The Recursive podcast is your weekly wander inside the minds of innovation leaders across SouthEast Europe. Each week our hosts cozy up with a digital economy champion and dive deep into their life philosophy, values, leadership style, and personal development. Join us for inspirational stories on how to grow, learn and think big.
How to Leverage the Growth Potential of Southeast Europe With Elvin Guri From INVENIO Partners
Our next guest is an Albanian-born entrepreneur. His professional path is closely connected to Bulgaria. But his impact as an entrepreneur and investor has spread throughout the whole region of Southeast Europe.
Elvin Guri is currently managing the VC fund - INVENIO Partners, advising and mentoring companies from the biotech industry to healthcare, food, and real estate.
Elvin Guri co-created Jet Finance, the largest independent consumer lending company in SouthEastern Europe which he exited to BNP Paribas in 2007.
He holds an Executive MBA from the University of Oxford. He has supported several educational initiatives in Bulgaria and Albania, including his Alma Mater AUBG, Junior Achievement & Teach for Bulgaria.
In his conversation with Georgi Nenov, Elvin Guri talks about:
What was the winning combination for Jet Finance to become the largest independent consumer lending company;
How to help create a more equitable society through investments;
How to nurture the next regional champions;
How regional economies can cooperate, but also compete better to grow;
The Future of Biometric Security with Vince Gaydarzhiev from Alcatraz AI
Our next guest is a hardware engineer building the future of biometric security.
Vince Gaydarzhiev is the founder of the US-Bulgarian company Alcatraz AI. The hardware-as-a-service startup offers autonomous access control that uses facial biometrics, 3D sensing, and AI.
Among the customers of Alcatraz AI are Fortune 500 companies, including telecoms and government-owned banks.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Vince worked as an engineer for high-profile companies like Apple and Nvidia.
He holds several engineering degrees from Stanford and the universities of Southern California and Florida.
In his conversation with Irina, Vince talks about
🔐 The complexity of innovating the security industry;
💸 The hardships of fundraising for a hardware-as-a-service company;
👔 Why stepping down as a CEO was one of his best business decisions;
What Investors Look For in a Startup Founder With Elina Halatcheva From BrightCap Ventures
Our next guest is one of the power ladies of the Bulgarian VC sector.
Elina Halatcheva is a managing partner at BrightCap Ventures.
With a background in finance and investment banking, Elina has an MBA from Stanford University. She grew as a professional in the US and UK markets and her expertise ranges from investment banking to e-commerce and real estate.
Eventually, Elina came back to Bulgaria to contribute to the growth of the local tech ecosystem.
As an investor Elina is also a part of the European Women in VC initiative, trying to bridge the gap for funding for female founders.
In her conversation with Georgi Nenov, Elina talks about:
🎯 What are the key qualities of successful founders?
🤝 Why teamwork is important in the investor-founder relationship and for the success of the business?
💸 Strategies for fundraising in a downturn;
Imagine The Future of Mobility With Dimitar Dimitrov from Digital Lights
Our next guest is a seasoned executive who has walked the road from corporate to entrepreneurship.
After more than 20 years in different positions in the IT industry, Dimitar Dimitrov founded his own company. Digital Lights is a software company building innovative solutions for the mobility industry.
Recently, it has been ranked the 3d fastest-growing IT company in Bulgaria.
Dimitar Dimitrov is also a lecturer at the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics at Sofia University. His own Alma Mater, where he’s currently also part of the Alumni Board.
In his conversation with Georgi Nenov, Dimitar Dimitrov reflects on:
🧠 The philosophy behind doing meaningful work;
🚀 The growth journey of Digital Lights;
🏎️ How software has become the soul of the vehicle and where is the future of mobility taking us;
How to Build AI We Can Trust With Petar Tsankov From LatticeFlow
Our next guest’s mission is to make artificial intelligence more secure and reliable. Petar Tsankov is at the unique intersection of science and entrepreneurship.
Until recently, He’s was researcher and a lecturer at ETH Zurich, and currently co-founder of LatticeFlow, a company helping machine learning teams build and deploy trustworthy AI.
Before that, Petar already had one successful exit. He sold his first company ChainSecurity to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Petar is the proud owner of “The John Atanassov” award - an initiative that supports young Bulgarian inventors in the area of information technology.
He has a Computer Science degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
In the episode, Petar talks about:
🤖 What is critical to win the market of deep learning technology?;
🤔 Can AI offer more fair way to treat people?
🎨 Is there a boundary between what humans can do and what technology can do?
Entrepreneurship Is the Craft of Taking Risks With Radu Negulescu From Sessions
Our next guest discovered entrepreneurship when he was a teenager. Since then Radu Negulescu has been running multiple successful businesses.
While still in university, he founded Trencadis, a company developing IT solutions for governmental institutions and businesses.
Trencadis was recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in Central Europe by Deloitte.
During the pandemic, Radu appointed a seasoned manager to run Trencadis to jump-start a new venture.
His company Sessions was founded on the verge of transitioning toward remote and hybrid work.
Sessions’ mission is to solve the problem of unproductive meetings and help teams communicate more effectively.
In the episode, Radu reflects on his journey from a teen entrepreneur, through university-drop-out, to a serial entrepreneur.
In this episode you will hear:
✂️ Why entrepreneurship is a craft;
🔮 What is the future of hybrid work;
🤔 How management is different from leadership;
🗂️ His theoretical framework about the nature of information;