The 2015 edition of the pan-European startup contest Idea Challenge sees an increase in variety and internationality. The series of events re…
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Seriously stepping up its game, Bulgarian startup DeskGod, now based in San Francisco, has recently joined accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center in California and concluded a partnership with leading software developers Salesforce. inventures.eu talked to CEO Daniel Hristov to hear his take on these events.
DeskGod provides a whole suite of products and tools for managing the online sales process and web visitor relations, all integrated in one global platform. The company was originally founded in the city of Plovdiv by developer Daniel Hristov in 2012, after a friend took a great interest in the custom-built applications he used to manage his websites. Struggling to implement his own software in his friend’s website, Hristov realised there was a lack of solutions suitable for small and medium businesses that cover all stages of visitor activities. He presented his startup to LAUNCHub, and received a total of 65.000 euros in financing from the Sofia-based seed fund last year.
A startup-friendly business
According to Hristov, DeskGod’s vision is rooted in the idea to provide small and medium businesses with the kind and quality of integrated software that usually only the largest corporations have, and make them fully competitive. Therefore, the company offers its software to startups for free.
“We believe that startup companies around the world will have a significant role in the development of the global economy and its growth recovery - a fact that is recognised by the governments of most of the countries,” he said. “That’s why another challenge for us to go further on our mission is to provide startup companies with our software free of charge and give them the edge they are looking for to grow faster,” he added.
Promising journey to the Silicon Valley
Specialized in growing tech startups, the Plug and Play Tech Center is a business accelerator located in California whose global network includes 180+ investors and a community of valuable corporate partners, thus representing an essential way of building up new business connections for DeskGod.
Entering the programme represents a very important step for Hristov and his team, giving them the feeling that they are going in the right direction. Through it, the team intends to find new routes for investment and strategy they need in order to achieve the full potential of the business. “They [the accelerator] provide a platform for startups to interact with corporate executives, serial entrepreneurs and can be really helpful for us to develop the business forward and open our eyes for a much more scalable solution than what we initially envisioned,” he said.
Hristov believes that joining Plug and Play will not only let them grow, build up new contacts and prepare the company for the next round of venture funding, but it will also open the doors of the American market – the biggest e-commerce market – something of a great importance to them.
A positive sign for CEE startups
Hristov believes that this will encourage other entrepreneurs from Eastern Europe to work more efficiently and harder on their projects as well. “Our involvement in the Plug and Play Tech Center programme in Silicon Valley has also a major importance for the whole startup community and software industry because it shows that Eastern Europe software companies can be also successful on a global level,” he said.
New partnership, new opportunities
Riding a wave of success, the company has also recently become a Premium Partner of Salesforce, one of the leading cloud computing companies in the world. According to Hristov, this partnership has become possible thanks to DeskGod’s long-term policy to create recognisable products with high added value that solve real problems for the customers.
“First of all, it is a significant recognition that we are on the right way and the products we develop have a real added value to the enterprise business organisations,” he said. “In practical terms, as a Premium Salesforce ISV partner we receive a priority presence in Salesforce’s ecosystem with all possible benefits for our marketing and sales,” he added.
The six-month-long procedure has started with an approval of their business case, and was later followed by the Security Review step, which is a procedure where Salesforce checked their code for security issues.
Hristov considers that Deskgod has already proved its potential and from now on, the door to the international success of the company stays wide open. “To be successfully established on the global market, however, goes with a number of difficulties concerning the area of marketing, sales channel development and scalability management,” he said. “These obstacles are the basic challenge we have to and intend to overcome in the future.“
Calling herself a “rebel against regular rules” Adelina Peltea is no one who settles easily. Seeing the value in challenges and struggles, she believes in hard work and determination; in not giving up. Yet, in December 2013, the 26-year-old Romanian had to learn how to give up on her startup - without giving up on herself.
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