Our next guest started his first startup venture at 17. By the time he finished school, he managed to sell the business and return his investment.
Since then Orlin Radev has been a serial entrepreneur, mentor, and supporter of the Bulgarian tech ecosystem.
Most recently, he’s one of the founders and CEO of AMPECO. All-in-one electric vehicle charging management platform, essential for the electric mobility evolution.
The company recently closed its Series A investment, supported by BMW iVentures and LAUNCHub Ventures to scale and conquer the North American e-mobility market.
In the episode, Orlin talks about:
How the ability to craft your own destiny drew him to entrepreneurship;
The importance of having co-founders who bring a different perspective to the business (“I work better when I have someone to challenge me.”)
How the idea of AMPECO came to be during a 35-hour adventurous drive from Germany to Bulgaria, which concentrated the experience of every EV driver back in 2018;
Our next guest believes that decarbonization is the biggest paradigm shift in the world economy since the industrial revolution.
Dimitar Enchev is a managing partner at PostScriptum Ventures. A private equity fund focused on sustainability and energy transition investments.
But besides his investor’s hat, Dimitar is also an entrepreneur. He co-founded CWP Global. A company that developed and realized a number of large-scale renewable energy projects, including the biggest wind farm in Europe.
Recently, Dimitar has exited with CWP Renewables, one of Australia's leading renewable energy players. He will now focus on the groups’ projects in Europe and new climate tech opportunities such as green hydrogen.
Dimitar graduated from Swarthmore College in the USA and the London School of Economics.
In his conversation with Irina, Dimitar talks about:
✔️ How to create the next wave of unicorns in the decarbonization space;
✔️ The 3 big trends driving change in the energy space;
✔️ How CEE can turn its challenges as one of the most carbon-intensive regions in Europe into economic opportunities;
Saknas det avsnitt?
Our next guest is a seasoned manager who walked all the way from consulting to entrepreneurship to ecosystem building.
Momchil Vassilev is the managing director of the global entrepreneurial network Endeavor for Bulgaria. In this role, he helps create a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and nurture founders with global ambitions, the ability to scale fast, and a give-back mindset.
Prior to that, Vassilev has over 20 years of professional experience in management and business development. He co-founded a biotech company called Provity. Led the Corporate Development of VIA Investment group and oversaw audits, mergers, and acquisitions at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In his conversation with Irina, Momchil talks about his own journey towards entrepreneurship, but also about building the backbone of the Bulgarian entrepreneurial ecosystem and galvanizing the next level of its growth.
“Endeavor is all about helping high-impact entrepreneurs to grow big and through their success, to impact the economy and society in general”, he explains.
Watch the episode to learn:
🏃🏻♀️ How to stay relevant in a fast-moving world?
💀 Why do so many startups die before they become scale-ups?
🇧🇬 How to create game-changing innovation in a small country?
Our next guest is an Albanian-born entrepreneur. His professional path is closely connected to Bulgaria. But his impact as an entrepreneur and investor has spread throughout the whole region of Southeast Europe.
Elvin Guri is currently managing the VC fund - INVENIO Partners, advising and mentoring companies from the biotech industry to healthcare, food, and real estate.
Elvin Guri co-created Jet Finance, the largest independent consumer lending company in SouthEastern Europe which he exited to BNP Paribas in 2007.
He holds an Executive MBA from the University of Oxford. He has supported several educational initiatives in Bulgaria and Albania, including his Alma Mater AUBG, Junior Achievement & Teach for Bulgaria.
In his conversation with Georgi Nenov, Elvin Guri talks about:What was the winning combination for Jet Finance to become the largest independent consumer lending company; How to help create a more equitable society through investments; How to nurture the next regional champions; How regional economies can cooperate, but also compete better to grow;
Our next guest is a hardware engineer building the future of biometric security.
Vince Gaydarzhiev is the founder of the US-Bulgarian company Alcatraz AI. The hardware-as-a-service startup offers autonomous access control that uses facial biometrics, 3D sensing, and AI.
Among the customers of Alcatraz AI are Fortune 500 companies, including telecoms and government-owned banks.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Vince worked as an engineer for high-profile companies like Apple and Nvidia.
He holds several engineering degrees from Stanford and the universities of Southern California and Florida.
In his conversation with Irina, Vince talks about
🔐 The complexity of innovating the security industry;
💸 The hardships of fundraising for a hardware-as-a-service company;
👔 Why stepping down as a CEO was one of his best business decisions;
Our next guest is one of the power ladies of the Bulgarian VC sector.
Elina Halatcheva is a managing partner at BrightCap Ventures.
With a background in finance and investment banking, Elina has an MBA from Stanford University. She grew as a professional in the US and UK markets and her expertise ranges from investment banking to e-commerce and real estate.
Eventually, Elina came back to Bulgaria to contribute to the growth of the local tech ecosystem.
As an investor Elina is also a part of the European Women in VC initiative, trying to bridge the gap for funding for female founders.
In her conversation with Georgi Nenov, Elina talks about:
🎯 What are the key qualities of successful founders?
🤝 Why teamwork is important in the investor-founder relationship and for the success of the business?
💸 Strategies for fundraising in a downturn;
Our next guest is a seasoned executive who has walked the road from corporate to entrepreneurship.
After more than 20 years in different positions in the IT industry, Dimitar Dimitrov founded his own company. Digital Lights is a software company building innovative solutions for the mobility industry.
Recently, it has been ranked the 3d fastest-growing IT company in Bulgaria.
Dimitar Dimitrov is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Sofia University. His own Alma Mater, where he’s currently also part of the Alumni Board.
In his conversation with Georgi Nenov, Dimitar Dimitrov reflects on:
🧠 The philosophy behind doing meaningful work;
🚀 The growth journey of Digital Lights;
🏎️ How software has become the soul of the vehicle and where is the future of mobility taking us;
Our next guest’s mission is to make artificial intelligence more secure and reliable. Petar Tsankov is at the unique intersection of science and entrepreneurship.
Until recently, He’s was researcher and a lecturer at ETH Zurich, and currently co-founder of LatticeFlow, a company helping machine learning teams build and deploy trustworthy AI.
Before that, Petar already had one successful exit. He sold his first company ChainSecurity to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Petar is the proud owner of “The John Atanassov” award - an initiative that supports young Bulgarian inventors in the area of information technology.
He has a Computer Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In the episode, Petar talks about:
🤖 What is critical to win the market of deep learning technology?;
🤔 Can AI offer more fair way to treat people?🎨 Is there a boundary between what humans can do and what technology can do?
Our next guest discovered entrepreneurship when he was a teenager. Since then Radu Negulescu has been running multiple successful businesses.
While still in university, he founded Trencadis, a company developing IT solutions for governmental institutions and businesses.
Trencadis was recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in Central Europe by Deloitte.
During the pandemic, Radu appointed a seasoned manager to run Trencadis to jump-start a new venture.
His company Sessions was founded on the verge of transitioning toward remote and hybrid work.
Sessions’ mission is to solve the problem of unproductive meetings and help teams communicate more effectively.
In the episode, Radu reflects on his journey from a teen entrepreneur, through university-drop-out, to a serial entrepreneur.
In this episode you will hear:
✂️ Why entrepreneurship is a craft;
🔮 What is the future of hybrid work;
🤔 How management is different from leadership;
🗂️ His theoretical framework about the nature of information;
Our next guest has participated in the Romanian tech ecosystem since its inception.
First as an angel investor, today, Dan Mihaescu is the founding partner of GapMinder VC.
He has led GapMinder’s investments in companies like FintechOS, TypingDNA, Cartloop, Cyscale, and DruidAI.
Before that, Dan was a seasoned business executive with experience in small, medium to large enterprises, M&A deals, and venture acceleration. Dan is also an INSEAD Alumni and Harvard Business School graduate.
In his conversation with Irina, Dan reflects on the evolution of the Romanian tech ecosystem, his decision-making process as an investor, and the building up of the business expertise in the region.
In the episode, you’ll hear:
🌐 What is the spill-over effect after UiPath’s global success?
🚩What are the red flags when an investor is making a risk assessment?
❓What is the question Dan asks founders to test whether they’re playing the long game?
Our next guest is one of the most influential people in tech in Europe.
Mike Butcher is Editor-at-large at TechCrunch. But his journalistic work has appeared in many media outlets from The Guardian to the BBC, and Bloomberg.
He was recognized by the Queen of England for his services in tech industry and journalism.
Mike has also advised UK Prime Ministers and the Mayor of London on tech startup policy.
He is the founder of the non-profit Techfugees. A global organization providing tech solutions for displaced people.
In his conversation with Irina, Mike opens up about how he got the journalism “bug”. He shares his observation on the growth of the European tech ecosystem and reflects whether regulations are a hurdle or an opportunity for tech businesses. He offers his view on what’s the best use of public money to fuel innovation.
Watch the episode to find out:
🔥 Which tech trend he’s most passionate about?
🏃♀️ What are the unique advantages of Eastern Europe when it comes to innovation?
🛑 What is the major pitfall startup founders make when pitching their product?
🎙️ What’s the most interesting interview he’s had of all the founders he’s met?
Our next guest takes education very seriously. So much so, that she founded an ed-tech startup.
Evelina Necula is the co-founder of Kinderpredia. A school management software that simplifies administrative stuff to help teachers, parents, and students communicate better.
Today, Kinderpedia is used by schools and kindergartens in 14 countries. In over 2000 schools and kindergartens worldwide.
Evelina leans on her marketing and B2B sales experience to scale the company.
In her conversation with Georgi Nenov, Evelina shares why and how she decided to become an entrepreneur even though she had a great career as a marketing professional.
Evelina and her co-founders first spotted the need for better communication between parents and teachers. They saw the difficulties both parties were going through to stay in touch - the frustration of the teachers and the anxiety of the parents to be disconnected from their children’s experience in school or kindergarten for most of the day. And they realized the huge opportunity children were missing not having the most important adults in their life communicate and work together towards their progress, Evelina explains.
In the episode, she talks about:
🎒 Kinderpedia’s vision to transform education;
✨ What is at the core of leadership?
🤔 Why spending time on validation of your product pays off;
Our next guest is born an entrepreneur.
At just 23 years old, he already had three companies, making profits.
Andrei Ursachi is a serial entrepreneur, currently serving as the CEO of Stailer, an online booking platform for the beauty industry. An opportunity Andrei saw and acted on in the midst of the pandemic.
He utilizes his background in digital marketing and psychology to build fast-scaling companies.
In his conversation with Georgi Nenov, Andrei reflects on what is it like to stay at the top of your game in this intense competition that is running a startup business.
Watch the episode for insights on:💅🏻How he built Linkedin for beauty professionals;💙 How business teaches you to stay anxious but follow your intuition;🥊 How to get up when you’ve been knocked down;
Our next guest has a passion for exploring the barriers to AI implementation. As a startup founder, and an advisor, but also as an investor.
Dimitrios Skaltsas is the co-founder and Executive Director of Intelligencia. A company that helps pharma and biotech companies reduce risks in drug development and bring new drugs to market faster.
Dimitrios has an MBA from INSEAD and he has been an executive resident there. And he has also led the Big Data and AI department at McKinsey New Ventures.
Dimitris lives in New York, but you can meet him often in Athens. Intelligentsia’s headquarters is across the ocean, but Athens is the R&D powerhouse of the company.
In his conversation with Irina, Dimitris shares lessons learned from:🥧 His first entrepreneurial venture, selling traditional Greek cheese pies in New York;📏 Measuring success in a sophisticated industry like drug development;🧠 Thinking both fast and slow to grow and accelerate a startup;
Our next guest is a true community builder and a person with a passion and talent for connecting people.
Pavlina Yanakieva is the co-founder and CEO of Bulgaria Innovation Hub. A non-profit that aims to build bridges between Sofia and the Silicon Valley and help local entrepreneurs scale their businesses in the US market.
Before that Pavlina gained experience in sales, marketing, and network development at US Telecoms like AT&T and T-Mobile. She has also worked for Google and Cingular Wireless.
Pavlina has a degree in International Relations from San Jose State University in California. And she has specialized in entrepreneurship and product management at Stanford and Berkeley.
In her conversation with Georgi Nenov, she reflects on how to crack the culture code when it comes to the perception of entrepreneurship and failure in Bulgaria and the US.
She also talks about the power of networks, and her mission to support education in Bulgaria.
In the episode you’ll also hear:👨👧How her grandfather taught her first entrepreneurial skills;🏋️♀️ How to nurture a culture of confidence and self-worth in Bulgaria;🏃♀️ What are Europe’s advantages in the competition for capital and talent with China and the US;
Our next guest is known as the Guru of the Greek startups. Apostolos Apostolakis is a partner at Venture Friends. The first 100% private venture capital fund in Greece with successful exits and soonicorns like Blueground and Spotawheel in their portfolio.
Today, Venture Friends has spread its impact not only throughout Europe but also to South America and the Middle East. Apostolos also has a vast portfolio as an angel investor. But before that he was a serial entrepreneur, tapping into niches like e-commerce.
Apostolos has studied civil engineering and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. He kickstarted his career as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group.
In his conversation with Desy Karapchanska, he shares his lessons learned along his journey from consultancy, to entrepreneurship, to the world of VC. In the episode, you’ll also hear:
🍀 Why intuition is essential in making investment choices;
🔍 How to keep an open mind for constant learning;
🗺️ How to scale a company worldwide;
Next on The Recursive podcast, we welcome the Chief Financial Officer and Partner at LAUNCHub Ventures, Irina Dimitrova.
She left behind a prospective career in London, where she graduated in Banking and International Finance from the University of London, to pursue her dream - of making an impact in her home country, Bulgaria. With her financial acumen and determination, she managed to put Southeast Europe on the map for investments when entrepreneurship was still at its embryonic level.
First, she wanted to pursue a career in project management, but things took another turn and she became one of the first women in the venture capital market in our region by joining LAUNCHub Ventures.
In this episode, you will hear more about:What is the driving force behind a successful career in venture capital? What is more important than the entrepreneurial idea for investors? What does the future of the SEE region hold?
Next, on The Recursive podcast, we welcome an innovation driver and supporter in the Bulgarian startup ecosystem.
Meet Max Gurvits, a “Bulgarian by choice,” as he describes himself. Max is a Managing Partner at Sofia-based VC, Vitosha Venture Partners. Graduating from The University of Groningen with a Master’s degree in International and European Law, Max explores his interest in entrepreneurship at one moment of his life, which later leads him to moving to Bulgaria. Since then, Max Gurvits has been one of the most respected players in the Bulgarian innovation ecosystem.
In his conversation with Irina, Max shares the most interesting stories from his life and why he decided to work and live in Bulgaria. He stresses on the current state of the Bulgarian ecosystem and the opportunities for the country to develop as a main business location in Europe.
In the episode, you’ll also hear:How Bulgaria can develop a competitive economy; Why Max fell in love with Bulgaria and decided to move there; How a lawyer by education became an entrepreneur.
Our next guest, Vicky Foteinou, has been side-by-side with the tech founders from the Greek innovation ecosystem for the past decade. She has consulted startups from scratch, navigating their growth and expansion across markets, sectors, and networks. Payhawk, Plum, WealthyHood, Finloup, and Welcome Pickups, to name a few.
Vicky Foteinou is an experienced program manager with a background in public and business administration. Currently, she’s the Program Manager at the Greek Innovation and Technology Company, CrowdPolicy. And a Manager of the Visa Innovation Program in Greece.
Vicky Foteinou is also an avid explorer of human emotions, digging deep into psychology studies.
In her conversation with Desi Karapchanska, Vicky talks about what makes a good founder and why programs like the Visa Innovation Program are important for the ecosystem.
In this episode you will hear:
🤝Why networking and creativity are crucial for any ecosystem;
🔐Why empathy is important in entrepreneurship;
👩🏻💻How the Greek startup ecosystem has evolved under the leadership of women.
Our next guest’s growth journey reflects the growth of the Greek innovation landscape.
Dimitris Kalavros got fascinated with tech innovation while working as a journalist. This is how he found his own calling for entrepreneurship.
Dimitris brought the TEDx conference to Athens and has curated it for more than a decade.
He also created Found.ation, a technology and innovation enabling platform in Southeast Europe. Today, Found.ation runs a digital transformation accelerator for companies and it acts as a tech education hive, offering reskilling, upskilling, and consulting services.
Later on, Dimitris put on the investor hat. He co-founded Velocity.Partners, a VC fund for early-stage ventures. The fund has supported 22 companies, many with international presence. And it already has 3 exits.
In his conversation with Irina, he reflects on his journey and the lessons learned along the way.
In the episode, he also talks about:
🔝 His evolution from a founder to an investor; (“Once you put on the investor’s hat you are no longer in the driver’s seat, you are no longer calling the shots”)
😨 Why fear is the main obstacle to start a business; (“The absence of fear is the energy source you need to start something new.”)
🇬🇷 His philosophy on the development of the Greek ecosystem; (“As an ecosystem, we mature together”)
- Visa fler