The Slovenia Times

Success is in the Expertise



While studying astrophysics, he ran a photocopy shop and today he employs 60 engineers in the high-tech company that has developed the most powerful wheel electric motors for the global automotive industry. The potential was recognised by Chinese investors who invested EUR 10m in the company. The idea is to start mass production in the next two years and become a synonym for electric cars with wheel motors.

How do you see yourself as an entrepreneur, a manager or an inventor?
I advocate integrity, which means that all these areas need to be well-managed, although in one we have to be the best. Without expertise and a base in the area of high technology, it is difficult for a manager to be successful. Similarly, a manager needs a feeling for people, leadership and organisation. Important virtues are also entrepreneurship, identification and recognition of opportunities. For myself, I believe that I am a combination of scholar, athlete and entrepreneur.

How did you come up with the idea to start Elaphe?
The concept of wheel motors in Slovenia was raised by Andrej Detela, also a physicist, inventor and philosopher. I read his interview, sent him an e-mail and then we quickly realised that we could cooperate. I was good with computers and I knew how to program many of his analytical solutions. Together, we came up with better solutions and we solved specific problems faster. Then, in 2006, we founded the company. We started out alone with Andrej and a few external collaborators and gradually the remaining team members joined. Today we have 60 employees and 10 to 15 students, some of them are already very intensely active in our projects.

All the business you create is from foreign markets. Why?

We are involved in international projects and cooperate with foreign partners. In Slovenia, we do not have any customers, which is not unexpected as we do not have any car manufacturers.

Is Slovenia a supportive environment for high-tech companies?
The environment is not so bad. There is lack of large companies that could benefit from the small high-tech innovations which are arising in Slovenia. Therefore, companies should always refer to clients abroad, this leap is somehow more difficult as, for the buyers, it is easier to work with a company in the vicinity. On the other hand, cooperation with the faculties is going well, the country strives to establish various mechanisms. In Slovenia there are many associations, we have a technology park and other institutions which play a vital role. However, it still mostly depends on the individual. With those who act constructively we always cooperate well but these things are left to chance and with some motivation of individual players, the question is whether this could be optimised by a solution of the system.

What attracts investors to Slovenia? Is investment in Slovenian companies enough, too much or too little?
I do not know enough about other companies and statistics to give an assessment. In the high-tech field, we do not have a tradition which is certainly a negative point. On the other hand, someone with the right content and the right team, if it is strong enough, could attract a strategic partner and together they will find ways as to how something can best be carried out in Slovenia or elsewhere, which again is not so terrible. Of course, we have to be smart and not sell everything. Here follows the concept, typical for Silicon Valley, that investment follows the general rule of up to 20 or 25 percent. If it is a large-scale investment it is already questionable as to whether it makes sense. 

What is the company vision for the future?
That someone who is considering making electric cars with wheel motors should think Elaphe.


More from Nekategorizirano