2020 has seen 1 new entrant to the top 10 richest Bulgarians; Nikolay Banev (has been in top 10 before). There have been in total 8 new entries and dropouts from the top 100 in the 2020 list.

There has also been a major change in the top 2 richest, with Vasil Bozhkov being removed from the list after going on the run to the UAE after being wanted in Bulgaria for multiple criminal charges including tax evasion and running a criminal organization. Making Ignat Kaneff the richest Bulgarian and tech entrepreneur Vladimir Tenev the second richest.

The total net worth of the top 100 richest Bulgarians has seen a $2 billion increase from 2019 with the three biggest gainers being Georgi Zhechev ($387 million), Vladimir Tenev($226 million), Tseko Minev ($158.4 million) They gained $771.4 million between the three of them in 2020.

The three biggest losers, on the other hand, were Vasil Bozhkov ($1.6 billion) Tstvetan Vasilev($66 million), Darin Madzharov ($21 million) lost together in total $1.687 billion between them in net worth.

For the second year in a row there are no women in the top 10 richest Bulgarians. In total there are 11 women in this year’s Top 100 Richest Bulgarians list. The richest Bulgarian woman Vesela Kuleva is also the only person on the top 100 richest Bulgarians list who is not self-made with her wealth being inherited after the murder of her husband Emil Kulev in 2005.

Ignat Kaneff is the oldest in the list at the age of 94 years old with the youngest being Georgi Zhechev at 21 years old. The median age of the top 100 richest Bulgarians has fallen due to an increased amount of tech startup founders joining the list.

The total net worth of all the top 100 richest Bulgarians in 2020 is 15.761 billion which is the decrease of the $16.4 billion total net worth of the top 100 richest Bulgarians in 2019. This can be contributed mainly to the removal of Vasil Bozhkov from the list who had a net worth of $1.6 billion. In 2020 it estimated that the net worth of the average Bulgarian is $42,686 and the total net worth of all Bulgarians is $243 billion.

Bulgaria is a country that has just come out of a government-controlled Communist economy meaning all the billionaires and millionaires have become so in the past 30 years which means that the country has a higher than average amount of self-made individuals on this list than developed countries who were capitalist since the start of the 20th century. In the past couple of years, the median age of entries in the top 1000 and top 100 has been getting younger and younger as the new generation of entrepreneurs now get rich by creating tech startups and using the power of the internet allowing for a much faster accumulation of wealth and much more wealth to be accumulated at that. The economy of Bulgaria of steadily growing every year at between 2% and 4% on average, the wealth of the average Bulgarian is also steadily increasing with the falling population of the country due to low birth rates there is more wealth and government budget to go around for fewer people.

Additionally, we have updated our policy to no longer include individuals that are wanted by the Bulgarian government which removes Vasil Bozhkov and Tsvtetan Vasilev from this year’s list.

Net worth is calculated like this (value of known assets – any debts & liabilities)

Finally, condolences to the family of telivision producer and politician Georgi Ganchev who passed away suddenly at the age of 79, he was in the 84th position in the 2019 list.

1. Ignat Kaneff – $1.3 Billion

Main Source Of Wealth: Construction

Other Business Interests: Golf Courses, Shopping Malls, Property Lettings

Ignat Kaneff is the oldest person on the top 100 richest Bulgarians list at 93, he was born in 1926. After the end of the Second World War, he travelled to Austria to escape the communist government. He worked in Austria for a construction company before moving to Canada in 1951 at the age of 25 to start his own construction company which has now grown into one of the largest construction companies in Canada.

2. Vladimir Tenev – $1.26 Billion

Main Source Of Wealth: Robinhood (fintech startup)

Other Business Interests: None currently

Vladimir Tenev is the youngest in the top 10 richest Bulgarians and also one of the youngest on this list at the age of 33 and the youngest person ever to be featured in the top 10 richest Bulgarians. He moved to Washington DC, the United States at the age of 5 with his parents. Tenev attended Stanford University and dropped out from his Maths PhD at UCLA in 2014 at the age of 28 to co-found the fintech startup Robinhood which is currently valued at $5.6 billion. If his startup’s value continues to rise he may become the richest Bulgarian, the youngest ever and also potentially the richest (in modern times) if he surpasses $1.7 billion.

3. Kiril Domuschiev – $950 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Pharmaceuticals

Other Business Interests: Property, Ports, Shipping, Television Channels

After graduating from the Technical University of Sofia, Kiril and his brother Georgi (who is 42nd on this list with a net worth of $60 million) started importing and selling clothes and shoes. He also set up a privatization fund in 1996 that bought controlling stakes in industries previously controlled by the state. Majority of those businesses were in the industrial and manufacturing sectors. In 1999 he also set up his own pharmaceutical company which is now Bulgaria’s biggest specializing mainly in the research and production of drugs for animals including poultry, pigs, cattle, rabbits, and fish(the company also produces drugs for humans). In 2003 he set up a joint stock company with his brother Georgi Domuschiev that focused on investing in property and in 2008 began investing and building up his business interests in the port and shipping sector. Kiril Domuschiev is best known in Bulgaria and in the rest of the world for being the owner of PFC Ludogoretz Razgrad who won the Bulgarian top league 8 times in a row since 2011.

4. Delyan Peevski – $861 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Media

Other Business Interests: Construction, Property

Delyan Peevski is one of Bulgaria’s most powerful people due to his media businesses comprising over half of all Bulgarian media. He currently controls six out of 12 of Bulgaria’s biggest newspapers and also 20 newspapers in the country in total. He is also the owner of multiple construction firms and was once the owner of Bulgaria’s biggest tobacco producer Bulgartabac with revenues of over $112 million a year. Lately, he has been divesting from a lot of his businesses such Bulgartabac and some of his media companies due to a less than ideal business climate to both businesses amid falling profitability.

5. Hristo Kovachki – $730 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Energy

Other Business Interests: Coal Mining, Electricity Stations, Briquettes Manufacturing, Gas Providers, Heating Companies, Property

After graduating from school he moved to St Petersburg, Russia to attend ITMO university studying Physics. After that Hristo returned to Bulgaria and started a fund that helped privatize many companies in the Bulgarian energy sector and mining sectors. Kovachki is currently with interest in coal mines, gas suppliers, coal-powered electricity stations, heating companies around the country and Bulgaria’s only producer of briquettes. Kovachki was also the founder of the LIDER conservative party that got over 5% of the votes in the 2003 Bulgarian elections before being d

6. Valentin Zahariev – $685 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Coal Mining, Zinc Mining, Lead Mining

Other Business Interests: Metalworking, Property

Valentin Zahariev is Bulgaria’s mining tycoon with the biggest control of any individual over the Bulgarian mining industry. After the fall of communism in Bulgaria in 1990, he went about buying state-controlled mines. He also has an interest in a large part of Bulgaria’s metalworking companies which means they don’t have to buy the product from his mines at a market value allowing them to be more competitive. He was once the owner of the Kremikovtzi iron and cast working plant in Sofia which employed 7000 people before being bought by one of India’s richest people the Mittal brothers. Currently, he has interest in coal mines, zinc mines, lead mines and also the metalworking companies that manufacture the ore into the finished metal.

7. Ivo Kamenov – $675 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Hotels, Property

Other Business Interests: Private security, Chemical Sector, Airlines

Ivo Kamenov grew up in the biggest coastal city in Bulgaria, Varna. At the fall of communism, he was part of an elite Bulgarian military unit. After the fall of communism, he left the military to start his own private security firm employing many of Bulgaria’s best ex-special forces members from which he then reinvested his profits to start an airline, a chemical business, invest in hotels and property. Ivo Kamenov is also a Shihan or what is otherwise known as a martial arts expert, he is currently the Chairman for the National Martial Arts Association In Bulgaria.

8. Tihomir Mitev – $650 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Hotels, Property

Other Business Interests: Private security, Chemical Sector, Airlines

Tihomir Mitev an ex-special forces soldier and entrepreneur who is a major shareholder in Bulgaria’s biggest holding company the TIM Group. He is also the older brother of Marin Mitev who is also on this list.

9. Marin Mitev – $580 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Hotels, Property

Other Business Interests: Private security, Chemical Sector, Airlines

Mitev is one of the 12 founders of the TIM Group Bulgaria who all met while met being part of the Bulgarian naval secret special forces in Varna. Tihomir Mitev grew up in the biggest coastal city in Bulgaria, Varna. His company of which he is a major shareholder has interests in agriculture, debt collection, airlines, chemical industry, hotels, property, and others.

10. Nikolay Banev – $570 Million

Main Source Of Wealth: Private security

Other Business Interests: Restaurants, Property, Newspapers, Ski Resorts

Nikolay Banev is a former soldier who got into the business by founding one of the first private companies in post-communist Bulgaria. His first company was a private security firm which he then invested in properties, restaurants, newspapers and ski resorts.