Investments in Serbian startup development continue to soar

“By the end of 2024, 10 million euros will have been invested in the development of startup ecosystems in Serbia, and the goal is to increase the number of startups to 700 from the current 200-300,” said Mladjan Stojanovic, representative of the National Innovation Fund.

Stojanovic, a coordinator of the Katapult-Akcelerator programme designed to help startups that aims to provide young companies with three-month mentoring and connect them to investors, says he has received 150 applications. Of these, 19 have been selected and a contract will be signed with them on March 28. Most of them involve firms dealing with blockchain and artificial intelligence.

One of the winning startups is working on an app that will allow students to find a private professor and book a class with them in just a few clicks, and another will help companies study customer behaviour. According to Stojanovic, the 19 winning startups will receive grants ranging from €20,000 to €50,000, depending on the stage they’re at.

The winners also include a startup that runs an online auto parts store, as well as one that deals with urban gardening by creating a network of smart, automated gardens and advanced algorithms for growing plants. Stojanovic added that Serbia is a small market, which is why the programmes are not thematic and are open to all fields of science and technology.

“This time we had the largest number of startups from the blockchain sector. The Serbian startup ecosystem is known for blockchain. There is also artificial intelligence. Most applications came from software development starts, while some deal in both hardware and software. For instance, there is a startup that has invented bifocal glasses based on artificial intelligence that do not cause eye fatigue in users,” he said.

Among the most important startups is the one that develops protocols for small cryptocurrencies, which he said includes software code that is used to validate cryptocurrency exchange transactions. Among the 19 winners is also a startup that integrates all the data generated from online sales, as well as one that is developing an international platform for mortgages and real estate. The NeuroBlast project, a new multi-sensory post-rehabilitation device for continuous use in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, will also get financial support.

“The next call for the submission of applications for the Katapult programme will be in June and our plan is to have two calls a year,” he said.

(Euronews, 20.03.2022)




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