Elevate Supporters: Stoil Vasilev from SumUp and His Outlook on Entrepreneurship

April 12, 2023
Elevate Supporters: Stoil Vasilev from SumUp and His Outlook on Entrepreneurship

The goal of the AUBG Elevate Accelerator is to boost further the entrepreneurial spirit of the students, to provide them with a safe space for experiments, and to impact positively the Startup ecosystem. Many national and international companies provide guidance, mentorship, and financial support to the participating teams. Learn more about SumUp and the reason they decided to be one of the Elevate Futurists supporters.

Tell us more about yourself and the company to which you are currently committed

My name is Stoil and I am Vice President of Corporate Development at SumUp. After joining the company in 2015, I have been with SumUp for the past 8 years. In the beginning we were still a very small early-stage technology startup, so I was responsible mostly for fundraising, FP&A and M&A, but was in fact doing whatever was necessary for the company to grow. Although I was technically leading a team, the business was still too small to employ a number of people, so my main function was to coordinate the work of other teams, as well as to roll up my sleeves and get the job done myself. Fast-forward to 2018, SumUp started to grow rapidly, and my role evolved as a leader of the fundraising, M&A and investors’ relations team.

What is your vision for entrepreneurship?

This is a very textbook question, but from a practical point of view, entrepreneurship is the opposite of employment. Entrepreneurship is the freedom to decide what to do or even what not to do. You can always seek a job somewhere and get paid to do a specific set of tasks from 9 to 5. When you reach a certain level in the hierarchy, you may be managing the work of others, but overall, you are still working on someone else’s business idea. As an entrepreneur, you nurture your own idea, you innovate, and you organize yourself or your team to bring it to life. The risks and rewards are entirely with you, but so are the freedom and vision to accomplish your goals your way.

Why have you decided to support Elevate?

At SumUp we believe that some of the best results are achieved by young people who still don’t have the burden of previous job experience. Individuals who haven’t yet been given the lesson on “how things are done” in the corporate world. Young people are hungry to prove to the world that they can do things differently and more efficiently. After getting acquainted with Elevate’s mission to accelerate students’ ideas, we realized how well the program aligns with SumUp’s vision to live in a world where everyone can build a thriving business. It was the perfect match, and we are very happy to contribute to the program and to support such bright young people in their ventures.

What do you think is the biggest challenge when people start their own businesses, and do you believe Elevate could help them?

In university, people are usually presented with the big concepts, like for example portfolio management, corporate finance, strategy, etc. In real life, however, you have to start from the basics. When you spend some time building your own business from the ground up in the very early stages of your career, you are already a few steps ahead of people, who are just now starting. This is why I believe Elevate gives this crucial first experience that creates the entrepreneurs of the future, even if their initial attempts are not successful. When I was younger, I was part of a similar program myself and found it much more interesting, compared to regular classes.

What are your plans for future collaborations with the student body about entrepreneurship?

It is very inspiring to see how motivated and passionate young people are about their ideas. Building the entrepreneurial mindset of the youth has gone from a trend to a constant, and it is great that programs like Elevate are already reaching universities and schools across the whole country. At SumUp we would happily continue to allocate resources to help the next generation of entrepreneurs learn from our mistakes, so they don’t repeat them.