A day in Sofia with METRO Accelerator for Retail

 

METRO Accelerator for Retail powered by Techstars will be traveling across Europe during February in order to meet disruptive retail startups. While we will travel to these amazing destinations and coworking spaces, with these blogs I would like to share with you our #CityInADay tour.

Today we are in Sofia!

7:30 am – A fresh start to our morning in Sofia where we had arrived yesterday night. It’s freezing cold but the streets looked covered in a warm glow with the beautiful sunshine. We took a taxi to go to our destination of the day: Betahaus.

9:00 am – Arrived at Betahaus in Sofia, and instantly took a liking to the place. Alexander welcomed us and showed us around the place. We had a bit of time before the start of the office hours so we decided to stop for a little breakfast and worked on the ground floor for some time. Alexander, the CEO of Betahaus started the venture in 2012 with his namesake Alexander after their studies in Germany. Today, Betahaus Sofia is one of the largest Coworking spaces in Bulgaria and if you have the chance to experience this atmosphere one day, you must take it, you will be richer for it. Everybody is very friendly and you just feel at home.

The place has one big coworking space on the first floor and the second floor is a mix between coworking spaces and private offices for teams. The event room is big and can host up to 150 people. They organize a lot of events like the betabreakfast and the betabeers. The wifi is super reliable and they also have a fitness room. If you are in Sofia only for business, you can also get your daily pass for only 10€ and trust me, it is worth it!

11:00 am – After exploring the amazing Betahaus community and its inviting warm spaces, we started to prepare for the office hours and the startups about to arrive. Our meeting room was on the first floor, big and convenient.

12:00 am – The first startup arrived and with that, it was time to start the office hours with Sebastian Campos Groth, the program manager of METRO Accelerator for Retail from Techstars and Boris Minialai, Global Director Retail Franchise at METRO AG.

Office hours are one-to-one meeting with Alexander Hafner, our Managing director from Techstars and Sebastian Campos Groth, our Program manager. It is a great opportunity to pitch your startup to professionals and to get to know more about our program, and how you can benefit from it.

If you are interested in participating in Office hours or meetups, find your city and register here.

3:30 pm – All finished with the office hours for the day. Now we only had time for a quick breather before the meetup at 4:30 pm. The topic of the meetup today is: How can partnerships with corporate help startups?

4:00 pm – Our panelists are here. Today for the Sofia meetup at Betahaus, we have the honor of hosting:

 

Our panelists in #sofia today, @BorisMinialai from @METRO_News, Dimitar Vutkov from @METRO_Bulgaria & Metodi Terziev from @betahausSofia pic.twitter.com/H2J7z7xFl3

— METRO Accelerator (@MetroAccel) 14 février 2017

4:30 pm – The dialogue begins and we had almost an attendance of 30 people. We were very happy to see Alexander Krustev and Ivo Dimitrov from Reputize, proud alumni from our 2015 class of the METRO Accelerator for Hospitality. Reputize is a leading end-to-end Online Hotel Reputation Management platform. They provide an easy way for hotel professionals to monitor, collect and amplify guest reviews. See their pitch at Demo Day HERE.

6:30 pm – At the end of the meetup, we had some time to talk to the different startups attending the event and just like that it was time for the dinner appointment.

7:30 pm – Tonight for dinner, we are with 18 people from METRO Cash and Carry Bulgaria, Techstars and the Bulgarian startup ecosystem. The restaurant is called Cactus, it was opened by the chef Ivan Manchev in 2003. The food was really good and the service very friendly. Surely, will come back.

11:27 pm – With the dinner with, we began to say our goodbyes, but the evening held on. Nikola Yanev, president of Start it Smart, the most active Bulgarian entrepreneurship organization, Avgustina Pasheeva from Video Engager decided to show us a cool cocktail bar right in the center of Sofia. Well worth the visit.

1:00 am – Now we really had to retire from the evening. It was well spent and we met some very interesting people in Sofia today. It was a great experience and we really enjoyed the Bulgarian way of living. We will definitely come back! Thank you so much to everyone and let’s connect on LinkedIn!

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