10 cool Bulgarian startups to watch in 2020 and beyond

Bulgaria’s thriving IT sector and increased investor interest in the region has turned Bulgaria, and its capital Sofia, into a popular startup destination in the Balkans. Startups growing their business in the area can get neutral advice from Bulgarian Startups, a non-profit created to give an overview of the ecosystem, on topics such as the best accelerators, where to find capital and local coworkings. For networking, there is a bright selection of locally-curated events, as well as successful formats like Startup Grind and Startup Weekend, often held in Sofia. And if you want to keep up to date with this Eastern Europe hub, check out trending topics for breaking news.

With success stories such as Telerik and HelloHungry, a growing number of Bulgarian entrepreneurs have decided to give it a try in this small but buzzing startup scene. Here are 10 of the most promising teams founded in the last 5 years, that we think you”ll be hearing a lot from in 2020.

A4Everyone – Backed by Eleven Ventures and Impetus Capital, A4Everyone was founded in 2015 to offer an open SaaS ecosystem for proprietary and third-party advanced analytical solutions. Their analytical tools help SMEs better utilize their existing data by automating their processes in areas ranging from supply-chain forecasts to automated decision making in financial and insurance institutions. Among the clients we find Coca-Cola, Credissimo, Telenor, Nedelya, Rocando and more.

Ayo by Novalogy – AYO, a personalized light therapy, is the flagship product of startup Novalogy, which was founded in 2015. Ayo is a blue light emitting eyewear device designed to improve your sleep and boost your energy levels. Moreover, wearing an Ayo for 20 minutes, a few times a day, can also moderate the effects of jet lag, fight the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder and sync up your sleep schedule. The company has not remained unnoticed: in 2018, the product won the prestigious design Red Dot Award for exceptional product design and quality, and they also attracted capital from Eleven Ventures, Bulgarian and US angel investors and EIT digital. 

ClaimCompass – It has happened to all of us. A delayed, cancelled or overbooked flight. Only now, you can file your claim for compensation in under two minutes with ClaimCompass’ software. Simply insert your flight details into their automated claim filing and processing system and the company will take over the communication with the airline and mediate on your behalf. Since launching in 2015, the startup has reported that it has secured €5.4 million in compensation for more than 10,000 passengers.

Gtmhub – Gtmhub is a Bulgaria-US company founded in 2015, that has developed an intuitive data-driven platform where executives and managers amplify staff effort and accelerate growth by connecting Strategic Priorities to daily actions using the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) methodology. In 2019, the company has raised total funding of €9.3 million, with the aim of expanding beyond its 300 customers and its offices in Denver, London, Berlin and Sofia.

I Rise Mechanics – I Rise Mechanics, founded in 2016, is known for its OMNIBOT, a robotic verticalization mobility device for people with motor disabilities. Targeting specifically the lower limb disabilities, OMNIBOT is designed to reduce the health issues that result from sitting in a wheelchair for a long time. Moreover, it provides further independence and higher quality of life. As a result, the startup was recognized as the Best Social Impact startup at the Central European Startup Awards in 2019.

Nasekomo – Sofia-based agrobiotech Nasekomo harnesses the barely-tapped power of insects. Thanks to insects’ tremendous biological powers, they develop an efficient and sustainable system that converts organic by-products first into insect biomass, which is in turn processed into an animal protein alternative for aquacultures, pigs, poultry, and pets. Founded in 2017 and funded by Chivas Venture, Nasekomo are unleashing insects’ beneficial potential for tomorrow’s sustainable world.

Payhawk – This fintech helps companies easily manage their expenses with their paperless corporate cards and is already serving customers in 14 European countries. Founded in 2018 in Sofia, its business payment solution collects, extracts and reconciles expenses, saving your employees time, and includes features like spending limits, control of cash withdrawals, card sharing, and more. In March 2020, the startup closed €3 million in seed funding, opened an office in Berlin and is now focused on increasing its German presence.

ConnectedbinConnectedBin is an efficient waste collection solution. By equipping waste bins with an autonomous sensor device, the company collects data on the container’s capacity, GPS position, temperature and last collection, and based on this data, it summarizes the status of each container and the optimal route for waste collection. This on the other hand, enables waste management companies using the service to proactively organise waste collection, react quickly and plan collection routes efficiently. Founded in 2018, ConnectedBin is financed by the Climate KIC Accelerator.

BioSeek – Founded in 2017, BioSeek is the next Google for biotechnology research. Their platform is based on a semantic search engine and a graph database, which contains all the information scientists need to support their research efficiently: scientific publications, patents, grants, drugs, diseases, authors, etc. The search engine tool is also supported by analytics visualization tools, an online marketplace, and a fully integrated specialized messenger. The startup raised a seed investment of €461K from Impetus Capital in 2019, as well as mentoring and funding from Enterprise Google Services.

Evedo – Evedo is a platform that aims to put the event industry on blockchain and remove middlemen from the game. The blockchain-based platform is designed to unify the events, performers, event organizers, venues, attendees and sponsors and facilitate the event planning process. Founded at the beginning of 2018 by Rick Graham, and Stoyan Angelov, Evedo will enable booking spaces, managing tickets, and booking artists through smart contracts via their own token. 

By the way: If you’re a corporate or investor looking for exciting startups in a specific market for a potential investment or acquisition, check out our Startup Sourcing Service!

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