The new start up accelerator based in BTC, the region’s largest commercial center, attracts young businesses from all over the world. The project is supported by some major global corporations, including IBM.
The Ljubljana based ABC Accelerator started operations less than a year ago, yet seems to be one of the hottest new things in the startup universe of Central and Eastern Europe. The independent and private owned accelerator is focusing on Alps-Adria and South Eastern Europe regions – nevertheless attracting young entrepreneurs from all over the globe.
The accelerators normally provide some basic support and guidance for the young companies, and an opportunity to build strong business networks. They prepare the companies to meet the needs of the investors. ABC's special twist are topical programs including smart city solutions, smart living and health and commercial tech: only companies offering already developed products related to the selected topic can apply. Through a tough selection process only 10 companies are selected for each program. The call for the last program received around 381 applications until its deadline and beside startups from Europe, applications came from countries including Mexico, Brazil, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Russia, Pakistan, and Nigeria. In the end, half of the selected teams were from Western Europe (Italy & France), 3 from other CEE countries and 2 from Slovenia.
The accelerator is located in BTC City, the largest retail and business center in the region with 4.500 businesses and 21 million visitors per year: an excellent environment to test the business idea, get feedback from the market and establish business links. A Major partner in the accelerator is also IBM Slovenia, offering not only access to its technology, but also its vast network.
The accelerator gave a starting platform to some very promising young companies. Austrian startup APP RAY develops technology which would prevent data leaks from smart phones. Serbian company VisMedic is developing the first telemedicine platform in the region. Slovenian Zetadrive is developing an advanced VR enabled driving simulator with the ultimate goal of creating artificial intelligence solutions for self-driving cars. Styliff is a Slovenian – British – Brasilian venture offering a virtual dressing app – a key technology for online fashion retailers. Austrian Symwaro develops smart city solutions focusing on water and waste management. Another smart city solutions provider is Slovenian SmartISCity, offering a unique platform which upgrades usual “internet of things” based smart city solutions with strategic indicators, projects and citizens’ feedback. Many of the companies are run by mixed international teams. An example: Violanto is the innovative e commerce platform developed by a team of Australians, Serbians and Chinese. Another mixed team has developed Paperleap: a unique platform for supporting researchers in finding the best opportunities for publishing and presenting their work.
In a short time, ABC Accelerator became a true emporium of new ideas and innovation. Investors were quick to respond. The first pitching event has already attracted over 70 investors. The project also got support from companies like Microsoft, BMW, Amazon or Cisco.