Kamen Shoylev, New Balkans Law Office

Kamen Shoylev is a partner at the Bulgarian law firm New Balkans Law Office with a diverse practice in corporate and commercial law, specialising in cross-border issues. Kamen provides a variety of advice and representation to private equity clients including funds and investees.

Robert Luke, Managing Director of GED Capital Development, President of SEEPEA

Robert Luke is one of the Founders of GED. He is Managing Director of GED Capital Development, and responsible for all GED Eastern Fund operations in South-Eastern Europe. He started in Private Equity in 3i’s in London, in the 70’s. Then he became General Manager of Capital Partners International, a German family business. In 1981, he moved to Spain as Senior Consulting Manager at KPMG. Later on, he was Executive Director of the Venture Capital Fund “Euroventures” Spain, and was one of the key members of the team which successfully launched“Telepizza” into the Spanish stock market. He is also a principal promoter and President of the SE Europe Private Equity Association. He is a holder of a Law degree from the University of Exeter, and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Bilian Balev, Nobel Equity Partners

Entrepreneur and Mergers & Acquisition advisor for more than 15 years.  Currently, Managing Partner & Owner of Forem Consulting, the strongest M&A advisory firm in Bulgaria. Previously founder of Nobel Advisors, Commercial Bank Unionbank, where he acted as a Director of FX Transactions, and Capman Inc, a lead market maker on the Bulgarian Capital Market. Senior Advisor at K Consulting, responsible for financial restructuring and disposal of assets. Prior experience as CEO for News Holding, Sofia responsible for financial restructuring and closing of non-profitable entities. Previous employers include Bulgarian Post Bank & Bulgarian National Television. Holds a MS from the University of National and World Economics, Sofia. Fluent in English, Russian, and Bulgarian. Worked on a number of SEE private equity investments since 1996. Track record: completed several PE deals involving the restructuring and repackaging of 9 total different companies with a weighted average gross IRR of more than 250%.

Valeri Petrov, Partner, Bancroft Private Equity

Partner, joined Bancroft in summer 2008. Prior to joining he worked with the private equity firm Global Finance for the last four and a half years, running the company's activities in Bulgaria, where he led or co-led seven transactions. Prior to that he was running the biggest paints & coatings company in Bulgaria (backed by private equity funds) as CEO where he did a complete turnaround bringing the company up to high profit levels and increasing its market capitalization almost ten times for 3 years. He also worked for the Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies, and held various positions within the organisation in Central and Eastern Europe. He holds an MS in Engineering from the Technical University of Sofia. He has also attended Management Academy in London and ETP on Business Management in Delaware University, Sofia branch.

Matteo Patrone, Senior Banker

Matteo spent 10 years at Finanziaria Internazionale, an Italian merchant bank and from 2001 he was managing director of the private equity arm of the group (€100M). Matteo managed a diversified portfolio of equity transactions in the services, industrial and FMCG sectors. Previously he was Senior Manager at Accenture Strategic Services and before that he worked in Finmeccanica and ENI. Matteo graduated cum laude in Mechanical Engineering at Genoa University and holds an MBA from INSEAD.

Marin Iliev, Investment Manager, NEVEQ Capital Partners

Мr. Iliev started his professional carrier in the US where he worked for large investment management companies like Scudder Investments and Deutsche Asset Management in Boston where he got exposure to the best practices in investment analysis and portfolio management and gained valuable experience across various asset classes and regions including emerging markets and Central and Eastern Europe. After returning to Bulgaria he joined EPIC - a leading regional corporate finance house, advising foreign and local companies and investors on M&A, private equity placements, and finance raising. Later he became Senior Investment Manager at Rosslyn Capital Partners – a leading Bulgarian private equity company syndicating investments across sectors and stages where he focused on early-stage Information Technology and renewable energy projects. He is a member of the Boards of Directors of an e-payment company and a custom software development company. In 2007 Mr. Iliev joined NEVEQ – the first venture capital firm in Southeast Europe that focuses exclusively on technology investments. In his role as Investment Manager he is involved with deal sourcing, negotiation and structuring, due diligence coordination and analysis, strategy refinement and monitoring of investee companies, as well as reporting and liaison with Limited Partners. Mr. Iliev has a degree in Business Administration from the American University in Bulgaria

Niklas Pichler, Investment Director, Mezzanine Management

Niklas Pichler has more than ten years of working experience in investment banking in Central and Eastern Europe. He joined Mezzanine Management in September 2005 as Investment Director. The company manages two leading Central and Eastern European focused mezzanine funds: Accession Mezzanine Capital I (EUR 115 million) and Accession Mezzanine Capital II (EUR 261 million). Mezzanine Management operates out of Vienna with satellite offices in Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest and Kiev. Niklas Pichler served/serves on the supervisory board of several portfolio companies including Devin, Carrefour and EuroIns. Between 2000 and 2005, he worked for Vienna Capital Partners (“VCP“), a leading independent investment and advisory company in Central and Eastern Europe. Before working for VCP, he worked for well-known M&A advisory houses, e.g. Ernst & Young Financial Advisory Services. Niklas holds a Masters degree from the University of Business Administration in Vienna and has pursued study programs in the US.

Dimiter Gurdjilov, NBGI Private Equity

Dimiter is an Investment Director at NBGI Private Equity. Prior to joining in October 2006 he was a Vice President at Bedminster Capital (formerly Soros Funds Management) in New York. With Bedminster Capital he focused on investments in media, telecommunications, financial services as well as branded consumer products. Previously he worked in investment banking with JPMorgan where he covered a number of industries and regions. Prior to JPMorgan, Dimiter had worked as an associate for Merrill Lynch and as a senior in Arthur Andersen Bulgaria. Dimiter received his BA from the American University in Bulgaria and earned his MBA from the University of Miami.

Ventzeslav Petrov , CEO of Advance Equity Holding, General Manager of
Karoll Finance

Ventzeslav Petrov is the CEO of Advance Equity Holding and the General Manager of Karoll Finance. In this capacity he is responsible for all private equity transactions of the holding company and chairs the boards of most investee companies. Ventzeslav joined Karoll in 2004 as a Project Manager with focus on corporate finance. Prior to joining Karoll's team he managed Industrialon, a private consulting firm. At that time Ventseslav also taught banking courses based on EBRD programs. From 1999 to 2002 Mr. Petrov was the CEO of Encouragement Bank and a Member of the SME's Advisory Board with the Council of Ministers. Before that he assumed management positions at Balkanbank and Societe Generale – Sofia. Mr. Petrov is a graduate from the University of National and World Economics – Sofia, with a Master’s Degree in Management and post-graduate specialization in Finance. He has given many interviews and lectures on the development of the Bulgarian private equity industry. Ventzeslav also has publications on topics related to private equity, corporate finance, credit ratings and their application in the banking system as well as articles on the BASEL II standards.

Rossen Ivanov, Managing Partner, Entrea Capital

Rossen Ivanov is founder and managing partner of Entrea Capital, an M&A and financial advisory firm. Entrea Capital is exclusive representative for Bulgaria of M&A International, the world’s leading M&A alliance. Prior to establishing Entrea Capital, Rossen Ivanov worked at McKinsey & Co. in New Jersey/New York, where he focused on consumer goods, industrial and private equity clients. Prior to McKinsey, he worked as an investment associate at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, based in London, where he was responsible for structuring debt and equity investments across Eastern Europe. Rossen started his career at Procter & Gamble Balkan Markets in Bucharest, where he was responsible for evaluating new product launches across South-East Europe for P&G’s largest product category. He holds an MBA degree from the Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics from the American University in Bulgaria.

Didier Stoessel, Chief Executive, Apace Media Plc.

Didier founded Apace in 2002. Didier graduated with an MSc from ENSTA, the French engineering school in 1987 and got his MBA degree from INSEAD in 1991. Didier Stoessel joined Merrill Lynch in 1991. He left Merrill Lynch in 1997 as director-investment banking and was at the time responsible for relationships with French corporates. In particular, he worked on the privatization of Elf Aquitaine, the Oil Company and France Telecom. Didier Stoessel joined HSBC Investment Bank in 1997 as co-head of corporate finance, became Deputy Chief Executive - Corporate Finance in 1998 and Chief Executive - Corporate Finance in 1999. He left the bank in December 2001. Didier Stoessel has managed Apace Media on a day to day basis since 2002.

Jozsef Kover, Partner, 3TS Capital Partners

Jozsef Köver, Partner at 3TS Capital Partners, a leading private equity and venture capital firm in Central and Eastern Europe. Mr Köver joined 3TS Capital Partners in 2007 and is responsible for generating and executing investment transactions for the 3TS-Cisco Growth Fund on a CEE regional level. Previously, he was a private investor, and legal/ business advisor at several early stage businesses. In the 1990’s he was Managing Director of the Hungarian affiliate of Advent International and also worked as an investment banker with CA-IB Securities in Budapest. Mr Köver has a degree in Business Administration from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia.

Radim Stach, Partner, Riverside Company

Mr. Stach is a transactor for the REF fund family and is responsible for Riverside’s investment activity in the CEE region, including Turkey and Greece. Prior Employmen:Investment Director – Regional Enterprise Fund, a private equity fund based in the Czech Republic; Corporate Strategy Manager - MSV; Marketing Research Analyst – Chemapol Education MBA – Manchester Metropolitan University; Master of Law – Charles University School of Law; Master of Science, International Business – University of Economics,Prague Native in Czech; fluent in English and Slovak; conversational in Russian and Polish.

Toby Iles, Economist Intelligence Unit

After gaining a first class undergraduate degree from the University of Oxford, I undertook further study at the University of Cambridge and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Subsequent to this I joined the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in Vienna as a research analyst covering Central Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. This involved providing investing companies with analysis to help the development of their operations in emerging markets. After three years in this role I switched to the London office to join the team of analysts producing the main EIU products for Eastern Europe. As such I have responsibility for Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania, producing the economic forecasts and regular reports, as well as being the point of contact for corporate and media questions.

Borislav Stefanov, Deputy Executive Director, Bulgarian Investment Agency

Borislav Stefanov is the deputy executive director at the Bulgarian Investment Agency - department of the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Tourism, which promotes inward FDI to the country and assists current investors with legal, consulting, and other support. Previously, Borislav worked for the Moscow office of the Boston Consulting Group, specializing in automotive, telecom, and consumer goods practices of the firm at various locations across Central and Eastern Europe, and Asia. He has also worked at the Regional Logistic Center of DaimlerChrysler in Dubai, coordinating logistics projects for the Middle Eastern distributors of Mercedes, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge. Borislav holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an MA in International Management from Regents College in London, and a BA degree from the American University in Bulgaria..

Viktor Manev

Mr. Viktor Manev, founder and Managing Partner of MMC, is a Certified Management Consultant and the Chairman of the Ethics Commission at BAMCO (National Association of Management Consultants). Mr. Viktor Manev has a BS degree in Finance (1993) from WVWC, WV, US and specialization in Comparative Studies from University of Oxford, UK (1997). He is a member of the Society for Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP). Mr. Viktor Manev started his carrier in the biggest insurance company on the Bulgarian market, DZI (1993), where he was responsible for the marketing strategy of the Life Insurance Division (1994) and the formation of the First Private Pension Fund in Bulgaria (1995). Prior to founding MMC, Mr. Manev served as a Chief Financier of the Center for Mass Privatization (CMP) at the Council of Ministers (1996-98), where he was responsible for the entire institutional financing of the privatization process of more than 1,000 Bulgarian enterprises. Since 1994, during his work as a state official, 18% of the stateownedassets were privatized. Mr. Manev actively participated in the various stages of the structuring of M&A deals estimated at 500 million Euros (as of 2008).

Hein van Dam, Head of Financial Advisory Practice, Deloitte CE

Hein van Dam leads the Financial Advisory practice of the Deloitte Balkan cluster. He has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, valuations, and transaction support, gained in public practice, investment banking and industry. Since joining Deloitte Central Europe in 2004, he has provided advice and support to various companies and private equity funds, international and domestic, in concluding successful transactions in Slovenia, Slovakia and most recently in Romania, Bulgaria and Albania. He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales as well as of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants. He also holds the Corporate Finance Qualification and a Masters in Commerce from University of the Witwatersrand.

Irina Simeonova, Investment Manager, GED

Irina Simeonova joined GED´s investment team in Bulgaria in 2009. Previously she worked 8 years for SEAF, an international private equity company focused on SMEs where she developed her role as Investment Officer. Irina holds a Master’s Degree in Forecast and Planning from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, Bulgaria. www.gedprivateequity.com

Martin Paev, CFA, Owner and General Manager, Sortis Invest

Martin Paev has 11+ years of investment banking, M&A and asset management experience. He started his financial career at ING Barings Germany and worked for ETEBA (investment bank of National Bank of Greece) and Balkan Advisory Company (investment banking boutique). Mr. Paev structured the first Real Estate Investment Trust in Bulgaria (TBI-BAC REIT) and was the REIT’s Executive Director until he joined Address Group as Executive Director of Address Invest. In November 2006 he established his own investment banking firm, SORTIS INVEST. In March 2007 SORTIS REAL ESTATE was set up as a real estate asset management company and then SORTIS CREDIT, a loan and leasing advisory firm. Educated in Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Germany, Mr. Paev holds a Master’s degree in Banking and Finance and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. He is CFA® Charterholder and a former Board member of the Bulgarian CFA Society.

Thomas M. Higgins, Managing Partner, Balkan Accession Fund
Managing Partner, has 14 years experience in investing in and developing Bulgarian SMEs (equity and debt). He acted as Chief Investment Officer at BAEF, and as Executive Director of the Bulgarian American Credit Bank, in charge with lending to SMEs . Mr. Higgins holds significant leadership positions in the Bulgarian business community. He previously worked with Coopers & Lybrand and Equitable Life in New York. Mr. Higgins has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and received a B.Sc. degree in Finance and Management Information Systems from Albany University. Mr. Higgins is fluent in Bulgarian.

Ralitsa Agayn – Guri, Deputy Chair, Head of Investment Activities Supervision Division

Ralitsa Agayn - Guri graduated from the University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria and holds a Master’s Degree in International Economic Relations. In May 2005 Ralitsa Agayn-Guri was elected by the National Assembly as FSC’s Deputy Chair managing the Insurance Supervision Division and held that position until her re-election in May 2009 as FSC’s Deputy Chair managing Investment Supervision. Since 2008, she is a lecturer at the Higher School of Insurance and Finance. From 2001 to 2005 Ralitsa served as a Member of the 39th National Assembly from the Sofia constituency. She was a Member of the Economic Policy Committee and Chair of the Subcommittee on Investments and Capital Markets. She was also a Member of the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security Committee and Member of the Standing Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Agayn-Guri was a Deputy Chairperson of the Bulgaria-US inter-parliamentary Friendship Group. From 1998 to 2001 she worked as a financial analyst at publicly traded companies.

George Giakoumakis

Born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1974, George earned his BSc in Business Administration from the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) after completing his military service in 1999. He pursued a multi-departmental, interdisciplinary MA degree in European Integration in the University of Essex (UK) and then moved to Luxembourg as a Robert Schuman scholar to carry out a traineeship in macro-economic research for the European Parliament. He was then admitted to the European Investment Fund (in the Risk Managment and Monitoring Division) where he was entrusted with the financial control of a diverse portfolio of investments of substantial size covering two distinct activities (venture capital and guarantees) and having a pan-European focus. For one year, he was attending in parallel the courses of an MA degree in European Law. By 2006, he was dispatched to Athens as JEREMIE project manager while attending the MSc in Finance of ALBA (Athens Laboratory of Business Administration). He has significantly contributed to the implementation of the initiative in Greece, Lithuania, Latvia, Cyprus and Slovakia, while facilitating the solution of general issues related to the initiative. Currently, his set of responsibilities includes, inter alia, the implementation of the initiative in Bulgaria.

Piotr Stolowski, Project Manager, JEREMIE Initiative, EIF