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The explosion of start-ups

2015 was a record year for start-ups in Slovenia. According to the analysis prepared by the Silicon Gardens Investment Fund, Slovenian start-ups raised 127 million US dollars (114 million euros) last year. That's exactly 100% more than in 2014 and five times over the 2013 figure. The number of start-ups attracting investments have also doubled in the last few years. Most of the capital came from European venture funds, yet sources are getting diversified and Slovenian start-ups are becoming more and more attractive to US and Chinese investors.

2015 was a record year for the start-ups in Slovenia. According to the analysis prepared by Silicon Gardens Investment Fund, the new promising Slovenian companies attracted some 270 million US dollars of investments in the last 10 years. But in 2015 alone Slovenian start-ups raised 127 million US dollars (114 million euros). That's exactly 100% more than in 2014 and five times over the 2013 figure. The number of start-ups attracting investments have also doubled in the last few years.

Most of the money comes from venture funds. Last year 35 young companies raised 121 million dollars of venture capital. Yet the sources of the capital for Slovenia's young businesses are getting more diversified and range from crowdfunding, to angel investors, start-up accelerators and government's seed money. Interestingly enough, only 11 million out of 270 came from local investors. Most of the capital (84 million US dollars) came from other EU member countries, 19 million were provided by the US investors and 10 million from the Chinese.

As usual, the winner takes all – or almost all. Only one company managed to get one third of the total capital invested in Slovenian  start-ups in 2015. Lsyt is an e-commerce company specialized in high-fashion. Its sophisticated algorithm could revolutionize high fashion retail. The solution has convinced Bernard Arnauld, French fashion mogul and the owner of brands like Christian Dior and Kenzo. Together with some of the largest and most reputable venture funds and a US based hedge fund, Arnauld put 40 million dollars in a company which now employs over 100 people. Another example of the stellar success of Slovenian start-ups is Urška Sršen, who made this year's global 30 under 30 list published by the Forbes business magazine. Her company BellaBeat creates sophisticated health trackers in form of jewelry. The BellaBeat also won The Europas Award for best healthcare start-up.

Similar to Lyst and Outfit 7 (the first Slovenian unicorn – young company with the market value exceeding 1 billion US dollars) most Slovenian start-ups try to convince the market and the investors with their web and mobile solutions. This industry attracted 79 percent of the total investments in Slovenian start-ups last year. Only 19 percent of the funds were directed to companies with standard »hardware« production.

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