We are halfway through a year that’s been quite turbulent for both startups and investors. Yet, despite the coronavirus pandemic and two months in a state of emergency, deals are still happening as at least 16 young Bulgarian companies managed to raise over €21m.
Interestingly, research by Activize shows that Romanian startups have received about the same amount of total funding, which, however, is distributed among more companies – 30. While both Southeast Europe ecosystems seem to continue developing well, there is still a huge gap with the US. Since February, Hyperscience and Leanplum, two companies co-founded by Bulgarian entrepreneurs but having their business headquarters overseas have raised €77m.
Vertical-wise fintech is still one of the most trending sectors in the country with four deals in the first six months of 2020 but cleantech has turned into a sector on the rise as three green ventures make the list below and another three have received financial support from crowdfunding, competitions, and other alternative sources.
Capital invested in Bulgarian-based startups in 2020
- Nasekomo, a company that upscales organic waste streams from the agro-industry into animal feed, recently announced the closing of a €4M investment round. Bulgarian VCs Morningside Hill and New Vision 3 participated with a total of €1.5M, and were joined by another around 20 international private investors.
- Back in March, less than two years after its start, the Bulgarian fintech startup Payhawk picked up one of the largest seed rounds Southeastern Europe has seen. The young expenses management company raised €3M, led by top-tier German VC Earlybird, and headed to Germany as its next target market.
- In one of New Vision 3’s first deals, Paynetics, an EU licensed e-money issuer and payment provider offering payments-as-a-service, closed a €2.45M round led by BACB.
- Just before the big disruption for the airline industry, Instant flight delay compensation company Colibra closed a €2M seed round. The new investor is registered in the US investment firm, Asterion Capital, which joined Eleven Ventures who backed the venture in late 2018.
- At the beginning of July, BizPortal, a corporate data and public tenders intelligence startup raised €1.7M.
- Phyre, a Bulgarian E-Wallet startup raised €1.55M to build a mobile payment ecosystem, after with next to no marketing investments its team managed to reach 115K users, most of which – paying ones.
- EnduroSat actually closed two investment rounds in very quick succession, totaling at least €1.33m. First, previous investor Neo Ventures put new €333k in the Bulgarian nanosatellite startup, and then a few weeks later, the German deep tech fund Freigeist Capital announced that it had backed the EnduroSat with over €1m.
- Another fintech company on the list as Phos received a €1.2M. The company has developed a mobile application that turns phones into POS terminals, aiming to help small and mid-sized merchants to easily offer contactless payments to their clients.
- Reaching a valuation of over €10m, the online supermarket eBag just received a €500k investment from the biggest Czech online grocery retailer. The deal involves an option for another €500k in case eBag needs additional external capital on its growth journey.
- At the beginning of June, telehealth startup Healee announced its first external investment. The startup raised €800K in a round led by Eleven Ventures, and joined by Hristo Hristov’s HR Capital, to continue expanding not only in Bulgaria but also in the UK and the US where Healee has recently started gaining traction.
- Also at the beginning of June, the Bulgarian eCommerce startup CloudCart received €640k. Just three weeks later, the company focused on helping small businesses increase sales via digital channels announced a second deal as Sportal Media Group acquired a stake in CloudCart in exchange for an undisclosed amount.
- Going back to February, Eleven Ventures and Impetus Capital injected €660K into A4Everyone, a company on a mission to make data analytics solutions accessible to more small and medium-sized businesses.
- Just before the lockdown and the arrival of the spring, the Bulgarian e-bikes company Eljoy closed its first significant investment. Led by Vladimir Davchev, who recently sold his business to Takeaway.com, with the participation of Eleven Ventures, business angels Svetozar Georgiev and Todor Breshkov, the €630K round is aimed at expanding production capacity and entering new markets.
- Ondo, a company that provides a modular system that allows farmers to easily monitor and control all their plants in real-time while reducing water, energy, and fertilization costs, was backed with €300k back in April.
- In June, Impetus Capital invested €255k in Promoto, a young online platform that connects small merchants with producers and distributors of fast-moving consumer goods minimizing the time spent and the errors done with the established model of purchasing via phone.
- Finally, after three years of intensive R&D, Lam’on, a startup that has developed biodegradable laminating film for the printing industry, attracted its first investors. Two business angels – Sasha Bezuhanova, a former senior executive at HP and board member of the European Insitute of Technology, and Svetozar Georgiev, co-founder of Telerik and Campus X – joined Lamon’s board and invested €150k.
Still a big gap: Two US-based companies with Bulgarian co-founders raised €77m
- A bit over a year after it raised its previous $30m (€26.7m) round, the originally founded in Bulgaria document processing startup Hyperscience now announced another milestone – a $60m(€53.1m) round C backed by one of the oldest VC firms in the US – Bessemer Venture Partners.
- Mobile customer engagement company Leanplum announced that it has raised another $27m (€23.9m) million in an extension of its $47 (€41.6m) Series D round from 2017.
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