I was born and raised in beautiful Bourgas, Bulgaria, a city located on the Black Sea coast. My dad bought me a computer when I was 9 and I was instantly fascinated by the endless possibilities. I immediately started programming and quickly became proficient in a number of languages including Pascal, Assembly, and C/C++. I specialized in reverse engineering, data structures, and complex algorithms. I also enjoyed competing in national programming competitions and even had the fortune to win a few.
During the same period, I met Iliya Yordanov, a very skilled programmer and a good friend, and in 2001 while still at high school the two of us cofounded an Internet company called CPP-Home that served as a learning hub for beginner C++ programmers. CPP-Home grew very rapidly and got acquired 2 years later. This was my first taste of the startup life and I have been hooked ever since. I learned a great deal about entrepreneurship from that experience and owe a lot to Iliya.
In addition to entrepreneurship, I also enjoy being involved in my local community. I cofounded and was President of the first Interact Club in Bulgaria and headed first-time voter relations at a local campaign for mayor. That inspired me to pursue a more rounded education and in 2004 started my Bachelor of Arts in Integrated Social Sciences (political science, sociology, mass communication, and economics) at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany. During my undergrad, I continued being active in the local community, serving as the President of the Student Government and cofounding and leading a Rotaract club. I was honored to receive the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) award in recognition for my community involvement and exceptional performance.
I came to Silicon Valley in 2007 enrolling at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where I pursued an MBA as one of the youngest members of the Class of 2009. I grew tremendously at the GSB, learning a lot about myself, entrepreneurship, leadership, and management from faculty, classmates, and alumni. I was also fortunate to make many amazing friends.
I came to the Stanford GSB dedicated to building a startup and immediately connected with current and past classmates to try out various ideas. After testing and discarding 7 ideas, the eighth one worked and later became Philanthropedia. I cofounded the company with my incredible classmates Howard Bornstein, Erik Bengtsson, and Chris Herndon.
Philanthropedia helps donors give better by identifying high-impact nonprofits in different social causes through crowdsourced reviews. Think Zagat for the nonprofit world. In 2011, Philanthropedia was acquired by GuideStar, the largest provider of nonprofit data. At GuideStar, I ran the West Coast office, acquired another startup, and founded and ran GuideStar Labs, an internal incubator bringing product ideas to market. I led two projects focused on integrations with the LinkedIn and Salesforce platforms.
In 2012, I left GuideStar to start startup #3 together with the best hacker I have ever worked with, Petar Dobrev, who was also engineer #1 at my last venture Philanthropedia. I am excited about what's to come!
In my spare time, I like to give back by helping entrepreneurs and writing about startups in the Startup Lore. I am very interested in leadership, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, technology, science, philosophy, and the world at large. I tweet and speak about these topics as well - most recently at Stanford (at the undergraduate, law, and business schools), Menlo College, the Harker School, the Telerik Academy, the Smart Start conference, and MyWay.BG. I am a former professional gamer (StarCraft, Counter-Strike) and continue to follow the eSports scene.
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