As the concept of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across Bulgaria becomes more popular, the country is witnessing the birth and evolution of an actual ecosystem around this industry-reshaping technology. In recent years, there has been a plenitude of local startups building AI-based products, multinational corporations are choosing the region for R&D of AI solutions, scientific activity in the space appears to increase, and a number of new investors, clusters, and communities are boosting the development of the sector.
Just in the past year or so, we’ve seen numerous interesting developments:
- New AI startups were born in various industries – Kelvin Health embarked on a journey to make remote disease screening as easy as taking a selfie, Omnio took off to automate financial crime compliance processes, and TokWise is now helping energy companies optimize their green portfolios.
- GATE, a big data center of excellence launched with 30m in EU funding
- Bosch Engineering Center Sofia grew to over 350 people, some of which are working on the development of autonomous driving solutions
- HyperScience, the originally founded in Bulgaria AI document processing scaleup raised $140m and continued to expand its Sofia location,
- ProSiebenSat.1 opened R&D in Sofia and is using machine learning to create interactive personalized experiences.
- …and last but not least, AI Cluster Bulgaria was born with the goal to make Bulgaria a leader in AI in research and innovation, while PARA, the Professional Association of Robotics and Automation is playing an increasingly important role in robotics education and pushing the industrial automation ecosystem in Bulgaria forward.
Time to put it all together
The examples above are a very small fraction of everything that’s happening in the Bulgarian AI scene. Furthermore, at the moment, there is no clear visibility into the overall state of artificial intelligence across all levels of society in Bulgaria.
“A lot has been written in terms of strategic documents, but the de facto state of businesses, services, and products offered by Bulgarian AI companies is something I definitely miss,” commented for CIO.bg Alexandra Tsvetkova, director of LIBRe Foundation.
So, at Trending Topics SEE, with support from Vangavis and AI Cluster Bulgaria, we are already working on a truly comprehensive market research report to measure and showcase the progress of the Bulgarian AI ecosystem while answering several important questions in regard to the country’s strengths and opportunities ahead.
Which are the most prominent AI organizations and projects in Bulgaria? In what areas does the country have the most potential to become a hub for the development of AI innovation? How are people learning AI skills, what is the specific technological expertise engineers have, and what’s the state of the job market? What factors drive the progress and what roadblocks need to be addressed for the ecosystem to reach the next level?
We want to base this research on solid data straight from the industry, thus, we need input from all the companies in Bulgaria that use AI to solve problems across industries. It will really help us map up the local ecosystem and discover the true trends. In addition, everyone who fills in the survey below will have the opportunity to have their logo included in the most complete mapping of AI organizations in Bulgaria.
Who counts as an AI company?
For the purpose of this report and , we define an AI organization as a company that develops AI-enabled solutions and currently has at least 1 engineer on the team with actual expertise in fields like Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Big Data Analytics, NLP, Computer Vision, or other technological sub-segments of AI.
Companies that have AI development planned on their roadmap at some point in the future but right now don’t own AI expertise will be included in a special ‘To Watch’ category,
To make sure, we focus on the real AI companies in the ecosystem and not such that are using the buzzword as a marketing tool, the analysis is not going to feature organizations that are only using, repackaging or reselling AI solutions made by a third party – e.g. white-label apps or products whose interface is developed internally but not the back-end.