First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Peter Lozanov: We have self-isolated from the world till things calm down. Otherwise, we are fine. Thank you for asking.
My advice for everyone is to stay calm and relaxed (as if there is no danger) but at the same time to follow the necessary precautions in order to prevent themselves and others from the virus.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded BattlePass Studio.
Peter Lozanov: I have been an entrepreneur for over a decade, and I have started multiple businesses in a variety of sectors over the years. The experience that my team and I gained from these endeavors, as well as the substantial network that I managed to build helped me realize that a lot of entrepreneurs can avoid the most common pitfalls they usually face – if they have the right partners by their side. That’s why I decided to kick-off, perhaps the most ambitious project of my life so-far, BattlePass Studio, which is Bulgaria’s first startup studio. In essence, our aim is to aid startup founders on their journey to success by helping them polish their business concepts, build their MVP, prove product-market fit, find the perfect teammates & advisors, fundraise and scale.
How does BattlePass Studio innovate?
Peter Lozanov: Unlike most accelerators out there, we do not merely prepare startup founders for a couple of weeks and then leave them on their own. In fact, we take the roles of co-founders, grinding with them all the way till series A or B. We are also creating an entire ecosystem of service providers who offer the startups we collaborate with legal, accounting, business & software development services. Our focus is on the gaming and entertainment industry as we know that it is still in its infancy – but our portfolio is quite diverse, and we try not to limit ourselves.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Peter Lozanov: One of the startups we were working on, 15toGO, was really severely affected by the hit that the whole tourism industry took. It is an application that allows people who go on organized group trips to get to know the other trip participants before it takes place. We’ve seen with our own eyes that your travel buddies have a bigger impact on your overall experience than anything else – including the destination! However, this project is currently ‘on-hold’ until things go back to normal.
When it comes to BattlePass Studio, the effects there are far less visible. Like many businesses, we have implemented a ‘home office’ policy, so whoever wants to can work from the comfort of their home. Besides that, we haven’t slowed down one bit – entrepreneurs are still starting ambitious businesses and are approaching us for assistance.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Peter Lozanov: The most difficult choice was to let go of some of the people who were working on 15toGO. However, had we kept them on payroll, we would have only drained the budget and slowed down the inevitable. What we did instead was help them proceed with different projects almost immediately so none of them would really feel the impact that the pandemic had. We firmly believe that an employer has a responsibility for each and every one of their employees, so being straightforward with them and looking for solutions in such moments of crisis is absolutely vital.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Peter Lozanov: Dealing with stress has no universal formula. The only thing certain is that if you sense any inconvenience whatsoever or if you feel under pressure while doing something, then you should be ready to change the pace and find the inner balance that will boost your performance and productivity.
I, personally, try to visit nature (either hike or go to the seaside) whenever I have the time. This is when I get to charge up the most.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Peter Lozanov: When it comes to the Bulgarian market, in particular, we are the first startup studio in the region. Even though there are other startup studios in Eastern Europe, for example in Romania, we do not consider them as competition, quite the contrary. The space is big enough for all of us to co-exist and cooperate – we strive is to build a large network of accelerators, incubators, and startup studios that operate in the Balkans.
Your final thoughts?
Peter Lozanov: We aim to always explain why we want or do not want to work on a certain project. There is nothing more demotivating for a team than a simple ‘No.’, which is not followed by any justification whatsoever and we try our best to give full feedback to the entrepreneurs who have contacted us. So don’t hesitate, get in touch with us and see if we can work together.