Startup of the Day: Bulgarian foodtech Ancestral Superfoods

Ancestral Superfoods, a Bulgarian startup co-founded by Jivko DjamiarovElena Gerganova, and Georgi Gerganov, specializes in the development of health-enhancing “live and functional” foods, leveraging natural processes. The startup claims its products support the gut health, brain functions, immune health, and boost metabolism. Recently, Ancestral Superfoods announced the investment of €200,000 from over 12 angels which would help to accelerate its development.

In the Startup of the Day column, Jivko Djamiarov, one of the co-founders of Ancestral Superfoods, shares more details about the startup’s idea, its products, and future plans.

The Startup of the Day column on AIN.Capital is dedicated to tech projects from all sectors that originated from the CEE countries. If you would like to introduce your project, please fill in the questionnaire.

Tell us about your startup. How does it work?

Ancestral Superfoods is a company focused in the development of sprouted and fermented functional foods, driven by the idea of contributing to the health of the gut microbiome. The name of the company is not accidental, because on the one hand we want to emphasize regional fruits and ingredients that we believe are not inferior to so-called superfoods, and on the other hand because this is how we want to pay tribute to our ancestors. We have a strong focus on e-commerce, thus building our presence in foreign markets and combining this approach with distribution and retail sales.

How did you come up with the startup’s idea? What was the reason/motivation behind it?

The idea for Ancestral Superfoods was born in the intensive care unit of an Austrian hospital where I was recovering from a stroke. Being on the border between life and death, not knowing if I would cross over, I promised myself that if I survived, I would dedicate my life to creating functional foods that would help prevent the diseases of modern living such as obesity, diabetes, stroke and heart attack.

“The main ingredients of AncestralSuperfoods’ complex include ProViotic – Lactobacillus bulgaricus and selected combinations of wild-growing fruits and sprouted seeds. All products are raw and organic certified.”

How long did it take to reach the prototype or MVP? What did you encounter?

It took about four years to get from prototype to MVP. One of the main challenges was related to the production technology and the refinement of the recipes. Apart from that, bringing the prototype to market gave us a lot of useful feedback, with the help of which we were able to solve problems related to the packaging of the products, improve the design of the packaging, as well as the recipes of the products.

When exactly did you launch your product? Or when the launch is planned?

The real launch of our products was in the fall of 2019, after we went through a year-long testing phase with their prototypes.

Tell us about the startup’s business model. How do you monetize your product?

We use a hybrid model that consists of e-commerce, direct sales, and retail sales.

What are your target markets and consumers?

Our target markets are in Western Europe, USA, Australia and Asia. Our main target group is men and women who suffer from gut flora imbalances, IBS or other digestive problems.

If the startup has already launched the product, what are the results: metrics, income, or any clear indicators that can be evaluated.

Since the start of 2019, we have been able to enter 9 markets outside of Bulgaria and achieve sales of around €125,000 in 2022 from the Bulgarian market.

What about your team? How many people are working in the startup? If you’re looking for new employees, indicate whom exactly.

Currently, the team of founders is working on the startup on a daily basis and we also have support from our investors and freelancers.

Have you already raised any investments? Provide us with more details on each funding round: the amount, investors, the purpose of the investment.

We recently closed an investment round and received a strategic investment of €200,000 from the NV3 fund. The investment will be used to expand our product portfolio, strengthen our marketing efforts and enter new markets.

What’s next? Tell us about your future plans.

We are about to start selling on Amazon in several of their European stores as well as launch our online stores in the first three of our target markets.