Sofia-based FantasticStay raises 1.3 mln euro in latest funding round
The property management platform FantasticStay raised 1.3 mln euro in an NV3-led funding round. NV3 - a local venture capital fund investing in tech start-up companies, provided 800,000 euro. The remainder came from private investors - entrepreneur Velizar Velichkov and software company Telerik's co-founder Vasil Terziev. The company has said that it will use the fresh capital to develop its products, grow its team, and bolster market position.
FantasticStay is developing a centralized short-term property management system for rent. Through the platform, landlords can track their reservations on various platforms, including Airbnb and Booking.com, as well as the revenue the properties bring in. FantasticStay also helps with guest communication, marketing a property, and generating offers for guest stays. Prices range from the free initial version to one for 284 euro per month depending on the functionalities property managers would like to receive from the platform. FantasticStay operates in the US, Mexico, Canada, the UK, France, and Spain.
In April 2020, amid the pandemic, FantasticStay acquired U.S. competitor Vreasy.com. According to FantasticStay founder Ivan Nikolov, the new business has significantly increased the company's client base.
The BDB's equity fund acquires 20% in shoemaker Kolev & Kolev for 1 mln levs
The manufacturer of children's shoes Kolev & Kolev has a new minority shareholder. The Fund for Capital Investments, part of state-owned Bulgarian Development Bank, acquired a 20% stake in the shoemaker for 1 million levs (511 thousand euro), according to an update published in the Bulgarian Trade Registry.
According to Kolev & Kolev founder Ivan Kolev, the money is the first step of a three-stage investment. By June, the Fund will have acquired 34% of the company. A year ago, Kolev & Kolev was planning to be the first enterprise in the new SME segment of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, BEAM. Now, that project seems to have been postponed because of the coronavirus crisis.
The funds will be used mainly for working capital but also for the development of the line of baby walker shoes. "Our baby shoes are easy to take off and are, in practice, a natural extension of the sock to the shoe. There are 60,000 newborns per year [in Bulgaria], and we sell 35,000 pairs of baby shoes, which means that every second baby is wearing our shoes", Kolev told Kapital Weekly. The company is further developing the technology behind the production of 3D knitted sporting goods to make baby shoes. The founder's ambition is to make Kolev & Kolev's baby shoes a global product. The company's revenues fell to 3.6 million levs in 2019, from 4.9 million in 2018.
Insurance platform Boleron attracts half a million euro investment
Bulgarian digital insurance broker Boleron, run entirely online, raised 500,000 euro from its recent funding round for a 20% stake in the company. The investment came from New Vision 3 (NV3) which brought in 300,000 euro, and Sofia-based Eleven fund - an early-stage VC investing in technology companies in Southeast Europe. Eleven brought in the remaining 200,000 euro. The startup will use the resources for software development and entry into neighboring markets.
"The insurance industry in Bulgaria and the region is ripe for disruption being among the low-tech verticals still not swiped by digitalization. In a Covid-19 situation, we see acceleration in trends that started some years ago and customers demand better, frictionless, and contactless experience, making the timing perfect for players like Boleron", said Zlatolina Mukova, managing partner at NV3, said in a press release.
Boleron, founded in 2019 by Alexander Tsvetkov, Simeon Kostov, Desislava Tsvetkova, and Dimitar Kolchakov, aims to digitalize the insurance industry. The broker enables consumers to manage different types of insurance products entirely online with just a few clicks. Boleron works with the biggest names in insurance on the Bulgarian market - Uniqa, Generali, Lev Ins, Euroins, DZI, Bulstrad, Allianz and others. Policies are signed digitally and sent to the client's e-mail. The company is also developing a mobile app that allows consumers to receive notifications for expiring policies and to facilitate the payment of installments.
Odelo starts building a second lighting systems plant near Plovdiv
A little over a year after odelo Bulgaria, part of Turkey's Bayraktarlar Group, opened a plant for lighting systems near Plovdiv, the Turkish manufacturer announced the start of construction of a second production facility worth 10 million levs (5.1 million euro). The investment is part of a 40 million euro project the odelo Group has planned, which should be concluded by 2023. The company is looking for 100 new workers for its new factory, which would increase the total number of its employees in Bulgaria to 330 people.
The second plant will allow Odelo to divide its production. Currently, manufacturing is carried out in the first building opened in 2019 - the production of serial lights which are used in new cars, and spare parts sold to dealerships. The spare parts production will move to the new building, which will also have a small logistical center. The 10-million-lev investment will cover the cost of construction and machines. Odelo expects the plant to be ready for business by the end of the year.
Odelo invested 20 million euro in its first production facility for manufacturing automotive lighting systems. Then, the company announced that they plan to build another production facility, but management said that the extension will depend on whether customers are satisfied with the product. The group is also considering building an electronics factory, as well as a park for its subcontractors to work in, which is why it bought 9.2 ha of land in Plovdiv's industrial zone. Odelo currently produces car lights for companies such as Audi, Mercedes, VW, BMW, Renault, Toyota, Ford, and Fiat.