The Three Biggest Funding Events in the Bulgarian Tech Ecosystem in 2021

Stan Sirakov
LAUNCHub’s Look
Published in
3 min readDec 22, 2021

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#1 Gtmhub

https://gtmhub.com/

Last funding round: $120 million

https://therecursive.com/gtmhub-raises-120m-in-the-largest-funding-round-in-the-okr-software-space/

Total money raised in 2021: $150 million (120 + 30 in January, 2021)

https://www.trendingtopics.eu/the-founded-in-bulgaria-okr-startup-gtmhub-closes-a-30%d0%bc-series-b-round-and-plans-to-triple-its-rd-team-in-sofia/

Total money raised: $161 million

I’ve had the pleasure to meet with Ivan Osmak from Gtmhub in November, 2017 and very quickly fell in love with the company. It fitted perfectly in our investment thesis “Agility in the Enterprise”. We (LAUNCHub Ventures) ended up leading the seed round of $1.2 million in the beginning of 2018, participating in both the Series A and Series B afterwards.

The biggest learning from this investment is, “trust your gut and if you are lucky enough to participate in the leader of an emerging category enjoy the ride and double down.”

My favorite quote from Ivan is, “running a startup is like running a fighter jet, it has to be designed to be statically unstable, but at the same time be able to go for hypergrowth. If you want the stability of the civil aviation go for a corporation.”

#2 Payhawk

https://payhawk.com/

Last funding round: $112 million

https://therecursive.com/bulgarian-payhawk-raises-a-historic-112m-series-b-round-led-by-an-investor-in-stripe/

Total money raised in 2021: $132 million (112 + 20 in April, 2021)

https://therecursive.com/bulgarian-expense-management-startup-payhawk-raises-a-record-breaking-20m-series-a-round/

Total money raised: $136 million

I asked Vassil Terziev (a friend and a fellow investor) for an intro in 2019 and we met with Hristo Borisov (CEO of Payhawk) in June that year. Having experienced how complicated is spend management in the corporate world, I immediately bought into their value prop. However, we decided not to invest, mainly due to some concerns on the competitive landscape.

The biggest learning is never to underestimate the market size and market adoption, and once you have a top-notch product team to bet on them.

This will chase us as an anti-portfolio for а lооong time.

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and finally

#3 LAUNCHub Ventures 😂 😂 😂 😂 😂

Third and final closing of the fund: €74+ million

https://therecursive.com/launchub-ventures-announces-oversubscribed-final-closing-of-a-e74m-fund-for-startups-in-southeast-europe/

We have our third and final funding sealed at €74+ million at the end of 2021 — after our initial goal of €50 million set in 2019, increased to €70 million in 2020 and oversubscribed at €74+ million (sorry to all the friends who wanted, but couldn’t participate).

In general all my learnings are related to LAUNCHub, my partners, team and the founders we’ve backed, but the main one this year was around ambition, boldness and to dare to aim high — after that it is not that hard to execute.

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Other observations:

It is great to have funding rounds bigger than most of the funds (ourselves included) in the region — that’s a sign of how much potential South-Eastern Europe reveals.

It is great to have more and more $100+ million rounds, and not to be monopolized by 1 or 2 companies, as was the case a couple of years ago — market is maturing.

There are two investors (as far as I know) that have backed all the three institutions above. Kudos to Vassil Terziev and Svetozar Georgiev (ex Telerik founders, investors, ecosystem players, friends and great people).

Last but not least, wishing to all of you more and more funding successes in 2022!!!

🎅🎅🎅🧦🎁

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Stan Sirakov
LAUNCHub’s Look

Venture capitalist, love tech, interested in AI, dream about windsurfing ….. Partner @ LAUNCHub Ventures