Slovenská sporiteľňa decided to establish the first corporate venture capital program in Slovakia. However, Slovenská sporiteľna`s Seed Starter will not only be about financing startups but mainly about content support, which is why the program includes an incubator and so-called Bootcamp. Slovenská sporiteľňa thus wants to help create a favorable environment for the creation and growth of innovations in Slovakia.
Less than EUR 30 versus almost EUR 2,000 per capita. There is such a huge difference between investments in startups in Slovakia and the world leader – Estonia. In addition, Romanians, Bulgarians, and Ukrainians invest more in startups than Slovaks. Traditionally, Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, and Austrians are also better off.
“Startups are the key to a more resilient economy. They create jobs with high added value the fastest and attract talent from all over the world. However, Slovakia lags significantly behind in promoting entrepreneurship and supporting the growth of innovative technology companies. Without a fundamental change in approach, we will miss the train,” – said Peter Kolesár, a Partner at Civitta, which provides consulting services in the field of innovation and startup support in Central and Eastern Europe. It was founded in Estonia and currently operates in 18 countries.
According to Petr Krutil, CEO of Slovenská sporiteľna, the startup environment in Slovakia needs a significant boost. “Slovakia’s economy has a structural problem, we cannot survive without innovations. We therefore decided to establish the first corporate venture capital program for financing startups in Slovakia – Slovenská sporiteľna`s Seed Starter. Its goal is not only to finance startups in Slovakia, but also to take care of them comprehensively and create a suitable environment for innovation to grow. We are convinced that Slovakia needs businessmen and businesswomen who believe in innovation and a Bank that will support them”.
Slovaks want to be inspired
Slovaks can traditionally be inspired by the Czech Republic. “At home, we benefit from ideas coming from the university environment, to which – we must honestly admit – Slovak students also contribute, especially from Brno,” – explains Jiří Skopový, CEO of Česká spořitelna’s Seed Starter, which has been successfully operating for three years.
According to him, the startup scene in the Czech Republic is much better established and connected abroad. “In the Czech Republic, for example, we have pre-incubation programs already at schools, incubation and mentoring programs, extensive and relatively well-processed angel investment, pre-seed and seed investments,” – adds Jiří Skopový.
Thanks to this, the Czech Republic already has two startups with a value exceeding a billion dollars: Productboard with a valuation of USD 1.75 billion, followed by Rohlík with a valuation of USD 1.2 billion.
Today, Česká spořitelna’s Seed Starter is seen in the startup environment as a key corporate venture capital. During its existence, it has already invested approximately EUR 4 million in startups in the Czech Republic. “We do Bootcamps for budding startupists, various events, networking, we support them financially and in terms of content,” – adds Jiří Skopový.
In addition, Seed Starter is launching a unique program with USMAC and Unicorn Attacks, which will provide startups from the Czech Republic and Slovakia with a two-month acceleration program with individualized mentoring, meeting with American investors and potential business partners, and which will culminate in a two-week trip to Silicon Valley.
Years of experience
Among the successful startups supported by Seed Starter is also PalmApp – an application and online service allowing immediate and transparent access to money from a salary in advance, for already worked hours. “I see the entire cooperation with Seed Starter so far positively, we signed business cooperation regarding the mediation of contacts from Bank advisors of Česká spořitelna regarding the use of our service for companies in the SME and Large Corporates segment. After only a few months of cooperation, we have dozens of signed contracts and we see great interest from other companies. We are in a great synergy, the Bank will offer the companies additional financing and PalmApp will offer its innovative product,” – explains Petr Ladžov, Founder and CEO of the Startup PalmApp.
Slovenská sporiteľňa also wants to bring support for the technological startup environment, but it is not starting on a green field. The largest Slovak Bank has twenty years of experience with corporate financing and seven years of experience supporting startup entrepreneurs. Within this target group, approximately eight thousand business ideas passed through the Bank, more than a tenth received financing.
Slovenská sporiteľna`s Seed Starter
- The first corporate venture capital program to support startups in Slovakia.
- 100% subsidiary of Slovenská sporiteľna.
- It connects funded startups and their solutions to the environment of the largest Bank.
- It helps startups with the go-to-market phase.
- For young technology companies, with a strong vision and value for customers, that dare to exist even in 200 years.
- It brings startups not only financing, but also content support, the program also includes an incubator and so-called Bootcamp www.seedstarter.sk.
Source: The press release by Slovenská sporiteľňa dated September 08, 2022