Ten semi-finalists of the competition Start:up of the year 2014 are known

Day 5. May 2014 posted Stanislava Vabšek

1. ABCS sistem: Motorcyclists safer on roads. 

The incorrect usage of indicators is one of the most frequent reasons for road accidents amongst motorcyclists, who are very exposed and vulnerable traffic participants. Motorcyclists often forget to turn off the indicator or they don’t turn it on in the first place, because they are afraid they will forget to turn it off again. This is due to the fact that motorcycles don’t yet have automatic (or smart) systems for turning off the indicator. 

The team of the start-up company ABCS sistem ltd., that is Miha Kovač, Rok Upelj, Andraž Kontarček and Anže Zaletel, have decided to solve this problem. They developed and patented an efficient and safe device that automatically turns off the indicator after the turn has been completed. For the user, the device is very simple to use – the motorcyclist turns on the indicator and after the completed turn, the indicator turns off automatically. The device continuously monitors the movement of the motorcycle and, with help of an algorithm, analyses the received data and thus reliably turns off the indicator when the driver returns to the pre-turn position.

ABCS sistem ltd. is a competitor to a handful of technological companies, but according to them these companies have an inferior product, since they offer solutions that turn off based on time, velocity sensors or gear changes, which isn’t completely reliable. The young start-up is especially trying to reach the North American and European market with their product, starting with online sales. They will strongly promote it on motorcycle forums and motorcycle societies’ websites, where they have already received excellent responses. The manufacture of the product for some of the motorcycle types that are most frequently sold on the market can be expected until the end of the year 2014. The team is currently looking for a capital investment that would allow them a strong web advertising campaign and quicker development.

PHOTO: The team of the start-up company ABCS system ltd. (from left to right: Andraž Kontarček, Anže Zaletel, Rok Upelj, Miha Kovač) developed a device that automatically turns off the motorcycle’s indicator.

2. Team ADORA-MED: Surgeon's loyal assistant

Despite the modern equipment in operating rooms, there is still a 36% chance that an error will occur during the operation, mostly due to complications in the communication within the operating team. In collaboration with experts in the fields of medicine and health, the team of Adora-MED Ltd. developed a software and hardware solution to give the surgeon information in a contactless manner, i.e. with gestures and hand movements, and thereby reducing the possibility of a communication error. 

A prototype, which has already been tested in practice, will soon have different shapes, adjustable according to the wishes and needs of the surgeon and the hospital system. Surgeons received ADORA very well, especially since it solves a current problem in their work, optimizes the work process and lowers costs, as well as shortens the duration of surgeries and thus the time the patient is under anesthesia. The product awaits final certification and the team believes ADORA will become a vital member of operating teams. 

The project received attention and positive responses at home and abroad. The company has been mentioned as one of the best nine European startups Top 9 EU EIT ICT and they won 2nd place at the prestigious Microsoft Imagine Cup 2013. They are currently finalists for The best business idea of Finance 2014, they have been named the best IT Project of the Year on DSI Conference 2013 and they also received a grant from Microsoft (ImagineCup Grant). 

They are actively collaborating with the rest of the world, especially with the ACMIT Institute, with which they will perform clinical testing and address some larger clients in Austria. They are connecting with strategic partners, particularly with providers of RIS/PACS solutions that are already part of the infrastructure and have established sales channels in hospitals (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Kazakhstan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine). 

PHOTO: The team of ADORA-MED Ltd. (from left to right: Zedin Salkanović, Andraž Leitgeb, Matej Vogrinčič and Kristjan Košič below)

3. Team BLCKB: A look into the subconscious

Consumer neuroscience represents the next step in product development, marketing research and communication. The disadvantage of current marketing and consumer research is that they sometimes fail to take into account the fact that most human experience is subconscious. The solution to the problem lies in measuring subconscious emotional responses that more accurately explain and predict consumer behavior. 

The problem of today’s neuro-consumer research is the use of the EEG medical equipment (electroencephalography, measuring brain’s electrical activity with electrodes on the surface of the head), which is not optimized for this kind of research, the data collection and analysis are very complex and the licensed equipment is very expensive. The necessary equipment is partially developed in low-cost EEG products for the gaming industry, but captures only simple algorithms that do not enable more complex research work. 

The solution lies in the cross-section of the two segments: the accuracy of medical EEG equipment with the easy use of a simple EEG product, which is joined in the BLACKBOX device for measuring brain activity. The company is developing and testing EEG devices for the detection of attention and subconscious emotional responses to new products and services in order to increase sales. In the future, the company is planning to develop a super laboratory, where they will be able to develop specific research plans to fit each individual client. 

They are interested in entering the emerging markets, where there is an interest for this kind of research, but due to high prices they cannot afford the standard research with medical EEG devices. The company already signed a letter of intent on strategic partnership for marketing on the Australian market in the MENA region, and they are discussing a venture capital investment from Russia.

PHOTO: Team Startup BLCKB (top left mag. Matej Butala, designer, top right dr. Luka Zevnik, researcher, bottom left Manuel Kuran, researcher, bottom right Marko Bratkovič, developer)

4. Team Chipolo: Nothing is lost 

We all have objects without which we cannot leave the house. Our phone, wallet and house keys are surely amongst them. Yet every day we lose quite some time feverishly looking for them while already in a hurry. The team of Geatronik Ltd. developed a solution to this problem, namely a small pendant named Chipolo. 

The small round pendant Chipolo connects to an application on your smartphone via Bluetooth and alerts you when you are too far from the phone and vice versa. When you are searching for your phone, you simply shake the pendant and the phone rings. The application is currently available for Android and iOS operating systems and will soon be available for users of the Windows Phone as well. 

This September, the product will be upgraded with Chipolo Network – a community where Chipolo users will help each other find lost objects, which will significantly increase the current range of the application (60 meters). 

In 2013 Chipolo was presented at the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, where it was supported with 211,800.00 € by more than five thousand individuals. The reviews in media abroad (including Fox News and Techcrunch) described it as an excellent product. They also received the Promotional Gift Award (award for best gifts for business partners). The product is currently sold by their distributors and can be purchased on their website, where they have already sold almost 20,000 units.

PHOTO: The team of start-up Chipolo (from left to right: Domen Barovič, Jure Zdovc, Andreas de Reggi, Tadej Jevševar, Domen Plaskan, Primož Zelenšek and, missing in the picture Alan Jančič)

5. Team Enolyse: Monitored fermentation of cider

Optimal cider fermentation is amongst the key factors for a good wine year. Due to complicated processes taking place during fermentation, wine makers are constantly looking for improvements in monitoring the process. The team of Enolyse start-up company saw a great business opportunity and developed a comprehensive system for monitoring the fermentation process. Smart sensor EnoMeter measures the temperature, sugar and alcohol contents and sends the information to a server. The information is then accessible from an application, ensuring that the winemaker has a complete overview of the process in the barrel. 

Enolyse’s advantages over other competing manufacturers of laboratory and industrial equipment are low entry costs, simple use and easy access to information. SK Group and KZ Krško have already pre-ordered the system. 

The team behind Enolyse consists of three electrical engineers, two programmers and a digital designer. Several advisors help the team, namely professor dr. Tatiana Košmerl of the Biotechnical Faculty, dr. Klemen Lisjakof the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia, who is also an enologist in Tikveš wineries in Macedonia, and Hekovnik Startup School. 

The project has attracted a lot of interest from the general public. It won first place in the Start:Cloud 2013 competition, was ranked amongst the top 10 business ideas selected by the Finance magazine and won the Rector's Award of the University of Ljubljana. They recently signed a contract with the Bulgarian (seed stage) venture capital LAUNCHub.

PHOTO: The team of Enolyse startup (from left to right: Primož Zajec, Matic Krajnc, Martin Blazinšek, Nejc Stanko, Jaka Ogorevc in Diano Kitanovski) 

6. Team Juvar: For more efficient welding

When welding materials are thicker than 3 millimeters, it is necessary to prepare a weld edge, which doubles the work, as it is necessary to first weld the edge, remove the weld edge and then fill it with filler material. For this purpose, company Juvar developed coatings that enable effective welding to a thickness of 10 millimeters, with a single pass and without edge preparation. The use of the coating significantly reduces the consumption of filler materials, electricity, shielding gas, reduces welding time by more than a half and the company does not need to invest into new welding equipment. A further advantage of the coating is that it is not harmful to the health of the welder.

This year the company completed a two-year development process of the first version of the coating for TIG welding of stainless steel. Next year they will start developing products for other materials, which will be presented at the end of 2016. The company has some competitors on the global market, but their coats contain harmful elements, especially chromium (III) oxide, which is harmful to the respiratory system of the welder. 

Coatings are suitable for all businesses that weld steel, titanium, aluminum and other alloys using TIG, laser and MIG methods. This includes welding for the pharmaceutical, food, chemical, ship, aviation and aerospace industry. In the future, they wish to establish a wider distribution network through their distributors and start direct sales to target companies. They also want to participate in the educational process in welding institutes and faculties. 

PHOTO: The team of start-up Juvar Ltd. (from left to right: Jan Juvan in Dr.Damjan Klobčar)

7. Team NERVteh: Simulator for less accidents

Every year, 1.24 million people are killed in traffic accidents, 400,000 of which are young people, aged 10 to 24. Research shows that practice in driving, driving education and training on simulators can reduce the possibility of causing a traffic accident by up to 66%. This prompted the team of NERVteh Ltd. to develop a driving simulator that mimics the responses of a real vehicle. 

The interior is composed of real car parts and a screen that allows the user to have complete peripheral vision. Part of their innovation is a moving platform, simulating the movement of the car chassis, allowing the driver to feel the action on the screen. The second part is the simulation itself, which can be used for basic training or dangerous and unpredictable situations such as speeding, driving under the influence, a child jumping on the road and similar. 

Their program is currently primarily used by road safety organizations (AMZS, ADAC, WHO), insurance companies and automotive industries. In the future, they wish to participate in the gaming industry and lend simulators to educational institutions. Compared to other providers of simulators, their product is in the lead mainly due to the advantages of the moving platform, the software that provides a highly realistic driving sensations and the possibility of adapting the training to an individual’s abilities and needs. By the end of the year, the team wishes to complete the new version of the product and is currently looking for financial investment, which would enable it to enter the market faster. 

PHOTO: The team of start-up NERVteh Ltd. (from left to right: Jaka Simonič, David Možina, Jernej Dolinšek and CEO Matej Vengust)

8. Team OOG: More energy and better health

The fast pace of life often prevents us from taking care of our health, which is reflected in the amount of water we drink daily. The team of the company OOG Ltd. saw a business opportunity and a solution to this problem, a patented gauge that measures the amount of water in the bottle - H2O-Pal, which sends the information via Bluetooth to a smart phone application and keeps track of the amount of water you drink. 

H2O-Pal is an innovation in the field of healthcare because of its added value and usefulness for people who care about a healthy lifestyle, especially for patients, who need to keep track of the amount of water they drink daily (diabetics, patients with renal impairment, etc.). 

H2O-Pal has attracted a lot of interest abroad, where the company has already made contact with partners who will use their patents in their products (PHILIPS, PANASONIC). They are planning to set up their sales through their website and distributers. 

The consortium Bluetooth Special Interest Group ranked H2O-Pal among the four most innovative prototypes of the year at the consumer electronics fair in Las Vegas and the Finance newspaper ranked them among the best business ideas of 2013.

PHOTO: Founder and CEO of OOG Ltd., Igor Marjanovič

9. Team Prospeh: Trace it back to the barn

The modern consumer faces a daily challenge of how to check the origin of the food product in their hands. The reason for this lies in the unavailability of data and the interest of many food enterprises that the chains and paths remain hidden. The team of Prospeh wished to maximize the transparency of the origin of food products and thus it developed OriginTrail, a system that will enable the consumer to have easy access to that information. 

OriginTrail system consists of three components: at the end of the production line each product will be marked with a unique code that the application on the user device will read. Then it will gather information from a server and display it to the consumer. 

Both the manufacturer and the consumer will benefit from the use of the system, as each product from the production line in the consumer’s basket will serve as a medium of communication. The manufacturer will get instant information about the consumer’s shopping habits, wishes and complaints, while the customer will have access to food products with a traceable source. 

The three team members have been working together since 2005, when they participated in student and school projects, and began to collaborate professionally in 2011. They participated in the development of the first version of a traceability system for Slovenian organic meat and received a diploma from the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce for an innovative system that checked the origin and authenticity of organic meat by using QR codes. 

In 2013, they decided to start a company and upgrade the traceability to a higher level that covers all food products. They are currently working on the first pilot project with one of the biggest Slovenian food producers. The second pilot project is planned for abroad and will enable the standardization of the product. 

PHOTO: The team of startup Prospeh Ltd. (from left to right: Žiga Drev, Branimir Rakić in Tomaž Levak)

10. Team Sunesis: Integration of SaaS applications

The company Sunesis has developed Kumuluz, an integration platform that solves the problem of integration of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications. Recently, companies have begun to transfer their applications to the cloud, which means that there is an increasing need for integrating SaaS applications with already existing applications. 

Unlike the classical approach, where all applications are connected to each other, the Kumulz platform implements the principle of a hub, which means that every application requires only one connection. This significantly speeds up the development of integration. 

Kumuluz implements three technological innovations: the automatic construction of a common data model, the automated mapping between data schemes and the architecture for event integration, which enables integration in real time. The platform also supports migration, data backup, management of key data, master data management and big data analytics implementation of integrated data. In the near future, they are planning integration with internet of things devices, such as various sensors, mobile devices and the like. 

Their competitors offer one or at most two of the functions of the Kumuluz integration platform, which preforms integration faster, significantly shortens the time of migration and is considerably less expensive than other providers.

They have already signed their first contract (namely with the company Akrapovič), they are in the final stages of talks with companies from Austria, they are negotiating with Slovenian providers of cloud services and have signed a letter of intent with Vestigo in order to enter the Croatian market.

PHOTO: The team of startup Sunesis Ltd. (from left to right: Miha Nagelj, Tilen Faganel, Eva Zupančič, Zvone Gazvoda, dr. Aleš Frece, Rok Povše)


Communications and PR Start:up Slovenija
Izvedba: Mojdenar IT d.o.o.