SeedBlink Academy | Decoding SEE Startup Investment with Milen Ivanov

We continue the SeedBlink Academy events for Elite Investors by having a discussion about the SEE startup investments with Milen Ivanov, CEO Angels Club Bulgaria.


Milen Ivanov has been a serial entrepreneur for 15 years and is the CEO of Angels Club, Bulgaria's largest angel club. Angels Club is a co-investment angel fund focused on European pre-seed and seed-stage startups with a full-time team and a scalable business model that has the potential to easily internationalize.

Startup accelerators are beneficial for getting started, but for founders, it is a different type of activity, one that is more educational. It's a fantastic opportunity to build a network of like-minded people. Milen emphasized the importance of having specialized accelerators (e.g., fintech-focused) to be able to provide assistance and support tailored to the specificities of that vertical, resulting in the development of a cohort of founders who are well prepared, know and understand the market they are addressing. Concerning the notion that funds prefer startups that have participated in accelerator programs before, Milen suggested that it is not a mandatory criterion, but it is a plus for founders who have this type of experience.

Another point of interest was the investment thesis and the companies in which the Angels Club chose to invest. Milen told us that they prefer companies with skin in the game, a market-validated solution, and a co-investor, an angel who validates their offering, so that the fund can pursue its mission of helping companies in progressing from seed to Series A.

As a co-investment fund, the emphasis is on portfolio diversification in order to generate and sustain return, while being meticulous in deal selection. They prefer deals that already have a co-investor, and only after that they conduct commercial due diligence, term sheet, and financial and legal due diligence. Diversification is essential for achieving the typical return that most investors seek, 10x in 6-10 years.

To sum up, the criteria they consider before investing in a company are: a co-investor who can validate the offering, the team and expertise (the execution), and skin in the game.

👇 Watch the video below to learn more about deal sourcing, how the tech ecosystem is changing, and where the SEE startup investments are going:

By Roxana Cicea

PublishedMarch 17, 2022

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