The Podim Pitching Competition Winner is Hypefy

At the Podim Pitching Competition, which takes place within the Podim conference in Maribor, the best startup of the conference was announced today out of 137 startups from 23 countries. Today, 5 finalists stepped on the main stage to compete for the coveted title, and the best startup was crowned Startup Hypefy.

The Podim Pitching Competition is traditionally held during Podim, which takes place between 13th and 15th May 2024, and is a great opportunity for startups and scaleups to raise their visibility and attract the attention of investors and other potential business partners. For many startups, participating in the Podim Pitching Competition has led to greater visibility among investors, faster arranging of meetings and, as a result, faster growth.

From Demo Day to the Finals

As a first step, 137 startups presented their ideas at an online Demo Day in early May 2024. The jury selected the 10 best of them to enter the semi-finals, which took place on Monday 13 May 2024 at the Podim conference. Among them, a jury of international investors from renowned European venture capital funds and experienced entrepreneurs selected the 5 finalists who competed today to win: Get Moments (Czech Republic), Novasign Suite (Austria), Kinderpedia (Romania), Hypefy (Croatia) and Readmio (Czech Republic).

This year, the final jury included many prominent names from the international investment and business world: Felix Martinez (Seedcamp, UK), Francois Mazoudier (Fundraising Bootcamp, UK), Gabriele Poteliunaite (HEARTFELT_, Germany), Julien Coustaury (Fil Rouge Capital, Croatia), Mary Alcantara (Interactive Venture Partners, Hungary), Lucija Reić (Infobip, Croatia), Rok Huber (SPS, Slovenia), Tatjana Zabasu Mikuž (South Central Ventures, Slovenia), Izet Ždralović (Silicon Gardens), Katie Lockwood (Twin Path Ventures, UK).

The coveted title goes to Croatian Hypefy

The experienced investor jury was most impressed by startup Hypefy from Croatia in the finals. It is a startup that developed a fully automated platform for running influencer marketing campaigns, from a start to the end, from hiring influencers to campaign realisation.

The winner was announced by the Minister of the Economy, Tourism and Sport, Matjaž Han, who commented on the Podim conference and the competition, “Podim is by far the most important international startup conference in the wider region of Europe. I am proud that over the years the organisers have developed Podim into such a renowned event, which shows the ambition for the development of our startup ecosystem and the success of our country as a land of startups. In this respect, Podim is a pioneer of our ambition. It is where startups and investors meet, opportunities for entrepreneurship development are made, and different knowledge and experiences are exchanged on the international market.”

On receiving the coveted title, Stjepan Zelić  from the startup Hypefy said: “Winning means a lot to us, because we tried to win two years ago, we tried to win last year. But this year, finally, we got a killer pitch. And we got the traction that confirmed it. For the future, we have big plans to scale to the United States. We’re going to more than double our team. Our team is now 10. We’re aiming for somewhere 25. We already raised 1.3 out of the 1.5 million EUR. I guess closing the last 200,000 EUR is not going to be an issue now. We want to scale and grow by 7 times this year and even more.”

The winner will be awarded the No.1 investor programme

The winner of the Podim Pitching Competition has been awarded a place in the European Investor Programme No.1 “Fundraising Bootcamp”. This is a structured programme for the winner that will give them access to new skills, contacts and help them to secure investment. Francois Mazoudier, the angel investor and entrepreneur who designed this programme, said: “Podim is getting better and better and better every year. The winner Hypefy represents everything that we want: it is young, energetic, takes something that is impossible to do with humans, fixes this and makes this completely automated. When deciding about which startup to invest in, the most important criteria is always the team, the team, the team. And when it comes to pitching and having the first interaction is to present the business. Stop talking about the product, present the business, what’s the moonshot, make sure that investors understand that investment can return their entire fund and Hypefy does this super well.”

And the winner will also fly with the Podim team to London, the European capital of startups, for the three-day Podim London Springboard programme, where they will have a series of meetings and the chance to meet the right people to grow their startup.

Felix Martinez, member of the jury and principal at the Seedcamp venture capital fund, said at the announcement of the winner: “This is my first time at Podim. I’m really impressed by the founders. The winner was great. He had good energy. I think he was very, very concise, which is obviously a must in these three-minute pitches. I think he really got across why it’s him that’s building it, why it’s an interesting moment for this type of company.”

Additional prize goes to another start-up

In addition to the winner, an additional startup selected by Podim partner Infobip was awarded at the Podim Pitching Competition finals. Among the finalists, they selected the startup Kinderpedia from Romania that convinced them the most and will receive Infobip’s services worth EUR 30,000. Kinderpedia web platform and mobile apps s the all-in-one digital suite for schools and nurseries to manage academic and administrative work, engage families and swiftly handle the invoicing of tuitions.

Lucija Reić from Infobip said: “I think Podim is definitely one of the go-to startup conferences in the region. Regarding the Infobip prize we took into consideration what kind of use the startup would have from this. This is something that could improve the product, to take it on the next level and to also lower the communication costs. We have noticed that Kinderpedia might have a good use for these and that’s why we chose them.”

Congratulations to the winner and all the startups for participation at the Podim Pitching Competition. 

A big thanks to our partners for writing the success story with us and making the Podim Conference possible.

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