Leverage our ecosystem’s connections and channels

An ecosystem can increase a company’s innovative efficiency and power

Network and learn at the leading
CEE startup & tech event

Become part of the deep-tech
innovation & startup ecosystem

Position optimally in the
startup ecosystem

Creativity and innovation are born from collaboration

The knowledge to innovate is globally distributed.

Ecosystems make up our world, our existence, our reality. Our economy shifted from the industrial age hierarchical structure to a more networked, hyper-connected technology-driven economy. Therefore, companies should allocate time and resources to build the ecosystem surrounding their company and get the best networking, creativity, innovation, mentorship and investment opportunities.

A startup & innovation ecosystem consists of various players that are critical for innovation, and includes (intra)entrepreneurs, universities, governments, corporations, startup accelerators, venture capitalists, private investors, mentors, the media, and other potential innovation partners.

Building these ecosystems takes a lot of time and effort. Don’t start from scratch!

What if you had an experienced ecosystem builder to help you build the ecosystem surrounding your company and bring you together with the right partners in a more timely and efficient manner.

We at Venture Factory facilitate ecosystems around the CEE’s most influential startup and tech conference Podim, Start:up Slovenia platform, Start:up Maribor, and Innovum platform of the University of Maribor innovation ecosystem. We are an active partner of ESNA – European Startup Nations Alliance, ESN – European Startup Network, and Startup Europe Ambassador.

Leveraging our ecosystem events, platforms and communication channels, we can help you:

We’ll help you meet the right ecosystem partners

We have been building startup & innovation ecosystems you can benefit from. We help companies connect with ecosystem stakeholders and leverage their corporate power to create successful ventures and new revenue streams. Our team has extensive connections and channels to the Slovenian and CEE startup community and a strong network of global startup ecosystem partners.

Let's start working together.

Schedule a FREE 30-minute strategy session

Discuss your goals, challenges and solutions

Strengthen your
innovation ecosystem

Not just the best business designers and innovation coaches, but also the best ecosystem builders

Our team has strong roots in the startup ecosystem. We have built the most influential startup & tech conference in the CEE region, named PODIM. Through it, we build a global network of startups, experts, and partners across various industries. We launched a national startup ecosystem platform called Start:up Slovenia. We are the core partner of the University of Maribor innovation ecosystem, Innovum.

We offer the best networking and learning opportunities

PODIM conference – startup & tech platform

Podim has evolved into the key regional platform for enabling learning and networking in the most valuable and time-efficient way.

It offers a truly life-changing experience. It is creating real value by bringing together and connecting renowned international investors, established corporations, and startups & scaleups from the Alps-Adriatic and Western Balkans regions.

  • One of the best startup & tech conferences in the CEE Region, based in Slovenia.

  • Influential, yet intimate. Inspiring, yet practical. Remarkable, yet accessible.

We offer six types of tickets:

  • Startups & Scaleups*
  • Business Executive
  • Investor
  • Attendee
  • Student & Researcher*
  • Media*

*Need to apply first and qualify More:

At Podim, you can be more than just a featured logotype.

Whether you are looking to increase your company’s brand awareness in the regional startup ecosystem, generate new leads, collaborate with startups and scaleups, or simply inspire your employees – we have the right partnership package for your needs. You can choose between 4 partnership options:

  • Startupper
  • Outlier
  • Unicorn
  • Golden
  • Unicorn

We strive to involve our partners in various engaging activities throughout the whole cycle of the Podim Loop. Multiple touchpoints of the Podim platform, like Demo Day, networking and Satellite events, Podim summit, and others, enable you to get the most out of Podim.

Partner up and catch the wave! Drop us a line at and we’ll get back to you!

  • Podim is a platform created around and for startup founders. It’s a gathering of curious, knowledgeable, and inventive people.
  • Podim is just the right size event to offer you easy access to personally meet top-notch speakers and get valuable time with investors, business executives, and other participants.
  • Podim is a platform for efficient networking, practical discussions and priceless feedback.
  • The website gets more than 70.000 unique yearly users. Podim has a strong international following: 7.500+ followers on Facebook, 2.000+ followers on LinkedIn and 15.000+  e-mail subscribers.
  • More info at:
  • Year after year, it’s the best showcase of what the CEE region has to offer.
  • There are only 1,000 participants at Podim, including a good ratio between the number of startups, investors & business executives.
  • Approximately 150 carefully selected startups from the CEE region, which you can meet via meetings or Demo Day.
  • Collaboration with the startup ecosystem can be the secret key to reinventing your business.
  • Get new knowledge, ideas and actionable insights while listening to experts and founders.

Start:up Slovenia – ecosystem platform

Start:up Slovenia is an independent open platform of the Slovene startup ecosystem that supports innovative entrepreneurship in Slovenia.

We are the contact, coordinator and promoter of the stakeholder network of the Slovene startup ecosystem. This includes startups, investors, supportive environments, entrepreneurial experts and enthusiasts, both individuals and organizations, who are changing Slovenia for the better.

Membership in the Start:up Slovenia community is intended for all individuals who are active within the Slovenian startup ecosystem, international partners and anyone who supports its development.

It is entirely up to you how deeply involved you will be. You can co-create the vision with us, or just follow the information and attend community events.

More info:

We are passionate, dedicated and focused on informing, promoting, inspiring, connecting, collaborating and changing, thus paving the way for entrepreneurship to become integral in Slovenian society.

Interested in joining forces or supporting us? Let us know, and we will get in touch to discuss how we can work together. Drop us a line at and we’ll get back to you!

  • Start:up Slovenia’s website gets more than 85.000 yearly users, with the database being the most popular landing page.
  • Our Slovenian startup database, with nearly 350 startups, is the most extensive source for Slovenian startups.
  • Start:up Slovenia has strong startup ecosystem channels: 12.000+ followers on Facebook, 1.200+ followers on LinkedIn and 15.000+ e-mail subscribers.
  • We are your bridge to the right people in the Slovenian and international startup ecosystem.
  • The gateway to entrepreneurship and innovation in Slovenia.
  • You can read the best reports, interviews and stories from the Slovenian startup ecosystem.
  • Startups can get first-hand expert advice from our growing network of partners.
  • We organize startup ecosystem meetups in Slovenia. Use it to connect with like-minded individuals.
  • 20% discount on the Podim tickets, the most influential startup and tech event in the CEE region.
  • The Slovenian startup database is constantly being updated. You can find startups by filtering them by specific sectors, technologies used, stage of the startup, etc.
  • We help you to promote your startup events if you add your event to our calendar.

The university innovation ecosystem

Undoubtedly, the future of innovation in Europe will emerge from its world-leading universities.

Our university city Maribor and the region have excellent innovation capacity and resources, but most importantly, the talent developed at the University of Maribor. To exploit this potential, we are building a strong university innovation ecosystem to support founders to solve hard problems and bring deep tech innovations out of the labs. In 2004, we set up the University Business Incubator to help students, alumni, and professors create spin-off companies and tech startups from academia, leveraging their interdisciplinarity.

Innovum is an open platform with a mission to develop a dynamic, entrepreneurial talent-friendly region and city. Venture Factory is a core partner responsible for entrepreneurship and innovation programs, which rests on +20 years of experience. We focus on building entrepreneurial skills and winning teams and help them to design and validate business ideas with a particular focus on deep tech spin-outs and corporate transformational innovation projects.

Interested in joining forces or supporting us? Let us know, drop us a line at and we’ll get back to you!

The University Business Incubator offers free services under the Innovative Environment Entities Program of the Public Agency SPIRIT. We work with innovative potential entrepreneurs, new and existing innovative startups, and fast-growing scale-up companies with global growth potential. We provide support through promotional and motivational events, information and advice, thematic workshops, mentoring, and counseling.

We have 500 m2 of space where teams can find their workspace, equipped with modern furniture and high-speed internet access, taking advantage of the conference room, multimedia classrooms, and kitchen.

Would you like to join us? Send us an email:

We also build a startup community around the Start:up Maribor platform, organizing startup events, mentorship programs, and funders meetups. Together with venture capital firms and other partners, we are making efforts to make sure the most promising regional seeds turn into successful companies.

Would you like to join us? Send us an email:

  • The University of Maribor feeds rich talent into the startup & innovation ecosystem and acts as a source of innovative tech ideas.
  • Tune in to our famous Start:up Muesli podcast and deep dive into entrepreneurial and tech topics.
  • Start:up Maribor’s website gets more than 25.000 yearly users.
  • Start:up Maribor has 6.000+ followers on Facebook, and 4.000+ e-mail subscribers.
  • We are your bridge to the right people in the University of Maribor’s innovation ecosystem.
  • Cross-industry collaboration with the startup ecosystem can be the key to reinventing your business.
  • Our team has strong roots in the startup ecosystem so that we can build the right partnerships with experts, startups, and audiences.
  • Connect with peers and share stories about overcoming problems you may face.
  • Mingle with industry influencers, innovators and investors.
  • We help you build a strong brand reputation in the startup & innovation ecosystem to attract talent and external partners to drive innovation.

Get on the path to becoming a resilient business

Work and innovate with us to create new value for customers and make a difference in the market. Together with your team, we will discover;

From this point of view, we will clearly envision the future of your business and make the best strategic decisions to get there.

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