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Photo: Aljaž Čad

The new Silicon Valley in Slovakia

Miroslav Trnka, Peter Paško and Rudolf Hruby are names unknown to our readers. But when hearing the name ESET, most respondents will reply unanimously that this is an antivirus program. Three Slovak innovators founded the company in 1992 at the beginning of the era of digitization. The company is considered to be the pioneers of the Slovak IT industry, which has achieved worldwide recognition.

Apart from Eset, a number of high-tech IT and other companies operate in Bratislava. Among the most famous of these are Sygic, which produces programs and geolocation systems for navigation. In the congress industry, the most famous company is Slido, which changed the way of interaction between participants at events. The Pixel Federation, which deals with computer games, is famous worldwide.

Among the fast-growing companies is the start-up company called Jump Soft. The company is one of 107 companies from Bratislava, which ranked on the Inc. Magazine ranking of the fastest growing companies in Europe. In Europe only two cities, Stockholm and London, are leading Bratislava by the number of companies.

This rapid technological development was also noticed by the charismatic Elon Musk, who was supposed to test his Hyperloo project, which is a project for developing the technology of ultra fast transport, in Bratislava. The Slovak government is supposed to sign an agreement on the start of the project soon.

There are many reasons for the rapid development in Slovakia. In first place it is the technical and engineering skills and knowledge of the young Slovaks. The Slovak University of Technology educates new talents every year. Their knowledge can match the needs of modern start-ups as well as multinationals worldwide. However, their hourly rates are much lower than in competitive locations across Europe.

Another important element is the geographical position of Bratislava in the heart of Europe, which together with the attractiveness of the Vienna-Bratislava-Budapest mega-region represents a big plus. The third factor, however, is a supportive environment that includes seed companies and seed starters such as Clusterhaus, The Connect and Impact Hub. In addition, Bratislava also has sufficient capital to help the businesses continue. Last but not least, the quality of living, which is in Slovakia at a very high level, also plays a role. Part of the scene are co-working spaces that grow like mushrooms after the rain. It seems that there is still plenty of room for friendly socializing in the spectacular competition scene. This also makes the Slovak start-up scene special and at least romantic. This is confirmed by the visit of the interesting RubixLab accelerator, which illustrates the potential, power and positive energy of the Slovak start-up scene.

These are the reasons which could make you believe that Slovakia has a real chance of becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe, despite the fact that almost half of the economy today depends on the automotive industry. In addition to this, initiatives for the digitization of the country and, in general, a positive innovation climate contributed to Slovakia overtaking a number of countries that were previously way in front of it.

Mega R & D Campus of Eset

Among the most ambitious plans in the Slovak capital is the plan of Eset, which bought a giant plot of land at the site of the former hospital on Patronka Street to the west of Bratislava. This location will become the company’s headquarters and a giant, ultramodern IT incubator with laboratories will be built there. If the plans are realized, Bratislava will be richer for an exceptional accelerator and an object that will also be a surplus in the architectural sense.