At BrightCap Ventures, our investment philosophy revolves around the understanding that exceptional founders are

Emil Novakov, co-founder and CEO of Scaleflex

At BrightCap Ventures, our investment philosophy revolves around the understanding that exceptional founders are the driving force behind successful startups. We’ve found that the personality traits of these outstanding entrepreneurs play a significant role in their ability to turn groundbreaking ideas into thriving businesses. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the seven key personality traits we believe make up a great founder: execution-focused, gritty, agile, mission-driven, market-savvy, visionary, and complementary with their co-founder.

We’ll explore why each of these traits is vital for a startup’s success, using the story of Emil Novakov, founder and CEO of Scaleflex as additional evidence. After all, BrightCap Ventures backed the startup in the pre-seed stage and back then our venture partner Diana Stefanova commented: “Actually, the reason to invest in Scaleflex is in the first place Emil and his personality.”


A great founder must have a strong focus on getting things done. Execution-focused founders are adept at prioritizing tasks, allocating resources, and driving their teams to achieve set goals. We look for founders with a history of effective project management, meeting deadlines, and setting and achieving realistic objectives.

Emil’s execution-focused approach helped him achieve impressive results, including being involved in two successful exits. He started developing his strong project management skills at university. While studying, he launched a small business – building and maintaining websites. “I was earning some money while also developing my skills,” he shares for Forbes Bulgaria.

At the very beginning of his career, Emil joined AirWatch, an enterprise mobility management startup. Soon he was promoted to head of the Sales Engineering division, where he built a team of 15 people and his drive for achieving results was an essential part of the company’s journey to unicorn and $1.54B acquisition by VMware.


Resilience is key when facing the inevitable challenges of building a startup. Gritty founders possess an unwavering passion for their work and are determined to persevere despite setbacks. We seek out entrepreneurs who have faced adversity and emerged stronger, as this is indicative of their ability to overcome obstacles in their startup journey.

After 18 months at VMware, Emil faced the challenge of leaving a secure job to start his own company, Scaleflex. He persevered and built the company from the ground up, investing his own money and bootstrapping it with his friend from university Julian De Maestri, CTO at Scaleflex.

Since then, Emil’s resilience has helped him deal successfully with pivots, burnout, pandemic, fundraising and numerous other obstacles. During the entire time, he remained focused on building a big multicultural company and today Scaleflex counts 1300 customers, 75 team members and is preparing to grow much further.


The fast-paced world of startups demands adaptability. Agile founders can pivot their strategy when necessary, learn from mistakes, and respond to new information. We value entrepreneurs who demonstrate a willingness to embrace change, learn from failure, and problem-solve under pressure.

Back at the beginning, the main target customers of Scaleflex were software engineers. However it became clear that a more lucrative market existed, so Emil and Julian decided to pivot and focus on sales to marketing teams (who have unserved needs and often much bigger budgets). The strategy works and it’s a turning point for Scaleflex’s growth. In the next few years, by listening carefully to the needs of marketers, Emil and the team develop the FileRobot product, a complete solution for digital asset management (DAM).


A clearly defined mission is crucial for aligning a startup’s team and attracting customers and investors. Mission-driven founders are deeply committed to their vision and can effectively communicate it to others. We look for leaders who are passionate about making a meaningful impact and can inspire their team to work towards a common goal.

Emil and Scaleflex have the goal of bringing businesses closer to their customers by simplifying the management, optimization and acceleration of any kind of digital content, anywhere in the world. This is particularly important given that on average people spend close to 7 hours a day online and content has proven as an essential way for communication and brand building.

Emil also looks to make an impact beyond business and help the whole IT community in Bulgaria reach the next level: “For me, giving back is extremely important. Up until a few years ago, there were a lot of talented people in Bulgaria, but they didn’t know what they could achieve. That is one of the reasons I started Scaleflex in Bulgaria and its first office was here. I wanted to share what I have learnt throughout the years,” he said for Bulgaria Innovation Hub.


A deep understanding of the market is essential for a startup’s growth. Market-savvy founders can recognize patterns, identify opportunities, and anticipate trends. We appreciate entrepreneurs who exhibit a strong understanding of their target market, have a knack for customer empathy, and can effectively analyze and respond to market signals.

Emil has a deep understanding of the digital content market and has been able to identify opportunities for growth while building a product developers and marketers love using. Scaleflex has always been customer-first, “..from the beginning, 80% of our product roadmap has been driven by customer requirements,” he says. Moreover, contrary to what startups often do – testing a solution on their local markets – Scaleflex started with a global presence, attracting its first clients in North America and Asia, more suitable markets for the company’s value proposition at the time.


A great founder must possess the vision to imagine what the future could look like and take bold steps to make it a reality. Visionary founders are not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom and explore uncharted territory. We value leaders who think creatively, identify emerging trends, and develop innovative solutions to pressing problems.

Emil has been outstanding in seeing the growth of the digital experience market and the related need for quality media assets and their efficient management. While Scaleflex is constantly innovating, the core DNA of the company remains the same – building global, flexible and easy to implement solutions to help growing business scale content operations.

Complementary with Co-Founder

Last but not least, a successful startup often requires a strong partnership between co-founders who can complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Great founders understand the importance of collaboration and can forge a harmonious relationship with their co-founder. We look for entrepreneurs who demonstrate a high level of self-awareness, respect for their co-founder’s abilities, and a commitment to open communication and mutual support.

Besides complementing their business and technical skills, over the years Emil and Julian have further developed their university relationship, learning to navigate together the stormy waters of entrepreneurship and be together both in hard times and celebrations of success.


At BrightCap Ventures, we recognize that the personality of a founder is a critical element in determining the success of a startup. By focusing on these seven key personality traits, we’re able to discover many exceptional entrepreneurs and support them in their journey to change the world. Our commitment to investing in and nurturing the growth of promising startups is driven by our belief in the power of extraordinary founders with the right personality blend.