Investment in Slovenian start-ups topped EUR 114m in 2015, which is almost double the 2014 figure. Most of the funds, EUR 108.6m, came from risk capital funds, entrepreneur Boštjan Špetič said at a Startup cafe event in Ljubljana on Wednesday.
Crowdfunding contributed EUR 1.6m, EUR 806,000 came from business accelerators and another EUR 983,000 were angel investments. The state chipped in EUR 2.2m. Most of the investment, some EUR 10.4m, came from Slovenia. The US followed with EUR 17.3m and China with EUR 9.4m. The remaining EUR 1.6m came from other countries. This was the first time that China nvested in Slovenian start-ups and Špetič expects the investment from the country to continue this year.
Among the receivers of the Chinese investment was also Ulu, a start-up that has developed a solution for connecting all cars to the internet. It was backed by a half-a-million investment from Chinese fund Fang. The most money, EUR 36m, was invested in British-Slovenian start-up Lyst specializing in on-line sales of high fashion, which was co-founded by Slovenian Sebastjan Trepča.
Investment in start-ups founded or co-founded by Slovenians between 2006 and 2015 reached some EUR 233m, with half of the investment made in 2015 alone. Špetič noticed that it was currently easier to get funds in Europe than the US, where financial funds became more conservative. The start-up sector is still too small compared to the problems of the Slovenian economy, so it is not receiving a lot of attention from the state, he believes. However, the state is investing in promotion campaigns and is opening doors to entrepreneurs, he said. According to Špetič, the state should remove obstacles to investment while companies should be buying start-ups with innovative solutions, which is currently not happening in Slovenia.