published 26 Sep 2014 in Bulgaria 3 minutes 1 second to read

Stephane Gantchev

Bulgaria-born, Stephane Gantchev started his career in France and now is Partner at LAUNCHub. Meet the mobile expert with a flair for design in our Investor Pick.‏

The LAUNCHub seed fund, established in 2012 in Sofia, focuses on digital startups in Southeastern Europe. Gantchev and his partners invest in micro-seed and seed stages in exchange of equity. To date, LAUNCHub has invested over 3 million euros in 41 startups from 7 countries in the SEE region, including Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Croatia, Greece, Slovenia and Ukraine.

About me.

I earned my first money with...
Selling cinema tickets on the black market during the only event in communist Bulgaria where we had the honor to see the top Oscar movies.

If I wouldn't be an investor I would be...
Interior designer, actually I already did a few furniture projects. At one moment I was even thinking about opening a store in Paris to offer a platform to talented Bulgarian designers... Crazy idea actually.

I get annoyed when...
I am always interested to meet new people, founders, startups, but sometimes there are limits... like listening to pitches for yet another mobile loyalty app. People should come up with better ideas. But what annoys me most is to see startups losing time and focus with fake or zombi investors in CEE.

You might not believe it, but we...
We will be successful and we'll be around for a while!

My favorite movie is...
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

About passion and profession.

Some startups change cities, go to various incubators and believe they progress - but in reality they waste their time..."

My investment fund is focused on startups in...
Early stage pre-seed and seed in Central and South-Eastern Europe. I don't have a specific focus, but some verticals like Entertainment, IoT, B2B, Enterprise Software, SaaS, Paas, Dev tools, Edtech etc. are interesting.

I wouldn’t like to work anywhere else because...
I work with great partners, I learn every day, I meet extremely talented founders, and we are pioneers in a region with a lot of potential

The investment plan for the next years is...
We'll end up with about 60 investments until the end of 2015. 10-12 of them are already in the "champs" group with good traction, a lot of potential and some of them with follow-up rounds. I expect more of the early ones to join this group. In mid-longer term we'll start investing bigger Seed & A tickets.

Our business relationship with startups is characterised by...
We try to be close to the founders, as part of the core team, but always leaving the decisions to the founders. Always ready to react whenever we are asked a question, opinion, intro... In addition the process is structured with light report every 2 weeks and regular meeting/skype every 3-4 weeks.

Besides money I offer...
Experience; knowledge in various areas; network, network, network... Heavily involved in followup-financing. Always ready for an after work beer with a founder :)

About working with startups.

In a startup I am looking for ...
Impressive People/Founders; serial entrepreneurs (even if they've failed with previous projects), founders with out of the box thinking, great ambitious ideas, ... but the best is if they managed to have some traction even without external (financial or other) help

Characteristics a founder team should have are...
Be a hustler, fast learner and fast executor, hacker, focused, knows how to sell (even a product that is not developed yet)

I was most impressed by...
Startups with impressive numbers in their very early days (traction/revenues).

I was least impressed by ...
I hate accelerator 'hoppers' - startups that change cities and go to various incubators, accelerators and believe they progress, but in reality they waste their time...

You get most out of relationship with me when...
You develop true friendships and relationships.

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