IQbator has been designing venture stories with an edge for 20 years with the mission to create a better future in Slovenia and will continue to do so for at least 20 more.
The entrepreneurial company was founded in February of 2001 by Niko Slavnič, who is a respected and recognizable entrepreneur, angel investor, co-founder and consultant (in more than 70 companies and different organizations) and a lecturer at various business schools and speaker at conferences both in Slovenia, as well as around the world. IQbator is a Slovenian service company that deals with the innovation of niche products in the field of startups, tourism, and gastronomy.
The company’s headquarters are located in the heart of Ljubljana, on Miklošičeva 38. The perfect and strategic location, which allows the company to continue to build its connections with respectful clients, visibility and expansion of the company.
Major milestones for IQbator over the years
Leading publisher of city guides brought to Slovenia
In 2009, IQbator under Slavnić’s leadership brought the world renowned, leading publisher of local city guides and English language media publisher, InYourPocket, which has always been placed among the top recommended tourist media of the world’s leading media houses (La Repubblica, BBC, The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Le Monde, The Guardian, Sunday Times, Rough Guides, Lonely Planet, Let’s Go Europe …).
On the InYourPocket website they have generated over 19.5 million. In 9 years so far, they have presented and wrote about more than 100 destinations from Slovenia to visitors with regularly updated data for tourists and important data from history, cultural and architectural attractions, geographical features and other information).
A collection of cross-platform guides to Slovenian cities, Slovenia In Your Pocket provides relevant and up-to-date information on cities, local products and services, as well as travel advice and recommendations. Covering everything from arrival and accommodation to sightseeing, gastronomy, nightlife and events, we are a powerful showcase tool for business. You can find us in Ljubljana, Bled, Maribor, Velenje, Bohinj, Kranj, Kamnik, Piran, Portorož, Koper and many other cities and towns.
Over the years, InYourPocket, has promoted the largest international events in Slovenia as the media sponsor: Planica, Zlata Lisica, Vitranc Cup, Ljubljana Festival, Lent Festival, Seviqc Festival, Golden Drum, etc.
Our hearts beat for Slovenia
IQbator launched a successful publishing media house and brand, THE Slovenia in 2015, under which we release thematic maps and guides, best selling line of books The Slovenia Book and much more. A year later, THE Slovenia launched its own online boutique shop with the finest selection of gifts and products made in Slovenia from different categories includes e.g. innovative KickStarter products (such as the famous Goat Mug), handmade chocolates with tastes from all Slovenian regions, prestigious olive oil with Palmieri gold, Oscar Kogoj’s Perger 1757 products, children’s products, books by foreign authors who live in Slovenia, and books by the very own brand The Slovenia.
With many years of experience in the field of international tourist literature, The Slovenia wanted to contribute an independent and professional selection in Slovenia with a range of restaurants, which is multifaceted and intended for a wider audience, domestic and foreign visitors. In 2016, The Slovenia launched the first-ever national, independent and innovative selection of best restaurants in the country, The Slovenia Restaurant Awards, whose founding father Niko Slavnič has prepared an innovative approach to judging, where everyone can have their own opinion. This year the team is preparing the fifth edition of The Slovenia Restaurant Awards.
Wondering and sensing Slovenia
The Slovenia Wonders under IQbator’s leadership is a project based around the development of an integrated tourism project (ITP) that will present the best of Slovenia all in one convenient destination for both foreign tourists and locals. Visitors will literally be able to feel Slovenia through all five senses at a single location, as well as find additional information about visiting the country’s many wondrous sights in person – all of which are only a short distance away and can quickly be reached thanks to Slovenia’s small size.
The project further aims to connect local tourism providers and stakeholders in order to create jobs and significantly contribute to the increasingly important tourism sector. Visitors to the planned Experience Centres will also be able to directly purchase and book tourism products and services in cooperation with local providers. And additionally, within the framework of the project, a series of public competitions will also be conducted in order to determine the best tourism attractions in Slovenia and finally determine the Top Slovenia Wonder, all of which will be presented in a collection of books The Slovenia Book.
The project is being developed in cooperation with many partners, including the award-winning Magnet Design, which has taken on the task of creating mobile experience centres, where visitors will get to feel all of the wonders of Slovenia through their sense. In 2019, mobile experience centres will be opened in each of the country’s four tourism regions, namely: Alpine, Mediterranean & Karst, Thermal Pannonian, Ljubljana and Central Slovenia.
After the mobile exhibitions have concluded at the end of 2019, a permanent Slovenian Experience Centre will be established in the capital, Ljubljana, which will include all of the wonders of Slovenia from the four constituent regions.
Powerful vision for the company on a mission
IQbator operates under the principle of “Carpe diem”, with the everlasting emphasis on implementing the idea of “Carpe Slovenia”.
At IQbator they believe that with our vision and well-defined goals we can significantly contribute to the improvement of the opinion about Slovenia as well as the economic indicators of the country, the creation of new career opportunities and the development of infrastructure.
The vision of their company, IQbator, is to further develop tourism as an innovative industry that will, in step with modern trends, promote Slovenia as a green and modern tourist destination at the local level with a global reach and offer foreign guests/tourists innovative integrated tourism products, unique experience and modern digital innovation.
Reflecting the success of 20 years with IQbator’s founder Niko Slavnić
IQbator established itself in the domestic market supporting new innovative companies and developing their own projects – such as offering their own brand of products under The Slovenia and achieving international recognition as a media publisher, by regularly issuing domestic and foreign brands in the form of magazines, books, guides, thematic maps, newsletters and more.
Constant investment in the company and the search for new development niches in the field of innovative integrated tourism products and services gives them the motivation to build, innovate and evolve, not only as a company or brand, but also as people.
At IQbator you will always be greeted by a professionally trained team, who have fresh and innovative ideas, are in step with the modern and current unprecedented times, radiate momentum and youthful energy and are from different fields with different profiles, so that they cover the widest possible range of activities. The company’s employees or as Slavnić refers to them as “THE dream team”, is just the right mixture of passionate professionals, who have helped him build IQbator and bring it to the limelight in the last two decades.
With the celebration of the 20th anniversary, IQbator will donate 20.000 € of books to students who are currently studying at gastronomy and tourism schools in Slovenia.
About the CEO and founder – Niko Slavnić
An MBA professor, entrepreneur, angel investor, keynote speaker, founding father of the only national and independent selection of Slovenian restaurants and above all a creative soul who is always ready for new challenges to make ideas fly.
Niko Slavnić, has been in business for the last 30 years, helping entrepreneurs, managers and companies to unlock creative potential through scaling the business growth. Slavnić’s resume is one of the most impressive ones, his knowledge of marketing and other fields is truly enviable. He graduated from prestigious programs at Harvard Business School, University of Amsterdam, CEEMAN’s International Management Teachers Academy and University of Ljubljana.
In 2001, he founded IQbator, the first private business incubator in the SEE region dedicated to building and accelerating startups with inspiration, innovation and investment. The same year he wrote the first book about Venture Capital in the SEE region “Tvegani kapital: Si upate tvegati?”. His latest bestseller “The Slovenia Book” has been published in 6th edition with more than 17.000 copies sold worldwide.
Slavnić as an active board member of Business Angels of Slovenia and an active Business Angel investor his investments have included InYourPocket city guides, Optiprint, Everet Group, The Slovenia, Sosed, VentureLab, E-Hub, AP&Partners, Seniorji, Lagos, Teletip AG, etc.
As keynote speaker and MBA professor he regularly shares his extensive knowledge and experience in 19 countries, such as: Albania, Austria, Bosnia, China, Croatia, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Russia, Spain, Serbia, Turkey, UK and Ukraine.
His client list include business schools (ESSCA – École Supérieure des Sciences Commerciales d’Angers, IEDC – Bled School of Management, RISEBA etc.), startup ecosystems (Seedcamp, Startup Bootcamp, Startup Slovenia, Ljubljana Technology Park, ABC Accelerator, BIC, CRANE, BAS, EBAN) as well as global corporations (AstraZeneca, Lidl, Telekom Slovenije, Lek, Petrol, Atlantic etc.). Furthermore, he is an advisor to different companies and individuals and looks at consulting as an investment, which means Slavnić has to recoup the return in more areas for more effort. His mixture of unique business practices and more theoretical knowledge proved itself particularly useful in his consulting session to more than 60 dynamic companies in the SEE region and also to the Slovenian Parliament. His startup mentoring experience that started in 1999 and is counted in thousands of startups and founders.
His most recent career move took him to San Francisco’s very own Silicon Valley, where he took over the position of Chief Marketing and Growth Officer at HTEC Group.