The new wave of Slovenian software developers: they are young, innovative, they focus on apps and digital advertising and often move their headquarters to London or USA. And they brought out the first Slovenian unicorn.
“Hi, guys! I’m Tom. You’ve probably heard of me, right? I’m the leader of the gang.” Recognize this? This is the greeting of Talking Tom, an animated interactive 3D character the users can play with in the mobile apps.
You've quite probably heard of Talking Tom (even if you don't use the app), described as »world's most popular cat after Oggy." After all, the apps from the Talking Tom family were downloaded an incredible 3 billion times in the five years of their existence. Yet it is much less known that Talking Tom's homeland is Slovenia. It is a product of Outfit 7, a small dynamic company from Ljubljana. Outfit7 is the first Slovenian unicorn: a young company evaluated at over 1 billion dollars. The first wave of Slovenian software companies consisted mainly of game developers and software developers for “serious” applications in industry and research. The new wave of Slovenian software developers is oriented mostly towards apps and marketing solutions. While their older colleagues still operate in their home towns, even when they develop solutions for NASA or global corporations, their young counterparts move their operations to London or USA.
A good example of the new wave of software entrepreneurs is Andrej Nabergoj, one of the original founders of Outfit7. The 39-year old entrepreneur is something akin to a legend in the Slovenian IT industry. While still a student he co-founded and led several advertising and media start-ups in Europe, U.S. and Japan, including Httpool, a leading online emerging markets advertising network. After leaving Outfit7 in 2011 Nabergoj launched app developer and marketing platform company Iddiction. With headquarters in Silicon Valley’s Menlo Park the company managed to attract over 5 million US dollars of venture capital for its Xplode app discovery network. The solution helps users to find exactly the app they want in the ever more crowded iTunes, Google Play and other app stores.
Another example of dynamic development in Slovenian software industry is Celtra. The company develops advertising solutions for digital media: over 250.000 ads were made using their AdCreator platform. Celtra received a number of international awards like the Gold Stevie Award in the New Product and Service of the Year 2014 in marketing/public relations solution category. The company with 130 employees moved its headquarters to Boston and has offices in all major US centers, London and Ljubljana.
Diet Point is one of the most popular dietary apps with over 5 million users. A creation of Slovenian company SimpLabs, DoubleRecall helps publishers increase the profitability and efficiency of their paywalls by monetizing social, search and email traffic with simple engagement ads. The company was founded in 2010 by a group of young Slovenians – Since 2012 they use New York as a base of operations, they are present also in Japan.
Viidea from Kranj offers cloud based hosting portals with lecture videos with a package of services that enhance the presentations and solutions that allow the authors of the videos to make money online. Another company from Kranj is Toshl, known for its expenses tracking app – one of the most popular apps in its category. The seven guys behind Toshl’s success certainly know what they are doing. After all Kranj is the center of the Gorenjska region – and people from Gorenjska enjoy a reputation in Slovenia of being »careful« with their money – not unlike Scots. Should we add that the founders of Bitstamp, one of the world’s largest exchanges of digital currency, also originate from Gorenjska? The company now operates from London and New York.