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We know Steve Keil as a manager (BMC, Sciant, Epiq, VMWare, Xentio), a VC(NEVEQ), a professor (Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski), and a startup founder and CEM (Chief Executive Mammoth) at MammothDB. I can’t overstate our excitement of having Steve as a speaker at the Balkan Venture Forum in Belgrade.

And I have to admit, his is the coolest C-level exec title I’ve ever seen. It shows Steve’s larger than life sense of humor and fun-loving attitude with which he approaches life and success. And I have to agree, Steve is a mammoth by experience, by insightful reasoning, but most of all by being an example to all.

For a taste of what’s in store, check out Steve’s inspiring speeches at TEDx Bg 2011 and The Next Web 2012 conference in Amsterdam.

So prepare for Steve’s incisive and fun thoughts at the Balkan Venture Forum in Belgrade. I’ll see you there.


It is by a surge of excitement and deep satisfaction that we compose this summary of the 7th edition of Balkan Venture Forum in Zagreb on December 3-4, 2015 at Hypo Centar. We are still under the impression of the amazing 2 days spent with our guests in a pre-Christmas spirit in the wonderful Zagreb.

Brought together by the belief in innovation and entrepreneurship, 450+ people from different locations in the Balkans and Europe took part in the leading innovation forum on the Balkan. Among this huge number of attendees were 60 accredited investors from the region and 71 startups! Can you believe just how great the extent of this event was!? On top of that, this year through our collaboration with the World Bank we also hosted the Pioneers of the Balkans’ finals, which added great value to the diversity and quality of our top-notch agenda.

Speaking of it, we had excellent speakers who covered a variety of hot topics, including blockchain, digital mobility, eCommerce and payments, business angels partnerships and many more. Apart from the interesting discussion panels and keynotes, breaks were also highly appreciated as during them guests had the unique opportunity to become familiar with the products and services of the exhibiting startups taking part of the Innovation Showcase. Fantastic pitches, international networking, great food and drinks, growing acquaintances, and cool music were predominant part of the event. And did we mention our beautiful hostesses? A picture is worth a thousand words:

The main highlight of the event was, of course, the BkVF Startup Competition. Having carefully picked the most promising startups from the region and the best jury members, we simply knew we couldn’t be wrong for expecting excellent pitches followed by exciting questions from the jury. To our great joy, however, expectations were exceeded to a level of high interaction and humor between the startups and the jury.

The three pitch sessions were focused on the following topics:

  1. Consumer & Mobile: Moj Budget, MOBILEone, Content Creator App, Homey, Meridda, Hool
  2. SaaS & B2B & Marketplace: Pointme, BudoFinder, Harmonia, Opfolio, Travabled, Intelligent Commerce
  3. IoT & Life Sci: Hospital Cube, Ultijack, MetaBio, Smart Optometry, Canelio, Vendotel, PARK

We closed this edition of Balkan Venture Forum with the Winner Ceremony, announcing the top 5 Best Presentation Awards. The criteria for winning the award were:

  • Business potential
  • Team experience
  • Technological merit
  • Competitive position
  • Partnering interest
  • Project profile quality

Winners of the Best Presentation Award are:


Dog Training Revolution


Of 92 million dog owners in the US, 13 million are currently training using non-smart clickers. We believe only mechanical is not good enough so we created Canelio clicker: the first smart dog training device, and accompanying platform. We took a product already used and sold globally and reinvented it.


Get everyone in your family doing their chores!

Homey is for families, who are dissatisfied with using paper charts and sticky notes on their fridge for organizing and assigning chores. The market is huge, but we’re focusing on wealthy USA families, where we already got traction without any marketing costs (6000 moms from USA follow us on Instagram, and we have 500 families from USA signed up for beta). So many families fight about chores, and we’re here to solve this.


Ultijack is an ultimate gadget jacket for outdoor experience .It has an incorporation of new tehnology in it ,and a bag , an it is multifunctional. Designed for making life easier.


Travel community for people with disabilities. is a travel advisor for people with disabilities that offers services for a greatly underserved niche market of 300 million travelers worldwide, who always travel with their companions and spend more than able-bodied visitors on average, yet still struggle to find confirmed information about real accessibility of desired destinations.


Smart City at your service

Vendotel is the first operator of a smart city platform based on a self-service kiosk network. €4.5M private investment in R&D. 200+ kiosks sold, that generated €11M turnover to clients in three years. Started roll-out of a 2000+ device network in Croatia, Slovenia and Austria, to be operated by Vendotel. Raising a growth stage investment to become the global digital platform for convergent self-service kiosks.

On behalf of the whole Balkan Venture Forum team, we would like to congratulate all of the startups for earning the highest jury scores on their pitch at the 7th edition of Balkan Venture Forum in Zagreb! We are very proud we had the chance to meet them and help them present their startups in front of 60 accredited investors in the region. Additionally, we remain open to offer our support in the upcoming stages of development by means of creating valuable connections with investors that are relevant to their field.

Last, but definitely not least, we would also like to express our immense gratitude to the man who ensured our startups had a pitch-perfect and our agenda flew as smooth as possible – Peter Hopwood!



About five years ago we saw the kick-off of the regional innovation eco-system, with first cross-regional funds Launchub and Eleven and the Balkan Venture Forum together creating a wave. This momentum helped grow the eco-system almost exponentially. The funds were investing with an amazing pace, each having dozens of investment per year, and the Balkan Venture Forum also kept boosting the community with two events per year, wherever it was most needed: Skopje, Belgrade, Sofia, Tirana, Sarajevo, Nova Gorica.

Since the outset of this first wave, it was evident that the region has a cohesive community, with an empowered, creative and collaborative spirit, unburdened from past baggage. Balkan Venture Forum’s mission is to continue helping the development of regional innovation infrastructure along those lines, by focusing on people and their quality.

By now a number of important milestones were reached at a local and regional level:

  • A regional community has been established.
  • Local innovation communities are budding almost everywhere.
  • Competences on local and cross-regional startup acceleration(SuperFounders) have been built.
  • The second wave of funds has appeared, better-funded and more experienced.

This ushers in the second stage of the regional startup ecosystem, a stage of completion and maturation of people and the infrastructure.

We are thrilled to showcase this sparkling potential at the next Balkan Venture Forum in Zagreb! The host city and country have one of the most vibrant startup communities, with a few amazing successes! I do hope that the forum will help them fill in any gaps, such as in the developing financing infrastructure, as it has managed elsewhere, like in Skopje, Belgrade, Tirana, Sarajevo.


Startups will have a chance again to pitch to “smart” money, in the regular BkVF Startup CompetitionPlease apply by Nov 20th.

Attendees can book early discounted tickets here. Startups that would like to exhibit their product can use our exhibition space and book a stand here.

We will update you in the coming days with exciting news about some of the coolest speakers and program content seen at any BkVF so far! We are thrilled and can’t wait to see you in Zagreb at the Hypo Center! Works are underway for the best Balkans’ startup event so far.

Dvorana Kornati

The Balkan Venture Forum is coming to Slovenia! After visiting the grassroots communities in Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina, the 6th edition of the Forum is moving to one of the region’s powerhouse economies. For this sixth edition, the BkVF team is joining hands with COINVEST of COBIK (home to the annual COINVEST Tech Investment Conference). With combined forces, the BkVF COINVEST is shaping up to be one of this year’s most exciting entrepreneur-meets-investor events! Set across 2 days, 50 tech companies will be taking the stage at the Perla Casino & Hotel in Nova Gorica. But the action-packed program will include a host of cool speakers who will be sharing with you:

  • How To Succeed Globally (A Founders’ Story)
  • What you can expect from being in a startup accelerator
  • How to build working relations with large corporate groups
  • How to attract EU funding for your startup
  • What motivates investors to invest in your company
  • What are the hottest trends in startups & investment
  • What fundraising in the US is like
  • How to sell software to small & medium size companies,
  • How a VC makes his money (and for whom!)
  • What the life of a serial entrepreneur is like
Screenshot from 2014-09-10 20:31:45crop

As always, the BkVF will include many international and regional heavyweight investors. The list will be growing rapidly over the coming weeks (so stay tuned!) but already confirmed to evaluate the startup pitches:

  • Baybars Altuntas – President of the Business Angels Association of Turkey and board member of the EBAN;
  • Torbjorn (Toby) Jorgensen – President at Federation X Holdings;
  • Branislav Vujovic – Founder and President at New Frontier Group;
  • Rupesh Chatwani – Technology VC focused on Russia, Turkey, CEE and MENA;
  • Jure Mikuz – Managing director as RSG Capital;
  • Todor Breshkov – Managing Partner at LAUNCHub;
  • David Keresztes – Principal at Central Europe Trust
  • Stephane Gantchev– Partner at LAUNCHub;
  • Tatjana Zabasu – Partner at RSG Capital;
  • Riccardo Aimerito – Partner at ERA Kapital, business angel and post-doctoral lecturer on private equity;
  • Marius Ghenea – Business angel, board member of VentureConnect;
  • Michael Schuster – Business Development at Speedinvest;
  • David Beatty – Serial Entrepreneur from USA;
  • Michael Gold – Managing director at Crimson Capital;
  • Nicholas Barlett – Serial Entrepreneur from New Zealand;
  • Branko Drobnak – Angel Investor
  • Selma Prodanovic – Founders at Austrian Business Angel Association, Founder at Brainswork Consulting;
  • James Burnham – ex-EVCA;
  • Maxim Gurvits – Teres Capital;

We’re planning 48 hours of fun, business and presentations. Make sure you don’t miss it and sign up as a startup presenter today!


After having a blast in Sofia together with the amazing Bulgarian community, and a LOT of international friends , we continue the BkVF tour in exciting Tirana. A lot of already funded companies took the chance to pitch, and many others who pitched are now funded. In Tirana we are expecting big differences but also great similarities with the Sofia edition of BkVF. Click the image below to experience some of the VIBE in Sofia:

The difference in Tirana is the much earlier stage of the local community. It is a starry eyed community, so eager to harness as much as possible from the BkVF energy and set of a startup wave locally. We all know it is the right time and the right place to do it in Tirana, and we will have maximum impact. To do this, we are focusing on developing the local community leaders to be able to gain the traction with the international and local community, and sustain activities after the BkVF.

Part of that is meeting and coordinating all local startup and entrepreneurship organizations, into a support group of the BkVF but also to local entrepreneurs. The other part is educating entrepreneurs and coaching them to prepare for success at the BkVF Pitching competition. For this purpose we already did one Venture Academy, a full two-day coaching program, and another half-day information and coaching session. Big thanks to Maxim Gurvitz, Michael Gold, Darko Arsov, Nik Grezda and the local support of PROTIK, AIDA and USAID Ritje for these coaching sessions.

We are continuing the Venture Academy coaching with a half day session the day before the BkVF Tirana, for all companies that are selected to pitch at the event. So it is on the 13th of November, starting at 1pm and going into the early evening. Startups will do mock pitches to get feedback and advice from investors and mentors, and prepare best for the competition the next day.

We have a strong panel of international and regional heavyweight investors that will evaluate the business proposals by the startups:

  • Baybars Altuntas – President of the Business Angels Association of Turkey and board member of the EBAN;
  • Maciej Zak – Investment director for CEE at Intel Capital;
  • Jure Mikuz – Managing director as RSG Capital;
  • Dilyan Dimitrov – Partner at Eleven;
  • Vivjan Myrto – Partner at Boston Global Ventures;
  • Rumen Iliev – Partner at LAUCHub;
  • Stanislav Sirakov – Partner at LAUNCHub;
  • Maxim Gurvits – Partner at Teres Capital;
  • Tatjana Zabasu – Partner at RSG Capital;
  • Patrick Bosteels – Founder of Stage-Co;
  • Riccardo Aimerito – Partner at ERA Kapital, business angel and post-doctoral lecturer on private equity;
  • Marius Ghenea – Business angel, board member of VentureConnect;
  • Michael Schuster – Business Development at Speedinvest;

Applying for the Pitching Competition is an amazing opportunity for coaching at the Venture Academy on the 13th of November, getting an investment and expanding your business capacity. 8 of the best companies according to the jury will be invited to pitch at the European Venture Summit in Dusseldorf on 9-10 December. It is a top European gathering of startups and investors where 130 best startups pitch to about 100+ investors. The quality level is amazing both for the companies and the investors.

The time is short until the 23rd of October, so hurry up and apply for the Pitching Competition at BkVF Tirana!


We have some good news! We are delighted to confirm Mr. Baybars Altuntas’, business angel and a franchise king from Turkey, participation at BkVF Tirana. Baybars is an incredibly active business angel and entrepreneur, for those not familiar with his work. Some of his current engagements are:

We have some good news! We are delighted to confirm Mr. Baybars

  • Ambassador to Turkey & Balkan Countries at World Entrepreneurship Forum
  • Columnist at Para Dergisi – Weekly Money Magazine
  • Executive Committee Member at EBAN – The European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds, and other Early Stage Market
  • President at Links Angel
  • President at Business Angels Association – Turkey
  • Dragon at Dragons’ Den
  • Full Member at WBAA – World Business Angels Association
  • Founder at Deulcom International
  • Founder at Turkish Franchise Association


As the fist day of BkVF Sofia passed with an amazing VIBE and most of all FUN, just kicking into the second day, I’d like to remind you about our great partner event that takes place on the 23rd.

LeanCamp is an open, interactive, multi-track event, with tons of rooms and fast, 30-minute sessions on different cutting-edge practical topics. These revolve around Startups, Lean, Agile, Customer Development, UX, Design, real MVPs and metrics. Sessions can be talks, workshops, discussions, or other interactive formats.

The difference is that the sessions are planned by the participants that day, who have the power to drive the agenda based on their needs! The topics are suggested and delivered by the participants themselves, experienced local founders and practitioners, as well as international Lean thought-leaders, invited especially for the event.

How does this work? LeanCamp starts with an empty schedule. Leading up to LeanCamp everybody, participants and international guests alike, shares what sessions they’d like to host. People come on stage and explain their session for 30 seconds and choose a place and time from the empty slots. An hour later, we have a conference built for and by the participants!

LeanCamp has held for the second time in Sofia thanks to the massive support from our amazing team of LeanCamp Ambassadors from leading Bulgarian startup communities and VUZF University – the home of this year’s event.


Venture and equity capital have been hot topics in this region recently and Southeastern Europe is no stranger in innovation in technology, energy and science. With this in mind, Balkan Unlimited first kickstarted a long-term commitment to exploring investment and financing opportunities in this region with the Balkan Venture Forum in Skopje earlier this year. We are now ready for the next step in that commitment and we believe the region is as well, so we have organized the Balkan Venture Forum in Belgrade, which will take place at Belgrade’s Hotel Metropol Palace on November 22-23.

The Venue

The venue itself speaks volumes of the investment potential in this region. The recently renovated Hotel Metropol Palace is a famous downtown Belgrade landmark and has now reopened its doors to guests and gatherings like the Balkan Venture Forum. A combination of that old European feel so familiar to many and the modern, bustling, growing environment that Southeastern European cities are today, Hotel Metropol Palace presents the perfect backdrop to the Balkan Venture Forum and we thank them for welcoming us and our guests.


For special rates and terms for the guests of BkVF, please contact Hotel Metropol Palace or download the booking form here in PDF and email it directly to While we highly recommend staying at Hotel Metropol Palace during the Balkan Venture Forum, feel free to get in touch with us for other accommodation recommendations or assistance.

Why Attend?

The Balkan Venture Forum in Belgrade will gather over 40 investors and a total of over 70 expert speakers. Aside from two days of panels and discussions on the subjects of the current state of the market, global market demand, advice on developing ideas, projects and companies, and successful preparation for investment opportunities and implementation, guests and participants will also have the rare opportunity for one-on-one meetings, practical advice and solutions, not to mention good times to be had during the conference.

Please take a minute to view the programme and other details of the Balkan Venture Forum around our site and we hope to see you at Hotel Metropol Palace in Belgrade on November 22-23. Welcome to the Balkan Venture Forum!



The first edition of the Balkan Venture Forum in Skopje, proved that there is great excitement and need for a regional gathering of the top startups, experts and investors, joined together in a quest for progress through innovation. This allowed BkVF to grow into the largest Balkan’s innovation showcase and investment forum, which demonstrates the recent explosion of the regional startup eco-system and willingness to work together.

It was very rewarding to see in Skopje many of the community leaders, brilliant startup founders and movers and shakers from all countries in the region. People like Bogdan, Georgios, Stevica, Mirna, Milos, Maxim, Rumen, Jure, Blaz, Filip, Kristijan, Ivo and others are the ones that are making it happen for everybody. Even the ones who didn’t make it, but helped remotely, like Natasha and Roxanne have contributed immensely.

Not to forget the fantastic support from friends coming from further abroad such as the Pirate Summit crew (Manuel, Till, Maurice, Waldemar, Fabian) , Artur from PioneerFestival, Tomas from, Dr. Opper from Israel and many other cool people who contributed their know-how and fun-loving attitude to the event. Such energy contributed to the launch of the second BkVF only six months after the first.