Bulgaria may be behind in sales of electric cars compared to leading European markets, but a Bulgarian company has become a leader in the sector for electric mobility services. Since its inception five years ago, AMPECO has attracted hundreds of customers in dozens of countries with its charging station management software platform. And new funding from a prestigious investor will help expand the business to the US and other new markets.
BMW Group's venture capital fund - BMW i Ventures enters AMPECO with an investment of $13 million in a Series A round. The total amount of funding the company has received so far is $16 million, after Bulgarian fund LAUNCHub invested $3 million in 2021 alongside co-investor Cavalry Ventures in a seed round. It is not clear what stake BMW i Ventures is getting in AMPECO. In most cases, with similar financing in a Series A round, the investor takes about 20%, which means that the valuation of the Bulgarian company is currently around 65 million dollars.
On six continentsAMPECO's main product is a charging infrastructure management software platform that it sells to EV station operators. The advantage of its solution is that it is compatible with any hardware and operators can create their own brand by choosing and adding the functionalities needed for their business. AMPECO has over 120 customer operators in more than 45 markets.
The new funding will target further expansion of the business by establishing a local representative office in the US. The company already has customers there, but wants to significantly increase them. Its leading markets are Great Britain, the Scandinavian Peninsula, and the Netherlands. It also has clients in Bulgaria, where it works with the Municipality of Varna, VsichkoTok, EVN and EVpoint.
"We have two big goals that we want to achieve with this investment. One is the internationalization of our team - especially expanding with new people in the US - we want to add a sales team for customers there. The second big goal is the development of the product and the addition of tools that use machine learning and artificial intelligence, which also means expanding our team in Bulgaria," Orlin Radev, CEO of AMPECO says.
Radev founded the company with five more partners in 2018, gradually growing its business. Currently, the company's team is over 80 people, 70 of whom are based in Bulgaria. Last year, the company quadrupled its sales, Radev says. Its revenues for 2021 reached BGN 3.2 million compared to BGN 613 thousand a year earlier, with a profit of BGN 314 thousand.
Expectations are that this year the growth of the business will quadruple for a second year in a row. "The sector will continue to grow rapidly even in the current economic environment in the coming years. And we as a company will grow even faster than it. For us, the next two years are the period in which we need to reach a leadership position in our segment. So we need to double the team this year, and probably do the same next year as well," says Radev.
A renowned investor
BMW i Ventures is the venture capital firm of the BMW Group. It has significant experience in financing hardware and software companies in the field of transport, manufacturing and logistics in the EU, USA and Israel. It has offices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and Munich and has made over 100 investments and 18 exits to date.
Among the young companies funded so far are Lime, Moovit, Chargepoint, Boston Metal and others. The firm has invested via three separate funds, and the capital raised for them is more than $930 million in total. The last of them - BMW i Ventures Fund II starts in 2021 with a capital of $300 million.
According to Radev, AMPECO held talks with nearly 70 different funds before choosing the new investor. "Our original list did not include BMW i Ventures, but we were introduced to them by our lawyer in the US. Our meeting happened at the right time: they know this sector, have invested in it and recognized our potential. We, in turn, appreciated the experience they have," adds the co-founder.