On Tuesday night I visited and delivered a talk to the cohort at Launchub,
Bulgaria’s first software startup accelerator. Launchub is financed by a seed fund
made up of private and EU money. Launchub is hosted at a great co-work space, betahaus,
in downtown Sofia. It was great visiting betahaus and meeting the teams. I quickly
noticed that the Bulgarian accelerator is the exact opposite of AcceleratorHK;
in Bulgaria, the teams are engineering heavy, while in Hong Kong, the teams are business
people/designer heavy. Too bad we are too far away for a merger.
I delivered a talk titled: “Lessons Learned From a Career in Startups.” I spoke about
raising money, how a business partner is like a wife/husband, how to align staff’s
expectations with your own, and then some general customer development (pivots, mvps,
and all the current popular lingo.) My bosses at Telerik are
involved in the accelerator and are mentors, so I told some jokes about them too.
At the Q&A time, Lyuben Belov, the program
director, wanted me to put a team on the spot and have them do their pitch. I turned
the tables on him and first asked Lyuben to pitch to me to invest in Launchub. (One
of the lessons was to be ready to go now!) Lyuben did a fabulous job and then we picked
one team, Useful at Night, to pitch. (It is also cool since this team also applied
to the AcceleratorHK, but they are already in Launchub. I invited the team to come
to HK for a week and spend time with the AcceleratorHK cohort.)
Evelin Velev from the team did a great job
with absolutely no prep time.
To round out the evening, I put one of my Telerik colleagues on the spot when asked
about the future of hybrid development. Hristo
Neychev is the director of BizDev for Icenium,
so he best be able to do this. He
did not disappoint and we had fun, I was making slides on the fly for him.
After the talk and lively Q&A session, we went to a downtown bar and had some
food and drinks and talked all night long about startups, technology, and why I joined
a Bulgarian Startup when I came to Telerik many years ago.
Stephen Forte sits on the board of several start-ups including Triton Works. Stephen is also the Microsoft Regional Director for the NY Metro region and speaks regularly at industry conferences around the world. He has written several books on application and database development including Programming SQL Server 2008 (MS Press).