May 30, 2014

Expanding through partnerships

Bulgarian startups, like those in many other European countries, continually face a problem: growing beyond our local markets.

I find too many of my friends in hustling hard for potentially Zombie startups.

All that hard work, but not a lot of progress in the numbers that truly move them forward. On the other hand, there are clear strengths here in Bugaria; companies that have grown globally, and investors building broad networks.

So I asked them.

Vessy Tesheva from Telerik shared her approach with me: “Partnerships mean each company can act proactively on the others’ behalf. This takes trust, which comes from thinking about relationships, not deals or connections.”

Max Gurvits from Teres and Eleven explains to me how, for any networking goal, he makes a list of 100 potential people, since that research means he’s more likely to make contact sooner.

At Leancamp, I’ll be digging in with a few more local founders who’ve built their businesses through international partnerships. Join me!

Originally posted at

What am I up to these days?

I’m a new parent, and prioritising my attention on our new rhythms as a family.

Work-wise, I’m trekking along at a cozy pace, doing stuff that doesn’t require meetings :)

I have a few non-exec/advisory roles for engineering edu programs. I’m also having fun making a few apps, going deep with zero-knowledge cryptography, and have learned to be a pretty good LLM prompt engineer.

In the past, I've designed peer-learning programs for Oxford, UCL, Techstars, Microsoft Ventures, The Royal Academy Of Engineering, and Kernel, careering from startups to humanitech and engineering. I also played a role in starting the Lean Startup methodology, and the European startup ecosystem. You can read about this here.

Contact me

Books & collected practices

  • Peer Learning Is - a broad look at peer learning around the world, and how to design peer learning to outperform traditional education
  • Mentor Impact - researched the practices used by the startup mentors that really make a difference
  • DAOistry - practices and mindsets that work in blockchain communities
  • Decision Hacks - early-stage startup decisions distilled
  • Source Institute - skunkworks I founded with open peer learning formats and ops guides, and our internal guide on decentralised teams