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17-year-old Martin Stoyanov on the American dream and his formula for success

Martin Stoyanov and Teodosii Teodosiev
Photo: Photo:private archive
Imagine that you have several hundred email messages in your inbox, waiting to be read. You have no idea how to handle this or how to go through only the important messages because you do not know by whom they are and what they refer to. How about having on your iPhone an application which can organize and refine your mail while you travel to work or school so that when you sit at the computer, you are ready for the really meaningful tasks?

“The application can be downloaded from the Apple store, you enter a password and user name and begin to organize your mail”, Martin Stoyanov explains. “For example there is a message that you cannot handle right now, but it must be done by the end of the day. Very easily you can see its preview and instruct the application that the task needs to be done today and at the same time add the particular message to a dedicated folder. All that is synchronized with your computer at home and once you sit there, all your e-mail inbox is ready for your work.”

He is only 17 years old. Martin Stoyanov is from Novi Pazar, a town near the district center of Shumen /northeastern Bulgaria/ and is the youngest founder of a start-up company financed by a prestigious venture capital fund. He studies at the Vocational School of Construction, Architecture and Geodesy in Shumen, but apparently will have to attend school in his spare time. Martin’s idea has found a business partner - 30-year-old Teodosiy Teodosiev from Varna.

“A few years ago, Teodosiy organized a program for gifted children in Varna. We worked together on several projects. This is his fourth business. He is an entrepreneur. All his businesses are successful, I hope this one will be successful too”, Martin says.

Talent and entrepreneurial spirit went into the foundation of the start-up company Magine. Here's how:
“We participated in a contest in Varna called Startup Weekend”, continues Martin. “The aim is to create a business within the space of 54 hours. You go, you present your idea in a minute, people vote for it and form a team. Along with Teodosiy we won the race and after three days we received an investment from the Bulgarian venture capital fund in Eleven under the European initiative JEREMIE / Joint European Resources for Micro to Medium Enterprises /. So we entered the three-month program of Eleven, which helps start-up companies grow and get subsequent investment. After developing the idea, we applied with an American investment fund. On November 5 we were invited for an interview in the Silicon Valley and on the same day we were told that we were approved for investment.”

© Photo: private archive

Although Martin deliberately did not mention which this “legendary investment fund” is, we received a wild card. It turned out that this is Y Combinator founded in 2005 and holding a legendary status in the US start-up community. The investment amounts to $ 100 thousand.

“We're going to the Silicon Valley on December 26. The program of the investment fund lasts from January to March”, says Martin. “Again, I will work with the team to develop the idea and the product. At the end of those three months there is a Demo day, in which you give a presentation in front of 500 of the best investors in the world and fight to get subsequent investment.”

Martin and his partner expect to stay there and build their business to a much higher level. And the dream of the 17-year-old talent is “to create a company that can leave a mark in the world and make people's lives better and easier.”

The success of this gifted teenager is amazing. At the age of six, he was given his first computer and this turned into the first step along the road to the Silicon Valley. Without attending courses in computer science and English, at the age of only 11 he started to deal with programming, and a year and a half ago he developed two mobile applications. He devotes his time to his business but also to his friends from Eleven and already he has pals from the Silicon Valley, from Varna and high school. "My life is my family and my company," Martin admits.

English version: Rossitsa Petcova

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