15th & 16th of May
Maribor, Slovenia

PODIM Challenge


PODIM Challenge is an investment platform for connecting selected early-stage startups with investors, and strategic corporate partners. It is an entry point and selection filter for startups to obtain a PODIM startup ticket and to gain access to PODIM 1:1 Arena with 500+ meetings and pitching competition with special prizes.

Who is it for?
Primarily for startups from the European Adriatic and Western Balkan regions that haven’t yet received a bigger series A investment round and as a rule aren’t older than 5 years.

What is the main prize?
The best startups at the PODIM Challenge pitching competition will be awarded with all-inclusive tailor-made programmes in global startup hubs such as Silicon Valley or London.


The application process 

Meet the PODIM team and the main PODIM Conference partners (accelerators, investors, corporate representatives …) at one of the roadshow events happening all over the European Adriatic & Western Balkans countries.

Apply for PODIM Challenge until 23 March 2018 at the latest and make sure that you select the appropriate industry on the application form! 
A special PODIM Challenge jury will select 200 most promising startups from the region and inform them on how to obtain the PODIM Startup Ticket and get the opportunity to compete at the PODIM Challenge pitching competition.
All selected startups will be presented in a special PODIM Startup Catalogue that will be distributed to all PODIM investors, corporate representatives and speakers two weeks before the conference and will also be used as a tool for organizing 1:1 meetings. 

DOWNOLAD the PODIM 2017 Startup Catalogue

After you claim your PODIM Startup Ticket, the PODIM team will inform you about all the pitching and networking opportunities in the PODIM 1:1 ARENA, where we plan to organize 500+ one-on-one meetings between startups, investors and corporate representatives. 
An important part of the PODIM Challenge is the on-stage pitching competition. The winning team will be awarded with an all-inclusive one-week business trip to the one of the global startup hubs with a networking programme in the total value of 10,000+EUR.

PODIM Challenge Industries

All startups that apply for PODIM Challenge must categorize their business and select up to three industries that their products or services are involved in. All PODIM Challenge Industries will be listed in the application form and here is a quick preview of them: 

  • Business and Productivity (communication, collaboration, IT equipment and infrastructure, education and knowledge management, business and productivity apps, data aggregation and services, data security and privacy, marketplaces and exchanges platforms, marketing and advertising apps, tools and platforms ...)
  • Energy and Utilities (energy efficiency, exploration and production, waste management and recycling, infrastructure and distribution, commodity trading ...)
  • Financial Services (banking, accounting, insurance, currency, blockchain, cryptocurrency, investing and wealth management, lending, payment solutions, money transfers ...)
  • Life Science and Agriculture (drugs and pharmaceutical industry, food, agriculture and farming, health tech, medtech, health care, health care devices and platforms ...)
  • Lifestyle and Entertainment (media and content, social networks, leisure, travel and tourism, sport, wellness, fitness, gaming, toys and gadgets, personal devices and apps, fashion, clothing, personal care and growth, real estate and interior design ...)
  • Materials and Manufacturing (production processes, materials research and science, sensing and automation, design and engineering, supply chain management, maintenance and services, construction and building ...)
  • Mobility and Transportation (automotive, rail, ship, aerospace, maintenance, infrastructure and distribution, logistic goods and services, storage ...)

PODIM Chalenge Partners 2017

In 2017 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

More information about how to collaborate with Kolektor:

Get in touch with Kolektor Ventures team!

If you wish to meet the team that stands behind Kolektor startup activities and  meet  it at this year’s  PODIM  Conference, get in contact with Mateja Lavrič (mateja.lavric@kolektor.com) and Andrej Čušin (andrej.cusin@kolektor.com) or  write  to them via the contact form on their website.

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

More information about how to collaborate with Iskratel:
Get in touch with Iskratel!

If you wish to introduce Iskratel to your innovative idea in ICT, cloud solutions, IoT or 5G, contact Roman Kužnar (roman.kuznar@rcikt.com), manager of Iskratel’s startup programme and director of Iskratel’s business incubator RC ICT, who is in charge of the first contact with startups, or visit their website for more information about their startup programme at the address iskratelstartup.si

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.

More information about how to collaborate with Telekom Slovenije:

Get in touch with representatives of Telekom Slovenije!

If you have an innovative idea in IoT and other fields that are relevant for the leading Slovenian provider of ICT services and solutions, and wish to present it to Telekom Slovenije at this year’s PODIM Conference, we invite you to write to Larisa Potokar (larisa.potokar@telekom.si) who is in charge of first contact with startup teams in Telekom Slovenije. Otherwise the startup team of Telekom Slovenije includes Suzana Leben (suzana.leben@telekom.si), director of Strategy and regulations, and Sašo Djoković (saso.djokovic@telekom.si), in charge of partnerships.

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 

More information about how to collaborate with Zavarovalnica Triglav:

Get in touch with Zavarovalnica Triglav!

If you wish to introduce Zavarovalnica Triglav to your innovative idea in the field of sharing economy and its implications for car and home insurance, you can write to Zoran Miloševič (zoran.milosevic@triglav.si) and arrange an introductory meeting at the PODIM Conference.

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.

More information about how to collaborate with Pošta Slovenije:
Get in touch with the representative of Pošta Slovenije!

If you want to present your innovative idea in the field of logistics or mobility and transport, we invite you to write to Mitja Štampfer to his e-mail mitja.stampfer@posta.si and set up a meeting at this year's PODIM conference. 

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.

More information about how to collaborate with Nova KBM:
Get in touch with Nova KBM!

The meeting point for fintech startup initiatives in Nova KBM is the information technology sector, where you can establish contact with Jure Kobal (jkobal@nkbm.si), but you can also turn to Martin Gunčer (mguncer@nkbm.si) from the software development department.

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!



2017 Award Contributor:

PODIM Challenge 2017 was powered by:

2017 Alpe-Adria co-organizers: Venture FactoryTechnology park LjubljanaKWFBuild!Friuli Innovazione 

2017 Partners: Centre for European Perspective (CEP)Business Angels of Slovenia



Investors & Corpos at PODIM Challenge 2017

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
Pavel Bogdanov
Almaz Capital, USA
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
Pošta Slovenije, Slovenia
Mateja Lavrič
Kolektor Ventures, Slovenia
Martin Mössler
Science Park Graz / ESA BIC Austria” Incubation Centre, Austria
Inês Plácido
Science Park Graz / ESA BIC Austria” Incubation Centre, Austria
Pascale Schneider
Science Park Graz / ESA BIC Austria” Incubation Centre, Austria
Radana Stefekova
Constantia New Business, Austria
Nina Dremelj
Business angels of Slovenia, Slovenia
Zvone Jagodic
Silicon Gardens Fund, Slovenia
Dan Lupu
Earlybird Venture Capital, Germany
Bojan Muravec
Avtotehna VIS, Slovenia
Darko Butina
Netcetera, Slovenia
Jolanta Kokosińska
PwC, Poland
Heather Corcoran
Kickstarter, United Kingdom
Aleksander Kopač
Business angels of Slovenia, Slovenia
Borut Potočnik
BPMC, Slovenia
Andraž Grahek
Capital Genetics, Slovenia
Urška Jež
ABC Accelerator, Slovenia
Dragan Stjepanović
Pošta Slovenije, Slovenia
Igor Unger
Pošta Slovenije, Slovenia
Darja Osvald
Pošta Slovenije, Slovenia
Damjan Slapar
Iskratel, Slovenia
Andrej Čušin
Kolektor Ventures, Slovenia
Larisa Potokar
Telekom, Slovenia
Roman Kužnar
RC IKT, Slovenia
Gregor Mesarič
dr. Gregor Pipan
XLAB, Slovenia
Julien Coustaury
Fil Rouge Capital, Slovenia
Jakob Gajšek
ABC Accelerator, Slovenia
Aleš Pustovrh
ABC Accelerator, Slovenia
Iván Gyurácz Németh
M27 ABSOLVO, Hungary
Matjaž Krč
Ideus, Slovenia
Rok Habinc
STH Management, Slovenia
Yu Fan
GTOG, China
Aleksander Djoković
Telekom, Slovenia
Jure Kobal
Nova KBM, Slovenia
Jure Mikuž
RSG Capital, 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