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News May 11, 2023

Building Successful R&D Teams in the Digital Era: Insights from Anthill’s CEO Georgi Gerginov

As the adoption of digital technologies continues to advance, many companies around the world are looking for ways to innovate. According to data from EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, the investment in research and development capabilities across the EU has grown by nearly 9%. With the mass adoption of new technologies such as generative AI models, ML, and IoT, the expectation is for investments in R&D capabilities to continue growing.

Recently, we sat down with our CEO, Georgi Gerginov, to learn what’s needed for a company to stay competitive in this new reality and what are the foundations of building a successful R&D team. Georgi shared with us more about his career path and some of the most important lessons he learned in the past 2 decades. We also discussed what’s the road ahead for Anthill and how the company empowers tech talent to grow.

Question: You began your career as a software developer more than 2 decades ago, and now you’re serving as the CEO of Anthill. Can you tell us more about your career path and what were the most important lessons you learned that empower you to be a better leader?

Georgi Gerginov: At the moment when I began my career path, the reality in the IT sector was different from what we see now. Back in the day, companies envisioned using tech solutions to gain a competitive edge over their competitors. But the pace of technological advancement and innovation was on a completely different level. After a decade of developing software products, I switched to a more managerial role. My focus shifted at that point and I was involved in managing a company. That was the moment when I started living the end-to-end lifecycle and the full impact of these software products.

Over the years, my motto has always been “talking to people”. It’s really important to understand the feelings of my colleagues and exchange perspectives on subjects that matter to them. I embraced this philosophy when I was a software engineer, and it still serves me well as a CEO.  A very important thing is to show respect to people and make them feel valued. That’s how you thrive collectively.

Q: In the fall of 2022, you officially became the CEO of Anthill, a company allowing enterprises to thrive by establishing their R&D capacity. Can you tell us more about the role of R&D solutions for further developing any company in the digital era?

Georgi Gerginov: We’re all consumers of digital products in our day-to-day lives. This shows the importance of digitalization for companies that aim to stay ahead of the curve and address the needs of their clients. By using different technologies, businesses can reduce their costs, attract new customers, and improve the productivity of their teams.

R&D teams play a crucial role in digitalization, as they are developing solutions that are in sync with the latest tech trends and serve the needs of the business.

Q: Anthill’s helping international companies access the Bulgarian talent market. Can you tell us more about the mission and vision of the company? What’s the long-term goal?

Georgi Gerginov: Our goal is to gather people with similar values who are hard-working to build our own anthill. Just like ants, we want to achieve success for everyone on the team and our clients by joining efforts.

Our mission is to demonstrate the potential and skills of Bulgarian tech talent by providing our teams the opportunity to work on international projects for some of the largest companies in the US and the DACH region. We provide them with a dynamic work environment that allows them to thrive professionally and explore their passions.

Q: What are the successful projects Anthill executed in the past? How do we help clients reach new heights?

Georgi Gerginov: We develop long-term partnerships that allow us to create value for our partners and deliver lasting impact for the organization.

A large international media production company, a pioneer in the InsureTech industry, and one of the leading European automobile leasing providers are only a few of the companies that we established partnerships with within the past few years. This allows us to create an environment where people can constantly learn and explore different business domains in addition to creating products with global impact.

Q: Being a trusted partner for international enterprises, Anthill has to constantly innovate. Can you share with us how you build a culture of innovation?

Georgi Gerginov: The culture and the identity of a company are built by the people it attracts. To spark innovation, at Anthill we gathered people with this mindset. We have a team of professionals who are willing to contribute to developing something big and exciting. Those people are also critical thinkers, who are ready to challenge themselves and break the stereotypes of how things are done. In this environment, we give them opportunities to dive deep into different business domains and work with the latest technologies. 

Q: How does Anthill support its employees to thrive in this dynamic environment? What types of people can succeed at Anthill?

Georgi Gerginov: We don’t have a certain type of people who would be successful at Anthill. We aim to build diverse teams where professionals with different backgrounds and skillsets can work together. We want their skills to complement each other and share what they’ve learned through the years. The one must-have quality for us is the growth mindset that allows us to thrive in this environment and the inner drive to help the people around us succeed.

Q: With many companies now building their R&D capacity in Bulgaria, how does that support the development of the local ecosystem? What’s needed for Bulgaria to make the next step of its development and establish itself as the №1 R&D destination?

Georgi Gerginov: With international companies establishing their R&D capacity in Bulgaria, the local tech talent gains access to new perspectives on how software solutions affect the lives of people. Bulgarian professionals also gain knowledge and expertise in different business domains, which allows them to implement these new learnings in their future careers.

The main challenge of Bulgaria as a top R&D destination is the size of the talent pool. We have high-skilled professionals who can develop excellent products for the global market but the volume isn’t that high. To help the company grow in this direction, we should focus more efforts on educating young people and creating an end-to-end system where young people can understand what possibilities the IT industry offers. At Anthill, we want to create an environment where people can be creative and have the freedom to explore their work passions. We invest in talent through different upskilling and reskilling programs.