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View of houses and cars around a square in Bratislava

36 hours in Bratislava

Here’s the shorter version: great hospitality, fantastic food. Amazing community encouraging startups. It was intensive and memorable.

For the intrigued, here’s the longer story.

I last visited Bratislava back in 2005. My November trip was the first time I’ve travelled there for work and what a fascinating trip it was.

I’ve been working with Andrej Nagy. He’s at university in Worcester and he came up with a business idea that was really cool and could bring an end to ticket touts. Earlier this year, I was helping him with thinking around his proposition, figuring out who his customer was and how this idea could turn into an actual business. Then we put an amazing pitch deck together which he’s been sending out to venture capitalists.

So it was really exciting when AceON saw potential in his idea and got back to him. AceON is an accelerator programme that works with businesses across Europe. Andrej ‘s idea was one of eighty considered and was one of the final 4 taken forward.  Which was how we ended up travelling to Bratislava for boot camp full of surprises.

Aeroplane wing, blue sky and clouds

36 hours….

AceON boot camp was a day and a half of stunning presentations and insights from the best and most brilliant business minds in Europe. One advises the EU on Blockchain technologies. Just imagine how exciting it is to be among the 4 teams (from UK, Turkey, Norway and Slovakia) talking with these experts about how to turn ideas into businesses and whether they were investible.

What did they cover? On the first day, key metrics, marketing, tech and the finances required for a start-up. There was a brill session with lawyers about how to protect your business and avoid lawyers.

Then we had 20 minutes to freshen up at the hotel before dinner at a beer house. I’m not a big fan of beer so I tried the local spirit, Borovička. It’s a bit like gin but I left it at one because we were back the next morning for sessions on product development, IP, validation, MVP and customer acquisition.

Richard Liverman stands by a tall stainless steel dispenser. He holds a beer glass.

I learnt a huge amount about investment during the 36 hours and it was wonderful to see my client flourish.

36 hours later…

Andrej got another email to say that he’s been accepted for a further two months of support for building Upfan which is great news. He’s 23 and he’s got a great idea on how to remove ticket touting. Seeing his determination and ability and how he’s grown as we’ve worked together has been amazing. 

We need young people and businesses starting up. We need more of this.

Further reading:

View across a bridge in Bratislava