PODIM Challenge 2017


The investment part of the conference with a pitching competition for early-stage startups that are looking for a seed venture capital investment or a strategic partnership with big established companies.
This year’s main prize for the PODIM Challenge winner is an all-inclusive one-week business trip to the Silicon Valley with a networking programme, organized by the ABC Accelerator in the total value of 10,000 EUR.
PODIM Challenge is open to all startup companies, no matter their activity, that haven’t yet received a bigger series A investment round and as a rule aren’t older than 5 years. A prerequisite for participation is a valid PODIM startup ticket and an introduction in the PODIM startup catalogue.



Award Contributor:

Powered by:

Alpe-Adria co-organizers: Venture FactoryTechnology park LjubljanaKWFBuild!Friuli Innovazione 

Partners: Centre for European Perspective (CEP)Business Angels of Slovenia



Additional benefits for startups

Besides the attractive main prize, we also guarantee a number of other benefits for startups with a PODIM startup ticket that will participate in PODIM Challenge:
  • opportunity to pitch on the main stage of the conference in front of 50+ investors from all over the world and blue-chip company representatives,
  • opportunity to connect with 50+ chosen investors from all over the world and representatives of blue-chip companies from Slovenia and the Alps-Adriatic region who are looking for opportunities to strategically connect and collaborate with startups in their industries,
  • pre-organized 1:1 meetings with investors and blue-chip company representatives, which take place for the duration of the conference in the PODIM 1:1 Arena with help of the PODIM startup catalogue,
  • possibility of an additional free startup ticket,
  • possibility of using a presentation booth free-of-charge for 20 most promising startup teams that will submit a PODIM Challenge application (as per the jury’s selection),
  • additional benefits for startups from countries of the Alps-Adriatic region, the Balkans and other neighbouring countries (these benefits include possibilities of free accommodation or completely free all-inclusive PODIM participation, and are ensured by CEP (Centre for European Perspective) and other Alps-Adriatic region partners):

Investors in the conference audience, startup catalogue and 1:1 meetings

We are announcing the first investors, who already confirmed their presence at PODIM conference:  

PODIM Challenge blue-chip partnerships

This year, we upgraded the PODIM Challenge in partnership with strong blue-chip companies, which are systematically looking for opportunities to synergically connect with startups. In collaboration with them, we covered the following fields:

Materials & Manufacturing
Smart City & Community
Internet of Things
Sharing Economy
Mobility & Transportation
Other Fields
CHALLENGE Application

Materials & Manufacturing – powered by Kolektor

Kolektor is a multinational corporation with headquarters in Slovenia and a wide network of companies and branches in Europe, US and Asia, which is working in the field of highly specialized industrial production. As one of the leading players in global niches of components and systems for the automotive industry, electricity, engineering and technological systems, they also wish to establish themselves as a leading global provider of solutions for smart factories in the era of the digital industrial revolution. They see an opportunity for rapid growth, also in collaboration with startups, mostly in the fields of industrial IoT – IioT.
In Materials & Manufacturing area, Kolektor is looking for opportunities to strategically collaborate with startups developing disruptive solutions for industry 4.0 in the following fields:

  • Context and pattern recognition,
  • Robotics and sensors,
  • Advanced materials,
  • 3R (VR/AR/MR),
  • Simulations and models for forecasting and decision making,
  • Predictive and advanced analytics,
  • Big data, data storage, and processing cloud applications,
  • Employee mobility,
  • Automated guided vehicles and integrated transport units,
  • Predictive maintenance,
  • 3D modelling
  • Machine vision and machine learning,
  • Artificial intelligence (AI),
  • And safety devices related to IoT

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More information about how to collaborate with Kolektor:

Smart City & Community: Digital Services for Public Safety, Energy and Transport - powered by Iskratel

Iskratel is a leading European provider of info-communication solutions. It boasts with 70 years of experience, 900 employees in the group, their own development and production centres, and local presence in more than 30 countries, mostly in the area of Russia, former Soviet republics in Central Asia and Caspian countries as well as in Iran and Turkey. Iskratel is a multinational corporation ensuring integrated solutions for telecommunications operators and service providers, for transport digitalization, public safeties and energetics, and they are now rapidly preparing for the fourth industrial revolution. They are also looking for new business opportunities in collaboration with startups developing penetrative ICT products, focused on cloud solutions, internet of things, and smart and 5F networks, which enable a comprehensive transition into the digital society. 
At this year’s PODIM Challenge, Iskratel’s representatives will thus pay special attention to startups working in the industry of Smart City and Community – Digital Services for Public Safety, Energy and Transport, which entails the following fields:  

  • solutions supporting mobility and increased safety of people and things,
  • solutions for the digitalization of the rail and road transport infrastructure,
  • solutions for the digitalization of the energy infrastructure,
  • technologies and solutions for smart and 5G networks

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More information about how to collaborate with Iskratel:

Internet of Things – powered by Telekom Slovenije

Telekom Slovenije is a comprehensive provider of ICT services in Slovenia. It is recognized as a leading company in introducing and connecting new generations of mobile and fixed communications, system integration and cloud services, and multimedia content. With modernization, development of broadband optic networks and mobile networks of the fourth generation, as well as active participation in European projects for developing the new generation of telecommunication networks (5G), Telekom Slovenije is creating a platform for a transition to complete digitalization, management of devices and services, communications and connectivity between devices, and development of comprehensive smart solutions.
Telekom Slovenije sees solutions for telecommunications of the future as the priority areas for strategic collaboration with startups within R&D projects, including:

  • Internet of Things (smart networks, connected homes, smart cities, e-health), in which Telekom Slovenije sees its role mostly in integrating solutions of various providers,
  • fifth generation of mobile networks and their industrial application,
  • data mining and services in this field,
  • big data that enable improving Telekom Slovenije services, but can also be designed as a market service,
  • critical public services and cybernetic security,
  • business solutions for small and medium-sized companies with the purpose of improving productivity, digitalizing processes and using innovative solutions based on big data and artificial intelligence.

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More information about how to collaborate with Telekom Slovenije:

Sharing economy: implications for car & home insurance - powered by Zavarovalnica Triglav 

Zavarovalnica Triglav, with its 116-year business tradition, is the leading insurance company in Slovenia and the Adriatic region. Together with dependent and acquired companies, it does business on seven markets and in six countries, and is among the leading insurance companies in Southeast Europe.
The whole Triglav Group knows how important it is to be a reliable and responsible partner that uses modern innovative solutions to offer its customers answers to questions of the future. By constantly upgrading its business operations and services, Zavarovalnica Triglav also collaborates with startup companies, mostly developing services in the field of sharing economy – implications for car & home insurance:

  • Connectivity
  • Mobility services
  • Telematics – Active / Passive
  • Home automation / Smart Home
  • Internet of Things
  • Peer-to-Peer Services
  • Billing & Payment / Digital Wallet
  • User management
  • Customer Engagement and Gamification 

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More information about how to collaborate with Zavarovalnica Triglav:

Mobility & Transportation - powered by Pošta Slovenije

Pošta Slovenije is a successful company owned by the government of Slovenia. Together with its seven subsidiaries, it is becoming a powerful corporate group. It is the largest provider of post services and one of the largest providers of courier and IT services. The Group Pošta Slovenije with its 6111 employees is responding successfully to the changes in the markets, by offering new technologically advanced services and at the same time establishing itself as the most important provider of post and connected financial and logistical services in Slovenia and the Alps-Danube-Adria region as well as an important provider of IT services for public administration, business and citizens.
Pošta Slovenije group is successfully answering to the challenges of digitalization by investing in IT and informatization, in packet machines, automated post office, informatization of postmen, cashless mobile payments, electronic services and automatization of logistical processes.
Successful innovation is for them a key source of long-term progress. Thus, they will form a special innovational platform for a faster digital transformation of the company. They are also intensely partnering with stakeholders of the innovational ecosystem, where they attribute a special role to the cooperation with innovative startup companies, especially in the fields of mobility and transport, with a focus on:

  • improvements and innovations for the "first and last mile", where the term the "first mile" refers to the picking up of packages at the senders and the term "last mile" refers to the last stage of the package delivery to the final addressee. The addressee can take the package at his home address, alternate address, a package machine, or in the post office. Serving the package is the most expensive part of the process. The reason is that due to the high percentage of unsuccessful servings at home, which causes additional costs of a new delivery, more kilometers and a bigger toll on the environment with dangerous emissions. When delivering door to door, a problem is also the empty car on the way back along with other challenges like guaranteeing safety parameters with packages sent on special laws, or registered post or an insured post as well as the critical mass of post to guarantee a fitting profitability and effectiveness;
  • developing platforms, that can be used by other contractors of post and courier services around the world;
  • logistical know-how and sources;
  • all solutions that innovatively incorporate the fact that every day there are around 2400 physically present postmen and a little less than 1200 vehicles on the grounds of the republic of Slovenia.

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More information about how to collaborate with Pošta Slovenije:

Fintech - powered by Nova KBM

Nova KBM is a universal bank with the longest, more than 150-year Slovenian banking tradition. The owners of the bank are renowned international company Apollo, a global operator of investments, and the European Bank for reconstruction and Development. With new owners came a new and ambitious vision - to become the leading bank in Slovenia. Nova KBM has for many years been actively involved with the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, in part as a general sponsor of the PODIM conference. In the period of digitalization, it is becoming more aware of the meaning of partnering with startups, that are bringing advanced technological solutions, that are changing the traditional means of business and communications of users with the bank, to a very strictly regulated and traditional industry of banking and management of financial resources.
As a partner of this year’s PODIM Challenge, Nova KBM will be especially watchful of fintech startups, with which it plans to strategically cooperate in shaping bank and payment services of the future. It is interested in companies that are guaranteeing advanced user solutions by adding the most advanced web and mobile technologies in these fields:

  • Personal Financial Management, including predictive analytics for better understanding of the use of money and potential savings, predicting cash flow and consulting in cash flow optimization as well as the offering of bank products that include the characteristics of the user;
  • development of virtual bank consultants, supported by artificial intelligence, that can advise when managing finance, help make deals and if there are issues or unclarities when making a deal that cannot be solved virtually, connect the client with a bank employee;
  • ‘blockchain’ technology or development of blockchain solutions that can be used in the financial industry;
  • long distance business with non-clients, including verification methods and solutions that comply with the Slovenian law, solutions that enable long distance identification, analysis and the possibility of using qualified certificates to sign documents, making deals exclusively in electronic form and the law implications of such business;
  • development of chat bots for use in the financial industry.

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More information about how to collaborate with Nova KBM:

We are inviting all startups to apply for the PODIM startup ticket and PODIM Challenge, no matter their field or industry they work in.



Startups, submit you application for the PODIM ticket and PODIM Challenge HERE!



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All blue-chip companies that wish to join us as a PODIM Challenge partner in the future are invited to write to us at info@podim.org or read about the benefits of participating here.


Investors & Corpos at PODIM Challenge

Sunil Sharma
Extreme Venture Partners, Canada
Enis Hulli
500 Startups Istanbul, Turkey
Marcin Szeląg
Innovation Nest, Poland
Chuck Goldman
Sky Ventures Group, USA
Demetrios Zoppos
Klevio, United Kingdom
Alexandre Massart
Blend Ventures, United Kingdom
Michael Nassirian
ARVR Academy, VIAR, 9Mile Labs, USA
Nicolaj Højer Nielsen
Startup Funding Book, CluedIn ApS, Denmark
Matthias Hilpert
MH2 Capital, Germany
Heissam Hartmann
mrHeissam Consulting, Germany
Tapio Siik
Vertical Accelerator, EIT Digital, Finland
Russian Federation
Pavel Bogdanov
Almaz Capital, Russian Federation
Connor Murphy
Techstars, Germany
Stuart Browne
Pycap Venture Partners, Canada
Hampus Jakobsson
Nordic Makers, Sweden
Mark Pleško
Cosylab, Slovenia
Martin Pansy
UT11, Austria
Miha Valentinčič
Petrol, Slovenia
Mike Battilana
Cloanto, Italy
Giuseppe Visentini
ThermoKey, Italy
Tone Černe
APL, Slovenia
Czech Republic
Hana Šudáková
JIC, Czech Republic
Matthias Ruhri
UT11, Austria
Werner Sammer
UT11, Austria
Simona Šega
DsgnFwd, Slovenia
Dolores Podbevšek Plemeniti
Delo startup studio, Slovenia
Iztok Renčelj
Post of Slovenia, Slovenia
Mateja Lavrič
Kolektor Ventures, Slovenia
Jure Mikuž
RSG Capital, Slovenia
Dejan Roljič
ABC Accelerator, Slovenia
Michael Schuster
SpeedInvest, Austria
Branko Drobnak
Business angels of Slovenia, Slovenia
Gregor Rebolj
Silicon Gardens Fund, Slovenia
Čedomir Jakovljević
Krypterix, Slovenia
Matjaž Bavdek
Business angel, Slovenia
Carlo Asquini
Italian Angels for Growth, Italy
Giovanni Toffolutti
Italian Angels for Growth, Italy
Tatjana Zabasu
RSG Capital, Slovenia
Aurel Pasztor
Day One Capital, Hungary