we contribute much more than just capital. As an international team of investment professionals, we connect our portfolio companies with the top VCs in Europe and the US, for follow-on financing and other growth options.
A well-developed VC landscape is vital to a thriving startup ecosystem. And especially now as we’re in the midst of a pandemic, increased investing in innovation will be one of the core recipes for a quick economic recovery. I am convinced that venture capital is a relatively small industry, but one with an outsize influence on the long-term health of an economy.
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