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New VC fund to finance Bulgarian AI and blockchain start-ups

A new investment fund will support the Bulgarian start-up ecosystem. The venture will be a joint project between The Bulgarian Fund of funds, which manages BGN 1.2 billion under four operational programs and the financial intermediary NEVEQ Management, which will manage the investment process in start-ups.

The funds provided by The Fund of funds will amount to BGN 37.4 million, in addition to this amount, NEVEQ’s partners will invest their own funds as well as attract co-investments so the total amount available for investments will increase to BGN 53.4 million.

According to its business plan, the new fund will invest in 45 start-ups. The fund’s investment in a single company is expected to range from EUR 200,000 to EUR 1 million against which the investor will receive around 20% – 35% of the company’s equity. The fund will have a strategic focus on companies developing solutions and products in the segments of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain-based solutions, fintech, and shared economy platforms such as Airbnb, Snapgoods, etc.

NEVEQ has a long history, as it is the first venture capital fund in Bulgaria, set up in 2008, as well as one of the first funds specialising in investing and supporting IT and tech companies in the Balkans. The fund has two generations of start-up investments – the first one from the fund set up in 2008 with private funds solely, the second one – with JEREMIE funds.

Since then, NEVEQ has been involved in a number of strategic deals in Bulgaria, such as the sale of equity stakes from:

  • Semantic software developer Ontotext to Sirma Group Holding for EUR 4.2 million;
  • Software company that provides advanced shopping, merchandising and inspirational travel solutions Vayant Travel Technologies to the US-based PROS Holdings for USD 35 million;
  • Financial risk assessment company FinAnalytica to the French BISAM;
  • Data center operator 3DC to the English TeleCityGroup;

The deals are an example of how а partnership between the founders of a start-up and the VC funds could turn the company into a leader in its segment and attract a reputable international investor in Bulgaria.

 

Bulgarian VR company attracts additional capital

The early-stage investor Odacio, as well as a total of 16 business angels, part of CEO Angels Club, financially supported the Bulgarian company, developing solutions in the field of virtual and augmented reality – QuarkVR.

QuarkVR has received a total investment of EUR 335,000 to hire additional software developers and QA testers at its Sofia office as well as sales representatives to market their products in the US. Some of the investors in the company are members of CEO Angels Club – a group of managers and entrepreneurs who invest their own funds in start-up companies, and the other big investor, Odacio, is an investment firms with a focus on start-ups as well.

QuarkVR offers a multi-platform VR development tool that allows users to build VR apps, game as well as Intugame VR, which allows users to play games in VR. The company has its own technology for copying and encoding VR and AR content, and is currently testing the application of 5G networks in the transmission of such content. According to analysts, the development of 5G networks and cloud technologies will improve the quality and connectivity of augmented and virtual reality and will thus contribute for their widespread use in industrial and consumer applications.

In the past year, QuarkVR has launched partnerships with industrial leaders such as Deutsche Telekom, Orange, NVidia, Dell and Intel and in 2017 it was selected among the eight start-ups that participated in the VIVE X accelerator organized by HTC in San Francisco, where it showcased its wireless solution.

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