Slovenian startups: from smart key finders to surgery applications

Slovenia's startup scene continues to thrive. Some of the best examples of young and extremely promising Slovenian companies were present in PODIM's selection for startup of the year, and in the finals for the Central European Startup Award.

The best Slovenian start-up of the year is, at least according to PODIM's jury, Nizkocenovci. Their GoAvio technology aims to find cheapest flight alternatives by combining low cost flights with trains and buses. The solution does not compete with the established cheap flight search engines, it is rather an improvement and complement. 

The company has managed, thus far, to attract funds from various sources, including the angel investor, Slovenian Entrepreneurial Fund, and two venture capital funds, Bulgaria’s Launchhub and the Czech Republic’s Credo Ventures. This young enterprise’s projects are forecast to earn 15 million euros in revenue, with a whopping 20 to 30 percent monthly growth rate, next year!

Maribor’s PODIM is “the largest and leading conference on entrepreneurship, startups and innovation in the Alps-Adriatic region.” It is also boasts one of the longest traditions, being first held 36 years ago. One of the highlights of the conference in May is the best startup award ceremony. Many of this year’s startup finalists produce medical and self-help applications and devices. Blub Blub is an application which helps children with various speech disabilities. Feelif helps the blind and visually impaired people learn more easily and their teachers teach more effectively. Ulla is a smart hydration reminder that can be installed on any glass or bottle. Adora is a personal assistant software application created especially for surgeons. The system inputs patient data using gestures and voice, thus reducing communication risk and infection errors, saving lives. The project has already attracted funds from America’s DFJ Venture Capital Fund, the Slovenian Enterprise Fund and the Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund. The young company cooperates with Microsoft and Draper University. Doctrina is a web platform connecting pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies, enabling knowledge sharing in a friendlier and more efficient way. Pharmaceutical giants seem to be embracing the idea; you can find names like Bayer, Roche, Sanofi, Reckitt Benckiser, Pfizer and Omega Pharm on the list of Doctrina's customers.

Another extremely interesting solution presented at Podim is 45HC.com, which allows for the booking of container transport in a mere 60 seconds. Gotoky is a gadget which communicates with smartphones via Bluetooth, allowing communication without the need for mobile network coverage. It is an indispensable piece of equipment for mountaineers, hikers and explorers, and was co-developed by nature freaks. Gotoky won the Most Likely Unicorn Award at last year's Startupbootcamp. This startup closely cooperates with the University of Technology in the Dutch city of Eindhoven.

Last but not least, Central European Startup Award finalist Chipolo has developed a small gadget which uses mobile technology to help find lost keys, phones, anything. “The world's loudest Bluetooth tracker” with its excellent design provoked substantial media attention and has been presented in renowned publications, such as Wired, Inc. and Elle, and covered by Reuters. It attracted almost 300,000 dollars during its Kickstarter campaign in 2013, well ahead of its 15,000 dollars goal. This year the company partnered with Mercedes-Benz; purchasers of these prestigious cars will receive Mercedes-Benz branded Bluetooth key finders with Android/iPhone apps wirelessly connected to their car keys. 

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