On Tuesday, 21st June 2022, it will be announced who will take home the crystal trophy and the title of the Slovenian Start:up of the Year 2022. The grand final of the prestigious award will also feature DeltaHub, Epidemic, InnoLab, mPOR and SaleSqueze - this year's finalists. The award, which for the fifteenth year in a row has been presented by Start:up Slovenia in cooperation with the Slovene Enterprise Fund, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology, Technology Park Ljubljana, Slovenian Business Club and active stakeholders of the Slovenian ecosystem, will be given to the team whose achievements, actions, reputation and development potential, represents a new generation of Slovenian innovative entrepreneurs.
The event will be hosted by Peter Poles and the music will be taken care of by the singer Amaya. The startup that impresses the jury the most with its potential will become the Slovenian Start:up of 2022.
Could the next Slovenian unicorn be hiding among the selected finalists? We'll see! Read on to get to know 5 of the most promising startups on the Slovenian startup scene, their products, achievements and aspirations for the future.
DeltaHub is a young, fast-growing startup with a dedicated team. They develop innovative desktop gadgets that inspire the user and improve their health while working at their computer desk. Their product Carpio belongs to the healthy lifestyle area, considered a growth industry in the target markets. The advantage of the Caprio product, besides its minimalist deisgn, is that it was developed with doctors, which allowed the team to figure out the correct ergonomic design. The key benefit of the product is that it follows the movement of the user's hand, which is not possible with other solutions on the market.
In a very short period of time, the team has mamnaged to penetrate global markets, where they have promoted themselves mainly through digital marketing, as they operate in the B2C segment. Their main market is currently the United States of America, where they have more than 40% of their customers, followed by Canada, Germany, the UK and Australia. In total, they sell to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Slovenian startup Epidemic is impressing with its solution for connecting brands with influencers via social networks such as Instagram and Tik Tok. Epidemic's business idea relies on the authenticity of its nano and micro influences, of which they already have over 10,000 in their database and they are constantly expanding it with the help of artificial intelligence, finding just the right people for each project. We're talking about influencers with a few thousand followers at most, sharing the products and services of companies they trust.
The value of this form of marketing has already been recognized by many Slovenian and foreign companies on the market, including Wolt, Barbie, Pampers, Hooray Heroes, Fisherprice, Mercator and Petrol, which use selected nano- and micro- influencers to increase visibility and sales. Epidemic is also one of the recipients of an award for its use of artificial intelligence sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The InnoLab story was started by Teja Bajt, founder of InnoBox - a science experiment box. She is a molecular and cell biologist by education and by heart. Her greatest joy is to pass on her passion for science to children. Innobox is a box that introduces children to science through fun experiments. It contains all the materials to carry out experiments at home from different areas - biology, chemistry, engineering and physics.
The team tries to make the experiements as varied as possible, and with the help of detailed but easy-to-understand video instruction in Slovenian, chidren can carry out the experiments together with their parents and read an explanation of each topic (scientific background). In 2021, they were one of the 8 selected companies on the popular TV show Štartaj Slovenija, which gave them great visbility in the domestic market. They are now preparing to expand to the Italian market through Amazon.
The SaleSqueze team believes that ordering from manufacturing companies should be easy. So their mission is to develop a platform for manufacturing companies to help them simplify the ordering experience for their B2B customers, while at the same time organizing and automating their internal, mostly manual, order processing and communication processes.
The company's vision is to provide an easy buying and ordering experience for complex, technical products, in a way that is similar to existing solutions from the B2C world that customers already know and use. SaleSqueze improves customer satisfaction for manufacturing companies, drastically reduces the cost of sales, increases the employee satisfaction, and most importantly, eliminates manual work in sales by largely replacing email and phone calls in order processing. The company is addressing the area of digital transformation of sales processes in manufacturing, which is the biggest opportunity of our generation. SaleSqueze employs 18 team members in Slovenia and the platform is already used by more than 50 Slovenian comapnies.
The newly established company mPOR originates from the Laboratory for Biocybernetics of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana. Their business idea is the HF-EP high-frequency electroporator, which works on the principle of electroporation - a method that temporarily increases the permeability of cell membranes by means of electrical pulses. It can be used by experts to deliver active substances into the cell (chemotherapy), DNA (gene therapy) and locally incude cell death (ablation). And how is this solution different from those already known? The electroporators currently on the market generate 100 μs-100 ms pulses, which are very uncomfortable and often painful for patients due to the irritation of pain receptors and muscle contraction. The mPOR company has thus performed the world's first human study confirming that high-frequency 1-3 μs bipolar pulses significantly reduce muscle contraction and pain.
Their product has been used since the first prototype in the Biocybernetics Laboratory and the Oncology Institute Ljubljana. It has given researchers an uprecedented competitive advantage over others, allowing them to study in areas where their colleagues cannot compete, as they do not have the equipment. To date, they have been able to carry out as many as ten biomedical research studies using the high-frequency device.
Which of these 5 innovative ideas will win the prestigious Start:up of the Year 2022 title? We'll find out on 21st June!
Content support for recipients of P2, SK75 or SI-SK financial products under the "de minimis" scheme is co-financed from the Slovene Enterprise Fund and the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund. This is implemented on the basis of the Content Support for Funds Recipients (SMEs) Programme in the 2018-2023 period, under the Operational Programme for the Implementation of the European Cohesion Policy 2014-2020.