For a fair portion of my business life, I have been connected with Silicon Valley as a major think-tank of tech and business minds. I also founded a company there in 2016 — ABC Silicon Valley, dedicated to advanced start-ups from all over the world that would like to expand their operations to that area. 2018, however, marked my exit from ABC Accelerator to focus on Eligma − the biggest start-up story I have ever been part of. This story could never succeed without standing on the shoulders of entrepreneurial giants worldwide. Consequently, my ties to the US and especially Silicon Valley became even stronger as major input providers come from that area. My tour last week was dedicated to visiting at least some of them as well as to making new connections. Most of the business and partner searching activity would not have been possible without the nucleus of our operations in the US − Eligma advisor and ambassador Ana Lukner Roljic, tireless at making Eligma an international success. Here are a few highlights of this six-meetings-a-day week:
Herman Gyr and Lisa Friedman
Eligma’s advisor Herman Gyr has 25 years of experience in shaping progressive corporate environments through innovation. Gyr and his wife Lisa Friedman are co-founders of the Enterprise Development Group, whose solutions have attracted clients such as Apple, BBC, Stanford University, Intel, Logitech and many others. The focus of the meeting with Herman and Lisa was on Eligma’s future path in the US, especially in terms of the legal and market requirements.
Richard and Barbara Pivnicka, and the Band of Angels
As Honorary Consuls of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic respectively, Richard and Barbara Pivnicka are amongst those who have made trade and commerce between the US and European continents their life’s mission. Richard Pivnicka is a patent inventor and highly active in the start-up and VC domains; he founded CzechTech, an organization connecting Czech and Silicon Valley businesses. Barbara Pivnicka is a renowned business executive and a global thought leader. She is President and CEO of the San Francisco Global Trade Council. The meeting with Richard and Barbara was dedicated to the prospects of Eligma venturing beyond the national and continental borders.
The Pivnickas are both members of the Band of Angels − Silicon Valley’s start-up funding organization with a tradition spanning over almost a quarter of a decade. I presented Eligma to its Blockchain Special Interest Group, which evolved into an intense two-hour meeting. I was truly honored by the amount of interest and feedback.
Sitting down with one of the finest minds in the tech domain today is an incredible experience. Raskar is an Associate Professor at MIT and head of the MIT Media Lab’s Camera Culture research group. He holds more than 75 patents and numerous awards. He has not only profoundly influenced the technical, but also the philosophical domain with his innovative contributions to academic learning. The main aim of meeting with Raskar was to discuss the potential of creating an MIT research group assisting with the development of the algorithm and AI of the Eligma platform.
A weekend with champions: Anton Marinovich, Tony Perkins and Andrej Kiska Jr.
Friday and Saturday were just as busy as the rest of the week, and the meetings included several eminent figures that hardly need an introduction in the business world. The first one is Anton Marinovich, an international expert in start-ups and SaaS sales. He started his career working on the first version of the Google Shopping platform, and evolved into a highly accomplished sales executive excelling at start-up sales performance, currently at ACELR8.
Tony Perkins is world-famous as founder and editor of the Alchemist and Cryptonite exclusive investor and expert communities. Dedicated to the advancement of blockchain, Cryptonite is one of the most important communities of its kind on a global scale. With his amazing insight and vision, Tony Perkins is at its very centre, and a meeting with him inevitably provides you with a fresh insight into the industry. Eligma is no exception!
The weekend was rounded off by a meeting with Andrej Kiska Jr. His father, Andrej Kiska Sr., is President of Slovakia and was able to try out Elipay a few months ago in Ljubljana. However, Andrej Kiska Jr. Is a well-known economic figure in his own right. Dedicated to furthering global business potential, he is a partner in Credo Ventures, supporting start-ups from Central Europe and known for successfully connecting them with the US market.
I can confidently denote this tour as a highly successful one. I would once again like to express my heartfelt thanks to Ana and to all of those who I have been able to meet with. Thank you for showing enthusiasm about Eligma as a project that, although being in its early stage, has already shown a lot of potential to evolve into a business force that can be reckoned with in the months and years to come, with its community growing on a daily basis.
Dejan Roljič, CEO