The Slovenia Times

ABC Accelerator: From Ljubljana to EXPO Milan and then Shanghai


More than 60 international investors participated in the final Demo Day in Ljubljana where eight start-ups presented their business stories to potential investors. The Pre-Demo Day organised at EXPO Milan 2015, and a strong presence at the PODIM Entrepreneurship Conference are just two examples of how the ABC team is continuously building recognition of the Slovenian innovation ecosystem internationally. The next steps on the agenda are the opening of ABC Accelerator in Salzburg and a Shanghai branch with Smart Cities investors Premier Group.

ABC runs a number of programs each year, the current program, Smart Cities, is reaching the end of its active part, and ABC's partners - BTC, IBM, CEED, Xlab, and AmCham are now preparing for the next chapter. The next program, Smart Living and Health, is open for applications from the start of October. Dejan Roljič, founder and CEO of ABC Accelerator states: "The Accelerators we know today will not exist in this form in the future. Founders lose two months with their start-ups to find the right business model, to create the right media deck, investor deck, flyers, web pages, just to change the way they think. We can disrupt accelerators in the next few years by creating the first virtual pre-accelerator program", which is why ABC Accelerator is launching the biggest, global project next year, which will affect the way we handle start-up businesses and it will catapult Slovenia forward as a country of innovation.

Each three month program offers a variety of workshops, key speakers, motivational talks, one-on-one meetings with CEO's and mentors. ABC is a success story reaching global recognition that started implementing changes within the ecosystem. During the program, people from many other accelerators visited ABC to check on the good word that has been spreading: "The teams at ABC were a pleasant surprise because not only that they have some really good products, they also have a good understanding of customer development and some good traction already. It was refreshing to see an accelerator that is helping all aspects of that ecosystem". - Dominic Coryell, Distribution Hacker and Investor, 500 Startups Accelerator.

Symvaro, a young Austrian company that has joined ABC, is an all-in-one tool for water utilities, developing Smart City solutions with a focus on water & waste management. When
expanding to neighbouring countries, it was logical for Symvaro to apply to ABC: "Coming to ABC Accelerator was one of the biggest business opportunities and experiences in our five year history. The thing is that for the last two years we were unable to grow outside Austria. We are successful in Austria but outside of our culture we weren't succeeding and so we took ABC Accelerator as a big opportunity to learn how to grow fast and smart, how to get experience from someone who had already done it. What came out of this is that our team is so much stronger now, we are absolutely focused, we know what we want and we know how to get it. This is based on the experience we received from the mentors. Mentors have been a great advantage for us, they shared their experience with us for free - and it would take us years to learn it on our own", explains Rudolf Ball, CEO of Symvaro.

Building a bridge between Europe and China - with a branch of ABC opening in Shanghai
in 2017, ABC Accelerator will present new possibilities for the next generation of start-ups, expanding their possibilities to otherwise unreachable markets.


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