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The Bulgarian startup scene is hustling and buzzing these days. Only recently, Magin, the winner of the last Startup Weekend Varna in May 2013, announced that they got accepted to the next batch of Y Combinator! As the first Bulgarian startup ever! Wow, what a great success for the freshly started Bulgarian company by Martin Stoyanov and Theodosius Teodosiev.

Magin develops an application which organizes your mails better. You can also use it on your mobile device so that you can organize your mails while on the road. Labels solve endless searches through your mails for what is important and what not. Your productivity will rise immediately.

While Magin is heading to Silicon Valley, Stepsss as winner of Startup Weekend Sofia at the end of November, make their first steps as a startup by being accepted at the next Eleven accelerator batch, only three weeks after finishing first at Startup Weekend Sofia! Stepsss develops a smart insole that monitors the pressure in different areas of your foot when you stand or walk. It then sends the information to your mobile device or the one of your orthopedist who can tailor your treatment accordingly after a foot injury. The information helps you to do appropriate exercises, track your performance and get fit quicker.

Stepsss_SW Sofia

The team of Stepsss consists of Stefan Ivanov (team leader & UX designer), Nevena Ganeva (marketing and social media), Ivan Atansov (business analyst) and the three developers Kris Parmakov, Nikola Donchev and Atanas Bahchevanov.

Asked about what the team achieved during the weekend, Stefan answers: “We did a lot but our idea ended up far from what it hopefully will look like one day. We managed to get an insole with a few embedded sensors that we engineered on our own, stream raw data through the web and show a heatmap of your foot from the data. It seems a lot but it actually is not that much when you know what you are doing, just what an MVP is. We also developed a good revenue strategy and targeted our market really well into three groups: patients that recover from foot trauma, professional athletes and hobbyst sportlers of course.”

The positive feedback from the coaches and some of the participants really helped the team to push their idea further. Even if the Sunday night pitch went very well and the judges seemed to understand the product, Stepsss weren’t expecting to win as “there were some really awesome ideas amongst the other teams”, says Stefan.

pitches sofia

After the weekend, the fun really started. Here is what happened to Stepsss after the win of Startup Weekend Sofia, described by Stefan: “Everything happened so quickly that I am still pinching myself to make sure I am not dreaming. We recorded a video for the Global Startup Battle and await the final results every moment as doing well there will definitely be a huge boost for Stepsss. The big news is that we got funding from Eleven (one of the startup accelerators in Bulgaria) which means that Stepsss is one step closer to our ultimate goal: to make the world a bit better for everyone. I actually believe that if your idea validates this slogan and your motivation comes from these words, you are definitely making it amongst the top three in any Startup Weekend worldwide. However, we stay on the ground and realize that the coming months will be really challenging and we have to be fully dedicated if we want our idea to succeed.”

Bulgaria’s startup scene is waking up. There is a lot more to come from the country at the Black Sea and all the other Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Accelerators as Eleven or LAUNCHub with its seed fund help those young companies to get started. Stay tuned, it will be awesome!

Photo courtesy by Startup Weekend Sofia & Margarit Ralev.

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Kathleen Fritzsche