In Technology Park Ljubljana on 29 and 30 September, we carried out this year’s autumn DEMO days for the already fifth generation of startups contending for SK75 and SK200 investments of the Slovene Enterprise Fund. They were assessed by a committee of startup mentors who think that among this year’s candidates, there are quite a few excellent ideas that are disruptive in their fields. Their pitches were also watched by representatives of business angels and institutional investors from Kolektor Ventures, STH Ventures, Iskratela, Save Re, Conda and Meta Group. It turned out that startups convince potential investors most with passion, commitment, knowledge and experience. And they drive them away by being too convinced in an untested idea, not knowing the market they are entering, and looking at acquiring funds from tenders as their business model. It’s also not surprising that at these DEMO days, the most exciting teams were those that already gained the startup grant P2 or seed capital SK75. After successfully reaching the milestones on the market and acquiring private investments, they are now continuing with steps of rapid global expansion and growth, for which they need additional fresh capital from the Slovene Enterprise Fund.
Thrilled about the potential for future VC investments!
As an evaluator, Jure Mikuž
, leading partner of venture capital fund RSG Capital, also joined the Thursday’s DEMO day for teams contending for the autumn SK75 investment.
According to Jure Mikuž, the teams were very well prepared and the quality difference between them was obvious, which is why his marks were either very good or very bad. He was most bothered by the fact that there were some candidates who started looking at the tenders as their business model. On the other hand, some teams thrilled him so much that he sees potential for rapid growth in them to the point where they will be able to talk to him about a new investment round of venture capital.
About the meaning of milestones, economic indicators, and visualization of success
, leading partner in Capital Genetics, joined the DEMO day on Thursday and assessed candidates for SK75. Our startup mentor, who is more known by the business public as a financial analyst and asset manager for investment funds, also answered the question of how startup most convince him or drive him away, saying that for him, mostly achieving milestones and economic indicators are key.
When talking to investors, visualization of success is also important, meaning that teams know what they want and how they will get to it in as much detail as possible, thinks Andraž Grahek, who detected a couple of very interesting teams amongst this year’s SK75 candidates, which we should keep an eye on in the future.
About potentially truly disruptive ideas
Startup mentor Andrej Muževič
and business angel and mentor Matjaž Krč
shared their view on how to convince or repel an investor, what are the chronic problems of Slovenian early stage startups contending for an investment, and what is the quality of the ideas and teams of autumn SK candidates.
Infatuated with an idea that was not yet tested on the market
Muževič warned that investors are definitely deterred by teams who are infatuated with ideas that they haven’t even tested or validated on the market yet. Meanwhile he sees a couple of brutally good ideas amongst this year’s autumn SK candidates, and thinks that they could truly be disruptive in their fields and have a good chance of exploiting the Slovene Enterprise Fund’s investment for international breakthrough. The entire statement from Andrej Muževič
after his assessment at Friday’s SK200 DEMO Day can be found here
About getting inspiration from Raffaello pralines
According to Matjaž Krč, a lot of startup teams that are in early development stages and are contending for an investment have a problem that they don’t make a thorough effort to find the “woooow” effect of their product. As an example, he names the famous sweet, the Raffaello praline, which was invented by a cook who spent 20 years before that doing other things, not inventing white fluffy dessert hits. The entire statement from Matjaž Krč
after his assessment of SK75 candidates can be found here
Transition between P2, SK75 and SK200 truly works!
, ambassador of lean startup entrepreneurship from 30Lean, didn’t participate at DEMO days as an evaluator, but he did help SK75 and SK200 candidates perfect their performances and pitches at both dress rehearsals for DEMO day. As an experienced mentor who has been collaborating with us since the first generation of SK startups, he has discovered, much to his and our great satisfaction, that the planned transition of early stage startups between products P2, SK75 and SK200 actually truly works!
As one of the reasons why many startups today transition from P2 to SK75 and from SK75 to SK200, successfully achieve market milestones and get additional private investments when doing so, Matej Golob states the fact that these programmes were set up like this from the beginning. At the same time, so many teams have participated in them by now that entrepreneurs can exchange experiences, and they see this as a natural, logical process.
Entrepreneurs agreed with the mentor’s opinion
Similar to Matej Golob, the main purpose of products P2, SK75 and SK200 and the logic of naturally transitioning between them was also confirmed by Rok Upelj
, co-founder of ABCS SISTEM developing a device for automatically cancelling turn signals on the motorbike, and Boštjan Lipnik
, CEO of the startup developing the web platform RibiskeKarte.si for buying e-permits for fishing.
Device that wouldn’t have seen the light of day without Slovene Enterprise Fund’s resources
As Rok Upelj
said, if it weren’t for Slovene Enterprise Fund’s resources, the Smart Turn System team couldn’t have embarked on the business path, talk to investors today and think about global sales, because they are developing hardware which takes a lot more time and capital than developing applications does.
“P2 resources were entirely dedicated to development. The idea was at its very beginning, so we couldn’t have even started without these resources. Then we obtained the SK75 investment, with it we fully developed the product, certified it and entered the market with the remainder of the resources. We would dedicate the SK200 investment exclusively to the expansion of global sales,” said Rok Upelj immediately after pitching at DEMO day for SK200.
Wouldn’t have survived the first two years without the startup grant
According to Boštjan Lipnik
, company Terra Nullius, developing the web platform RibiskeKarte.si, wouldn’t have survived the first two years without the P2 startup grant. And even though they first thought that they don’t need the SK75 investment, they quickly realized that they need additional fresh capital for expansion.
As pioneers in a narrow, but potentially very profitable niche, members of the team RibiskeKarte.si thrilled the evaluation committee. They are planning on using the investment SK75, for which they are contending, mostly to expand the team that would work on penetrating to Italy, Austria, Germany, Italy, Croatia and Serbia.
Everyone selling their idea needs pitch training
The entire pre-selection process for obtaining the SK investment, which includes pitch training at Demo day rehearsals, thorough work with mentors and gaining precious feedback, is something “truly needed by any startup selling their idea to anyone, be it the Slovene Enterprise Fund or a private investor”, says Gregor Štorman, CEO of a startup developing a device for moving planes in hangars. The entire statement from Gregor Šturman
after pitching at DEMO Day can be found here
To a much more understandable pitch with mentors
Žiga Vesel, CEO of the startup developing the application Boomerang (which uses the concept of lottery to solve the problem of unnoticed ads), said that they found the entire pre-selection process truly great, because at the dress rehearsal for DEMO day mentors helped them change their entire pitch so that it was a lot more understandable than the previous one. The entire statement from Žiga Vesel
after pitching at DEMO day can be found here
Who are the startups that pitched at SK75 DEMO day?
23 startup companies pitched at the autumn SK75 DEMO day, and they have the opportunity to contend for Slovene Enterprise Fund’s investment in the amount of 75,000 € and participate in the accompanying accelerator programme:
1. Company Oprof with the affordable online system OpenProf
, which replaces the expensive hiring of private teachers for students
2. Company Domdom with the mobile app Homey
, which allows parents to simply pay allowance and reward children according to positive behaviour and completed chores
3. Company Gotoky
with the eponymous solution that uses a smartphone and no mobile network infrastructure to enable communication, data transfer, navigation, and warning in case of an accident
4. Company Voco with the comprehensive web central Owify
for managing and monitoring phone calls in smaller companies and web stores, which works through the browser on the computer or mobile device
5. Company Terra Nullius with the online platform RibiskeKarte.si
that makes it easier for fishermen to buy e-permits while at the same time accelerating sales and encouraging international fishing tourism
6. Company Lummi
with the eponymous online market for instructors and teachers who offer their services to those searching for different knowledge and skills
7. Company Optifarm
with the eponymous system for managing short chains of supply with locally produced food and food products
8. Company Moja plaža
with the eponymous web platform that offers descriptions of all beaches in the world in one place and enables us to first choose our dream beach and then book accommodation on the same website
9. Company SIS business services with the TotalAssessment
system for selecting staff, solving the problems of big organizations in posting staff adverts to which a large number of candidates apply
10. Company Blub Blub
with the eponymous digital tool that helps children develop speech, digitalizes the service for speech and language therapists, and offers parents a fun way to practice with their child
11. Company Povezani with the tool Sconnected Start
, which gives sports fans all the news and a comprehensive overview of the happenings in the most popular clubs, also wishing to influence their success and popularity
12. Company OCULUS DIAGNOSTIKA, developing the affordable system NEUS
for early and non-invasive diagnosing of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease
13. Company Hangar Aviacija with the device aviaCART
, solving the problem of moving planes in hangars, which is time-consuming for plane owners and presents a big danger for doing damage to planes
14. Company Boomerang media with the app Boomerang,
which solves the problem of involuntary and unnoticed ads by the young population in an innovative way, using the concept of lottery
15. Company Feelif
with the eponymous multimedia device based on advanced software and a special net that helps the blind and visually impaired feel shapes on a standard touchscreen
16. Company Fortronik with the BuWizz
steering component, which allows LEGO® enthusiasts to more easily charge and replace batteries, a higher speed of models and exact steering and management via a smart phone.
17. Company 4see with the solution PredictLeads
, which automatically examines a large number of sources of news, job adverts etc., and using machine learning shells out the important information about companies that the sellers can then use to qualify potential customers and effectively address them
18. Company Techino with a device for manipulating hoses with a water jet
, which is a patented solution meant to improve the safety and increase the effectiveness of extinguishing fires
19. Company Premično Otočje with the innovative swimming platform DreamISLAND
, which solves the problem of restaurants, pubs and hotels that face a limited season, quick change of trends, immobility, and high prices of locations or real estate beside the sea
20. Company Ed Space with the web application Be Smart
for online learning of foreign languages, with user-adaptable learning speed and video lectures in the user’s native language as well as exercises for revising the learnt knowledge
21. Company Smart Futuristic with the online platform FoodSurplus,
which enables food sellers to sell the surplus of food and food before its expiration date to bigger customers, such as hotels, restaurants etc.
22. Company ORIGINAL 84 with the product Medenka
, offering healthier sweets that include only fruit and honey, and it’s also packed in intellectually-protected packaging that makes eating sweets simple and fun
23. Company DEMETRA Leanway with the software application PERFORMANCE STORYBOARD
that includes a group of tools for improving the key indicators of success in a lean manufacturing company
Startups that pitched at DEMO day for the SK200 investment
Six startup companies pitched at the autumn SK200 DEMO day, and they have the opportunity to contend for Slovene Enterprise Fund’s investment in the amount of 200,000 € and participate in the accompanying accelerator programme:
1. Company ABCS SISTEM, developing a device for automatically cancelling turn signals on the motorbike Smart Turn System
2. Company VIAR, developing the online platform VIAR360
for professional creators of 360° content who don’t know how to program
3. Company Internacionalni šport with the sports social network 1click2sport.com,
which provides the biggest offer of recreational sports in Slovenia and is expanding across the borders into other EU countries
4. Company Eggos
with the EggMedia platform, a cloud application, interface for designing content and multimedia content player, transforming the TV or computer into a TV programme of your own
5. Company Ugodna potovanja with the Eurogo booking system
that guarantees a significantly cheaper offer of “traditional” tourist arrangements to the final user, including plane tickets and hotel accommodation
6. Company EASEBELT with the patented tool for ergonomic seating EASEBelt®,
used for supporting and relieving the spine when doing everyday activities in the seated position
The programme is enabled by