Endeavor Colorado: You became an Endeavor Entrepreneur in 2017 as the founder of HelloHungry. What was it like to go through the Endeavor process with Endeavor Bulgaria? How do you utilize the global network that Endeavor provides?
Vladi: I was amongst the first batch of entrepreneurs in Bulgaria to go through the Endeavor process, and as always, swimming in uncharted waters was a challenge. Being a regional scale-up, I had to step up to the plate of global players and prove that HelloHungry would be able to fight off, gain ground, and win over industry leaders. This included team capacity and potential, technological readiness, and a solid understanding and mastering of unit economics. Ultimately, I had to demonstrate that I am a founder who possesses the vision, grit, and skills to overcome all the challenges facing a SEE scale-up going global.
Endeavor Colorado: As a serial entrepreneur who has gone through a few M&A deals, what advice would you give to other founders considering this as an option?
Vladi: The most important factor when considering an acquisition as a startup or a scale-up is to establish if there is the right chemistry between the teams, the values, and goals of the acquirer and company being acquired. While everything else can be figured out down the road, if there is a lack of alignment along these three pillars, the chances of a successful acquisition are slim to none. The second factor is to consider carefully what the acquired organization is bringing as value-added; talent, revenue, geo-coverage, etc. Often, it seems easier to acquire versus. growing on your own, but the challenges and risks or an acquisition can be easily underestimated when one is hyped up by acquisition prospects. And lastly, I highly recommend bouncing off acquisition plans with advisors more experienced than us, especially those who will most likely object. They are usually the ones who reveal the unforeseen risks and amplify challenges that we are aware of but do not want to talk about due to our desire to acquire.
Endeavor Colorado: You recently became the Head of North American Markets for Dreamix. How did you find this company, and what are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
Vladi: My guiding principle in business is to create products and services that bring about positive change to people and our planet. Dreamix does exactly this by developing end-to-end custom software solutions with a 98% success delivery rate (on time and on budget) with a team that commands a 95% employee retention rate. I am mentioning these numbers, which are pretty much unheard of because they demonstrate that Dreamix and its employees operate with a higher purpose than simply coding. I personally witnessed this by being a two time client of the company. My belief was cemented once I met with the founders this summer, and they laid out their value system and vision to become a significant player in the US market. I hope to build on the Dreamix legacy here in the USA and establish the organization as a value-added player that uses technology to solve the toughest business challenges.
Endeavor Colorado: You did both your undergraduate degree and your MBA in the US. How did this experience impact your career and entrepreneurial spirit?
Vladi: Studying and working in the USA for 11 years between the ages of 18 and 29 was an invaluable experience, and without it, I could not have built the character and qualities required to be an entrepreneur. Coming from communist Bulgaria, I learned how to value being individualistic, hardworking, respectful of others’ values and opinions. I learned how to survive on my own without having anyone next to me, how to find comfort in discomfort, and how to acquire professional knowledge and skills that I would not have been able to learn in Bulgaria. I believe it was the combination of this experience and what my parents, family, and close-knit society had established in me as a backbone that is my winning formula in life.
Endeavor Colorado: As an Endeavor Entrepreneur and accomplished business leader, how would you like to get involved in the Colorado Ecosystem?
Vladi: There are multiple ways I will continue to serve the global and local Endeavor entrepreneurial community. I am always looking for and finding ways to share the personal and professional skills I have acquired in my 30+ years of building and growing startups. I also like to get involved with one company at a time on a concrete project basis to help them advance or crack challenges they are dealing with, especially on the strategy, business development, marketing, and infrastructure fronts. I believe in Colorado my international experience will be particularly valuable as more and more local companies seek to expand abroad.
And lastly, I help entrepreneurs reach their peak performance by using the Wim Hof method. The method incorporates breathwork, cold exposure, mindset and exercises. I have seen first hand the many benefits it leads to by improving immunity, resilience , focus, energy and strength. In fact, it is one of the most transformational experiences one can undergo by simply breathing, connecting to their body and waking up the natural forces that exist within us.