Slovene Start-ups Raised $140m in 2017, Driven by Cryptocurrencies

By , 06 Apr 2018, 09:05 AM Business
Slovene Start-ups Raised $140m in 2017, Driven by Cryptocurrencies Flicker - © École polytechnique - J.Barande, CC by 2.0

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ICOs accounted for more than $80m in a record-breaking year. 

STA, 5 April 2018 - Start-ups founded by Slovenians at home and abroad raised a record-breaking 140 million US dollars in 2017 as they took full advantage of the cryptocurrency craze, show fresh data by Silicon Gardens, a community connecting Slovenian start-ups.

Start-ups which sought to raise capital in initial coin offerings (ICO) are responsible for $80m or more than half of the total capital raised. Venture capital added $48m.

"Venture capital and ICOs are the main components," said Boštjan Špetič of one of Slovenia's most successful startups, Zemanta.

He singled out Origintrail, which raised $22m in an ICO, and Layer, Celtra, Tokens and cofound.it, which raised $15m each, as the most successful start-ups last year.

Despite the record amounts, Špetič believes there are too few business angels on the Slovenian start-up scene. Instead of being the driving force, they only contributed $1.2m last year.

Almost all the venture capital that finds its way to Slovenian start-ups comes from abroad, with domestic capital at less than 5%.

Start-ups received $34m from the US, $11.5m from the EU, just over $6m from Slovenia, and $1.5m from Asia.

This resulted in the demand by investors that 95% of the invested capital must be in turn invested abroad.

"Even after ten years we haven't managed to convince investors to come to Slovenia and put a million or five million dollars on the account of a Slovenian company."

According to Špetič, last year was marked by three major sales of Slovenian start-ups, including Zemanta. "The fact that the Slovenian ecosystem produces several sales a year means that entrepreneurs know what they're doing."

Since 2005, Slovenian start-ups have raised more than $500m, with the annual sum rising from $1m in 2005 to last year's record amount.

The bullish trend is likely to continue, as start-ups have raised as much as $40m in the first three months of this year alone, Špetič added.

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