The startup ecosystem in Bulgaria
The start-up ecosystem in Bulgaria has emerged recently but evolved significantly. The European Investment Fund and the government provided support, including the Jeremie programme which, among other instruments helping entrepreneurs, has funded the first two seed accelerators in the country and co-funded the second venture capital fund, raised and managed by NEVEQ.
NEVEQ has been the pioneer in venture capital funding and focused entirely on information technology businesses working locally but active globally, through business networks and a p[owerful diaspora reach out . Starting in 2007, NEVEQ funded eight businesses which made global footprint and attracted landmark customers. Two successful exits and a recent co-funding with global players serve as an example.
later, several international VC funds and strong angel investors backed local companies and there are a few dozen businesses today, with success stories globally. In the last 2-3 years, the interest of international VC funds towards Bulgaria has increased significantly which has resulted in several investments in Bulgaria-grown companies by leading funds such as Summit Partners, Index Ventures, BlueRun and Earlybird.
Eleven and Launchub, the leading local accelerators, provided funding to over 70 start-ups. Some of their portfolio companies were successful in raising additional capital from leading US and European accelerators and/or venture capital funds or strategic partners.