23rd of June was just another Thursday for most people around the globe. But not for ABC’s nine chosen startups. For them, it was a day which could easily mean a turning point in their careers. As the sign in ABC’s offices announced – 23rd of June was D Day.
The last three months in ABC Accelerator looked almost like a camp for athletes getting ready for the Olympic Games in Rio. Startup teams toiled, trained, measured results and made improvements to get ready for Demo Day.
But there wasn’t just one Demo Day. Commercial Tech program gathered so much interest ABC decided to also organize a virtual Demo Day. It was meant for venture capitalists and angel investors that couldn’t make it to Ljubljana and there were quite a few. It was also the first (and hopefully not the last) taste of worldwide popularity for the nine startup teams. They all had to present their product twice as investors from different time zone tuned in – from the USA through Europe to Asia.
However presenting in front of the camera and presenting in front of the crowd that has the power to change your life are two very different things. Especially if the crowd consists of influential people such as Charlie Kemper from Beta Bridge Capital, Ton van’t Nordende – partner at Keadyn, Stephan Marquat – SCM Strategy & Innovation Manager at Vodafone, Lux, Markus Lang – Managing Director at Pioneers Venture and Marin Šarič – one of the very first Google employees.
Before the nine chosen startups took the stage of City Teater Ljubljana on 23rd of June, it was time for some words of wisdom. ABC team always manages to find a very interesting keynote speaker and this time was no different as they invited Ragnar Saas, the co-founder of the best European b2b startup in 2015 – Pipedrive. He says he loves to help early stage startup entrepreneurs and he proved it with his speech, which was full of very useful advice coming from his experiences.
Mr. Saas was not the only speaker. As always Dejan Roljič, CEO of ABC brought us exciting news about ABC’s future. Already on 31st of June ABC will open venture gates in Munich and in August another one in Silicon Valley. In 2017 another expansion is planned – this time to Bangalore in India. It seems ABC’s team is working just as hard as their startups.
Finally it was time for the main act of Commercial Tech program. Apparently, the topic hit the bullseye as around 240 investors and visitors from USA, UK, NL gathered in front of the stage and were eagerly waiting to hear the ambitious ideas of this program’s international mix of startups. After months of preparing and honing their pitches these nine teams finally took the stage:
45HC and SmartisCity from Slovenia, Bubbles and WeShare from France, Drobio and Violanto from Serbia, Hotailor from Poland, and FruttaWeb and Paperleap from Italy.
As usual, ABC presented this program’s awards after the finished presentations. Kristjan Pečanec was awarded as the ‘best lecturer’ this time, ‘best mentor’ award was presented to Roger Blott, and Ljubljana branch of BMW Vertriebs GMBH was honored with the ‘best partner’ award.
Lidl and Tektonik craft brewery made sure all who attended the event had proper snacks and refreshments at hand, and pofockaj.si captured their pleased expressions on camera before they hurried off. Športni Center Millenium BTC took care that our startups as well as the ABC team were fit and ready for the big day!
The day was far from over: a lot of people soon moved into ABC Accelerator’s premises, where they took part in the Pirate Summit – one of the craziest startup conferences in Europe. The Summit was followed by Demo Day after party and the investors’ trip to the Slovene coast the next day, which was a pleasant conclusion of two days’ worth of excitement.
Statements about the event prove that ABC Accelerator has carried out
another program in Slovenia we can be proud of.
Keynote speaker Ragnar Saas said it was really unique how clearly and practically startups presented their ideas. He sees ABC accelerator as a great starting point for the startups that want to enter bigger European markets.
Investor Nebojša Lazič from Start Labs in Serbia was also pleasantly surprised after the event. He found the organization of Demo Day as well as startup’s pitches highly professional. He said that if everything else in ABC works on this level, they have a bright future ahead of them. He also mentioned he’s interested in some of the startups and will definitely talk to them about possible investments.
Marco Biasin, CEO of Fruttaweb startup was on the other side of the event which he also deemed successful. He said it was exciting but tough as every second represented another business opportunity. In the end, his startup gathered plenty of contacts from potential investors and business partners.
Apparently, everybody was satisfied with the event and thus the international recognition of ABC accelerator will grow even further. Their new program Internet of Things and Internet of Everything will also help with that as it’s going to be even bigger than those before. The applications are opened until 31st of July and you can read everything about the program on ABC Accelerator’s webpage.
There is only one conclusion possible after this Demo Day and all the news – startup lovers in Slovenia and the wider region are entering very interesting and exciting times.