In the past few years, the Slovenian startup ecosystem saw a bloom and is already standing side by side with the most developed centres in Europe – maybe not in size, but definitely in knowledge, energy and the number of successful startups. In order to highlight these startups as good news in Slovenia and emphasize that it’s possible to do it even on the Southern side of the Alps, startup ecosystem stakeholders have prepared a list of hot startups. MESI, Travelstarter, Trainers4me, NERVteh, Celtra in Eurosender are the ones who got the most votes! Congratulations to all winners and runners-up, and here’s to many wins in 2016!
Below, we introduce the winners in a bit more detail and argue for the choice. In each of the six categories, we also chose two runners-up that were right on the winner’s heels. It is important to emphasize that choosing the best one was a difficult task, and the final result is the result of a survey done amongst all participating organizations.
The list was prepared by the stakeholders of the Slovenian ecosystem, which is why the list mostly contains startups that are still strongly present in Slovenia or that developed their idea within one of the ecosystem’s programmes. Because it’s a relatively personal evaluation, most stakeholders chose those startups that they know well themselves. Consequently, the list doesn’t contain certain successful startups of Slovenian founders (such as BellaBeat, Databox, Bitstamp …) that would otherwise certainly deserve a place on the list.
Organizations that participated in making the list: Coinvest, Initiative Start:up Slovenia, Cobik, Startup school Hekovnik, Silicon Gardens, Primorska Technology Park, ABC Accelerator, Young Entrepreneur Institute, Startup Café, Ljubljana, Ljubljana University Incubator, Savinja Region Incubator, Startup Novo Mesto and Technology Park Ljubljana.
MESI is the hot startup of the year 2015!
Category: hot startup of the year 2015 or startup into which you’d invest your money. Winner: MESI.
What: Startup MESI is a young innovative team, led by Jakob Šušteršič, developing and marketing the automated ankle-brachial index measuring device that simplifies the diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. The next product with which the young team wishes to change and simplify processes in health is the mTABLET device that wirelessly measures the ECG, blood pressure or lung volume, and saves the results into a patient’s e-records. MESI is also one of the pillars of the Slovenian health-tech community and a company whose products are present in more than 25 countries across the world.
Why: MESI convinced with an excellent team that doesn’t lose focus. The startup is also an important part of the Slovenian ecosystem, contributing to it selflessly.
Runners-up: GoOpti, Chipolo
Hot social startup is Travelstarter!
Category: hot social startup 2015 or startup solving social problems. Winner: Travelstarter.
What: The first web platform for crowdfunding in the world that’s meant for only touristic projects. Travelstarter connects touristic ideas that don’t have financing with their future customers. Individuals can financially support a project and in return get a certain reward, which depends on the amount they’ve given. In most cases, the reward is a free night’s stay or use of the touristic solution. We can find everything amongst active projects that are currently gathering money – from manufacturing picnic baskets with food for tourists on Canadian sandy beaches to a website from India that helps you make contact with local guides across the Himalayas.
Why: Travelstarter mostly convinced by offering small providers of touristic services the opportunity to make their dreams come true and develop a business that otherwise wouldn’t become reality due to an inaccessibility of financial sources.
Runners-up: Smartninja, EqualEyes
Hot team – Trainers4me!
Category: hot team of 2015. Winner: Trainers4me
What: Trainers4me is a web platform connecting personal trainers with their clients. It’s led by a successful serial entrepreneur Marko Filej, while the co-owner is the known Serbian tennis player Ana Ivanović. The startup already has several thousand users and makes about 15,000 euros’ revenue a month, but it will also get a half-million-euro investment by the end of this year. In the battle to invest into the promising Slovenian team, the investor even beat Virgin, the company of billionaire Richard Branson.
Why: Trainers4me convinced with a tightly-knit team whose work proved that what matters is not only the idea but mostly the implementation and successful international marketing.
Runners-up: Cashila, Scoutee
Startup ice-breaker is NERVteh!
Category: startup breaking through with the most futuristic technology. Winner: NERVteh.
What: NERVteh is developing the drive simulator Zetadrive, which puts the driver into the real environment and, with help of advanced computer algorithms, collects and analyses their biometric and neurological data. This improves road safety, contributes to a lower number of accidents and accident victims in the long run, while at the same time also improves the artificial intelligence of self-driving vehicles. NERVteh clients also includes the company Akrapovič. A short while ago, professional racers at the prestigious International motor show IAA in Frankfurt named their product as the best one in the world. This summer, they started discussions with Google about testing or doing drive simulations for self-driving vehicles for them.
Why: NERVteh convinced with its technology, which wishes to change the rules of the game in two strong economic sectors – car and insurance.
Runners-up: Animacel, Viar
Hot old-buy startup is Celtra!
Category: big company that grew from the Slovenian startup ecosystem and is selflessly giving back. Winner: Celtra.
What: Former successful Slovenian startup is today an international company with offices from New York to Tokyo, with several hundred employees, and their advertising platform competes with Google as well as Facebook. The first man of the company, Michael Mikek, is also on the list of the richest Slovenians, as prepared by the Manager magazine.
Why: According to the organizations that voted, Celtra is the big company that most contributed to the development of the Slovenian ecosystem in 2015.
Runners-up: Outfit7, Visionect
Hot startup of 2016 is Eurosender!
Category: startup that will mark the year 2016. Winner: Eurosender.
What: Startup Eurosender wants to trigger a revolution in the logistics sector. The young team developed a tool for sending packages and luggage more cheaply, and offered its users a web platform through which they can check which way and which company is the cheapest for transporting their cargo.
Why: Eurosender convinced by selecting the economic sector it’s targeting. The startup world hasn’t yet aired out the multi-billion logistics industry, and in 2016, Eurosender can shake up the world of established giants as one of the first startups from Slovenia.
Runners-up: Kripto, Oosm
All participating organizations are at your disposal for additional questions, but you can also contact:
Miha Prebil, Coinvest, e-mail: email@example.com, mobile phone 040 582 258, and Stanislava Vabšek, Initiative Start:up Slovenia, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, mobile phone 031 707 204.