Mesi recently received an €18 million investment from Germany's SHS Capital to fuel its global growth. Read more about the investment and the company's development path in a short interview with Mesi's CEO and co-founder, Jakob Šušterič - the full interview is available in the Slovenian version.
Interestingly, Mesi was founded in 2010 and a year later was one of the finalists in the Slovenian Startup of the Year competition. You can see their beginnings in a video from 2011 here.
Congratulations on the investment! What does this investment mean to you and what are the KPIs written in the investment agreement?
It is a scale-up/growth investment, so it will multiply our activities that are proven to deliver results. Our goal is to help all doctors and nurses, first in Europe and the US and then elsewhere, to detect diseases and conditions at an early stage through digital diagnostic measurements, storing and analyzing large amounts of information from the patient's medical record and supporting their decisions with clinical recommendations provided by artificial intelligence.
The investment agreement is for growth, so our KPIs are revenue, number of users and value to our customers. We want to transform ourselves into an organization where day-to-day results are predictable and growth is sustainable.
Even more than the milestones, I am proud of our culture - nothing is impossible here. This culture has led us to a diagnostics portfolio that traditional companies have been developing for decades; this culture has allowed us to open offices across Europe and grow well; and this culture has helped us prove to our investors that we are the right team.
How did the Slovene Enterprise Fund help you achieve your milestones with its products?
The Slovene Enterprise Fund gave our company the biggest boost at the very beginning - the confidence that we would be able to grow the company until the first investment from the Fund or private capital. And that confidence came from all the products that SEF offers, which we took advantage of. P2 was the first product that helped us recruit the first person and helped us develop the product. But the key was P1, which allowed us to get a loan from a bank to produce the first 100 products. We sold those, showed private investors that our product had promise, and got investment. So without the SEF, it would have been more difficult or impossible.
We have a team of 100 employees, 70 in Slovenia and 30 in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
How do you assess the development of the Slovenian startup ecosystem in these 13 years? What impresses you the most? What do you miss the most?
The Slovenian startup ecosystem is partial. The Venture Factory in Maribor and the SEF provide excellent support for new companies, especially at the beginning of their journey. What is missing is even better support for scale-up/growth companies. We also need better visibility in Europe - if investment funds knew about Slovenia and the strengths of the market here, they would be more willing to talk to Slovenian startups. In fact, in the process of finding an investor, the most common thing I hear from investors is that Slovenia is out of their comfort zone because they don't know the legislation and they don't know what to expect from the ecosystem. So we need a startup ecosystem brand that first and foremost shows investors and strategic buyers that we are ready for foreign investment, that the legislation is quite similar to the German one, and that Slovenia has the best teams and people who will not let them down.
The interview was conducted as part of the Slovene Enterprise Fund's Startup Plus reports.