“You have to admit to yourselves that you have no idea! That you don’t know what will push you towards rapid growth after your chaotic search for the product/market fit. But because investors still want to hear about it, present your expectations or predictions considering certain assumptions and risks, then commit to testing them on the market and quickly building the feedback into further product development,” was the advice from the startup mentor Matej Golob from 30Lean to participants of the working weekend for the autumn generation of companies trying to obtain a 75,000 € convertible loan from the Slovene Enterprise Fund. Once again, work with mentors thrilled startups who worked on developing their ideas and perfecting their pitches for demo day, but at the same time it also reminded them that now is the very last time for leaping from the development mindset to the sales one, warned Blaž Zupan, lecturer at the Ljubljana Faculty of Economics and co-founder of the successful company Optiprint.
24 teams through the first pre-selection procedure
The working weekend was organized on 19 and 20 September for companies that successfully came through the first evaluation sieve of the pre-selection for obtaining Slovene Enterprise Fund’s SK75 investment. 24 teams attended altogether.
A weekend for rapid progress
Four mentors – Matej Golob and Lojze Bertoncelj from 30Lean, Blaž Zupan from EF Ljubljana and Optiprint, and Tomaž Frelih from Hekovnik – spent the entire Saturday and Sunday working with them on the development of their business idea and perfecting the pitch for demo day, which is scheduled for Wednesday, 30 September. “The main purpose of all this is to prove to us that you’re able to make significant progress in a short time. And of course that you take advantage of the benefits of the ecosystem and the community we’re building,” said Blaž Kos, operative leader of the Initiative Start:up Slovenia.
Their world was turned upside down
Intense work over the weekend, hanging out with mentors and other participants, and their feedback turned the world of many participants upside down. More than a few teams admitted that they’ll completely remake their pitch, one of them is also Davor Mišmaš from the team BrewInOne who’s developing solutions for brewing good homemade beer for amateur brewers:
Video statement: Davor Mišmaš from BrewInOne
Only a global innovation counts
Silvija Špehar, biologist and herbalist, developing natural hemp aroma-cosmetics Hemptouch is currently developing an effective cosmetics line against acne that attacks only acne bacteria and doesn’t destroy the microflora of the skin. At the working weekend she realized that when pitching to investors, only a global innovation and its potential for rapid growth count.
Progress in any case
Silvija and her colleague Marko Sladič, with whom they co-founded the company, have attended many startup education courses so far, but after the working SK75 weekend they realized that you can always learn something new, revise knowledge and make some progress.
Video statement: Silvija Špehar from Hemptouch
In preparation for demo day, Dino Zupančič from team Booklly, creating an innovative platform for reading and writing books, will mostly continue with user interviews. “We will look for our typical user and exactly determine what they do throughout the day. We will adapt the development process to this and also devote an important part of the pitch to the behaviour of a typical user,” says Dino.
Video statement: Dino Zupančič from Booklly
With interviews to a typical user
“UBER for cleaners” came with big expectations
Jan Dobrilovič from the team Beep, developing ‘UBER for cleaners’ (a platform for quickly and simply scheduling verified cleaners to one’s home), came to the working weekend with big expectations. These were entirely fulfilled, the team will change its pitch for at least 50 % and in future also stick to the advice that when developing a business idea, it helps a lot to socialize with differently-minded people.
Video statement: Jan Dobrilovič from Beep
Bad pitches …
Mentors were also satisfied and tired, but intense work with 24 teams and their visible progress fulfilled their expectations as well. With the participants, Matej Golob successfully tested out his newest instructions for an effective elevator pitch. He devised these instructions through years of listening to bad pitches on many events and conferences for startups, including this year’s PODIM.
… and an effective cure for them
The new instruction is thus a combination of a persona (typical user) and their movement through the sales funnel, or as Matej Golob explains: “Present your solution by telling me exactly who I should be, which person and with what function in the company, and what situation should I be in to excitedly say “this is it” and buy your product. The description should include what exactly my problem is and what I’ve done so far to try to solve it before I finally met your product.”
Forget about it, sleep it over and rebuild the blocks
The last instruction from Matej Golob after the completed working weekend went into the direction of forgetting, hanging out with the people you love and sleeping, as well as rebuilding blocks.
Video statement: Matej Golob, startup mentor, 30Lean
As an investor I’d be interested in at least half of the ideas
Blaž Zupan, who attended the working SK weekend as a mentor for the first time, was positively surprised about the competency of the individuals in the teams and their domain knowledge: “If I found myself in a role of a typical American angel investor, for example, I’d find at least half of the ideas very interesting for a potential investment,” he said after finishing work with startups, visibly excited.
Only on the first 10 % of the way
“The solutions I had the opportunity to get to know at this working weekend are technically very well-developed, with prototypes that can practically be put on the shelves today. But what they’ve done so far is only the first 10 % of their way,” warns Zupan.
Leap from development to sales!
“Now you have to move from the development mindset to the sales one, which is a huge leap that also demands very personal decisions and getting out of the comfort zone. Everyone should honestly ask themselves where they wish to be in the future and what work they would have to do on themselves to come to there, and exchange the product for money. This is the key task of every startup and until you do that, you aren’t actually real entrepreneurs,” emphasizes Zupan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=PLloswUn7rXQJq-gH-vbG8Vt4H8dXpIp6N&v=Zvv1PMKw-i0 Video statement: Blaž Zupan, startup mentor, EF and Optiprint
All 24 companies that will compete for Slovene Enterprise Fund’s 75,000 EUR convertible loan in the second stage of the pre-selection procedure, that is pitching at demo day, are listed alphabetically below:
Who will we listen to on demo day?
- Company ABCS SISTEM, solution: Smart turn system – system for automatically turning off turn signals for motorcyclists
- Company: FSS, solution: advanced computer videogame ShowdownVR for virtual reality
- Company: Biometrika, solution: Armbeep – biometric module and app for measuring factors that bring tennis players to victory or loss
- Company: Bitnot, solution: SmartLOCK – wireless smart lock for unlocking the door with a phone hands-free
- Company: Fibi, solution: web portal and mobile app for unsold stock and unused capacities
- Company: Idejum, solution: comprehensive real estate portal Idejum
- Company: Bizpand, solution: Prolos – business app for doing paperless business in the field
- Company: DEGA, solution: innovative low-frequency speaker Ekosound
- Company: DS Meritve, solution: 2GG® Second Generation Grid - comprehensive system for collecting and processing information of energy and water consumption
- Company: DS Sistem, solution: DamScan – scanning tunnel for evaluating damage on cars because of hail
- Company: Izkustveni laboratorij, solution: BrewInOne - device and educational system for amateur brewing of homemade beer
- Company: Kanas, solution: a line of innovative hemp cosmetics Hemptouch against acne
- Company: LAMU, solution: system and app for bike service centres of the 21st century
- Company: Ljudje, solution: app Fatsell for effectively selling and collecting pre-orders for designers of crowdfunding campaigns
- Company: Manibri inženiring, solution: innovative device for trimming wedges, making wooden stakes
- Company: MEDICOAPPS, solution: pilot watch FlySentinel, monitoring the psychophysical condition of the pilot and the environment during the flight
- Company: Moj prostor, solution: innovative platform Booklly.com for reading and co-authoring e-books
- Company: Moods365, solution: MoodsLife.com – the first web media solution monitoring and displaying the daily welfare of people, taking external influences into account
- Company: Next, solution: Beep platform for simply scheduling verified cleaners to one’s home
- Company: PEL3O, solution: 3D printer LOV3D for quickly manufacturing exact and quality prototypes
- Company: Playness, solution: Playness app – digitalized sports curriculum for kindergartens
- Company: Simarin, solution: SIMARINE PICO – advanced nautical measurer of energy and levels, and barograph
- Company: SipSup, solution: smart interactive glass SipSup
- Company: Transalytics, solution: intelligent system for analysing data about card payment transactions and more focused web marketing
The working weekend for the autumn SK75 generation, competing for Slovene Enterprise Fund’s 75,000 € convertible loan, was carried out on 19 and 20 September 2015 in Technology Park Ljubljana.
The programme is enabled by