The 5 Hidden Fintech Hubs: Sofia
Situated in the heart of Eastern Europe, the Bulgarian capital is home to nearly one-fourth of the country’s population. Its location is unique: the mountains to the north, the Serbian border to the west and the Iskar river to the east all make the Sofia one of the most attractive destinations in Europe. It attracts people all over the world with its many educational opportunities, cultural institutions and large companies. Great churches combined with inspired theaters showcase the variety of architecture in the Bulgarian capital. Not only is the city one of the top cities to visit in Eastern Europe, but is also extremely affordable due to Bulgaria’s communist past.
Affordability means an easy start for many startups and especially Fintechs. With a quickly growing financial services market, Sofia is rising to be the leading Fintech hub in Eastern Europe. International investors have noticed Sofia’s unique capability to combine tech specialists and an entrepreneurial mind. In 2012, the European Investment Fund brought 21 million Euros to the capital, giving perspective to many newly developed startups among which were Fintechs as well. LAUNCHub – a venture capital firm with headquarters in Sofia – has already made more than one hundred investments in 60+ companies. Initiatives in the city such as the co-working space Betahaus and the pre-accelerator program Start it Smart have been formed to help the city’s entrepreneurial landscape. Events such as the CEE Fintech Sofia Meetup and DigitalK are starting to expand, inviting Fintech enthusiasts from all over the world to share their knowledge.
Seeing the continuous growth in the Fintech industry in Sofia, the Bulgarian government has began openly supporting founders and investors, with a goal to bring more capital into the city. One of the greatest attraction factors remains the talent: Bulgaria’s younger populations is widely known for their IT and Data capabilities, bringing innovation and expertise into the newly formed startups. Although Sofia has a rocky historical background, the capital has become a center for Eastern European thought and development.
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