List of my past accomplishments

I publicly track list of my past accomplishments. Here you can read the blog post explaining why it is good to have a list of your past accomplishments.

  • I’ve written 1.200+ A4 pages here at the Agile and Lean Life Blog (that equals to more than 5 books).
  • For more than six years, I was successfully running my own consulting company Venturelab Ltd.
    • I’ve lectured at more than 600 events across Central and Eastern Europe. Here you can find some interesting slides from some of my lectures.
    • I’ve mentored over 300 startups.
    • I advised around 70 companies.
    • I read over 700 business plans and business models. In addition to that, my team and I have written around 50 business plans for different companies before agile and lean startup methodologies became popular. We also did accounting, business finance and provided consulting services for portfolio companies.
  • I helped establish and am running two startup accelerators with a 4,800,000 € public-private fundStart:up Geek House Startup Accelerator (75,000 EUR convertible loans) and Go:Global Slovenia Startup Accelerator (200,000 EUR public investment + 40,000 EUR private investment).
  • Co-organizing one of the biggest two-day Central Eastern European conferences for entrepreneurs, PODIM. By organizing the big regional conference PODIM, I had the chance of getting to know “lean startup” authorities such as Ash Maurya, Gregory Bernarda and other great investors, entrepreneurs and lecturers like Mark Johnson, founder of Zite, Paddy Cosgrave – Websummit, Andrea Spiegel – Forbes, Oren Michels – Mashery, Robert Fitzpatrick – Founder Centric, Shira Abel – Hunter & Bard, Alistair Teare – Deloitte Central Europe CEO, Gregory Bernarda – Strategyzer, Tristan Pollock – Storefront, Gina Waldhorn – Evol8tion, Mike Edelhart – Social Starts, Tristan Harris – Google, and many others.
Podim Conference

Me and the team at one of the biggest CEE conferences for startups

  • Established the first franchised co-working space for startups at 7 locations in Slovenia – 7 x 200 m2 called Start:up Geek House Co-working spaces.
  • I’m co-managing the Start:up Slovenia Initiative. Every year, we organize more than 300 events all across the country and in the region. You can see the latest infographics here.
  • I was in the management board of the biggest technology park in Slovenia for three years, managing 66,000 m2 of offices and programs for incubated companies.
  • I helped build platforms (webpages, events, local programs) for encouraging entrepreneurship on the municipal and regional level, like Startup Alpe-Adria, Startup Slovenia, Startup Maribor and 5 other cities.
  • Almost every year, I give explanations about startups on national television or for other television or radio stations.
  • I organized several other smaller regional or national projects for startups:
    • Startup Weekend
    • Mini Seedcamp Ljubljana
    • Wayra CEE
    • 100% Startup Conference
    • Start:up of the Year – National competition
    • Master of Startups – Lean startup school
    • Investment readiness program in which 100+ startups participated in a few years
  • I’m also proud of all my volunteering experiences:
    • Every year, I mentor someone from the Ypsilon Institute.
    • I donate money as a “godfather” to a child from a poor family.
    • I advised and donated money to the Odtiz Institute, the purpose of which is to create opportunities for an active life of individuals with a disability as well as for their personal, social and career development.
  • I regularly advised the Slovenian government on business and startup environment development. On one of such a projects, I also work with the European Commissioner Violeta Bulc.
  • I helped film the Slovenian Dragon’s Den TV show, filmed based on the Dragon’s Den license. The TV show unfortunately ran only for one season.
  • I also helped establish the first business angel network in Croatia, Serbia and Macedonia. I was even in the national business newspaper in Macedonia. I worked in Skopje for several weeks to help establish an investor network at the Innovation center financed by US AID.
In Macedonian Newspaper

In a foreign newspaper; it’s cool because I can’t read Cyrillic.

  • As a general manager, I established the first and biggest angel network in Slovenia called Business angels of Slovenia with 40+ investors and when I was running it, we made several investments.
  • When I worked at the business angel network, I also collaborated with the 40 mio EUR Poteza Venture Capital Fund and was one of their coworkers.
  • As a business angel network, we were involved in Ready for Equity and I became a Ready for Equity Certified Trainer. It was part of the Leonardo da Vinci EU project.
  • I participated in several other EU projects like Inno-Deal, Accelmed and Easy Cross Border Investments.
  • I wrote 1,500+ pages about startup and personal development on my first blog www.BlazKos.com (unfortunately in the Slovenian language). The blog became one of the most popular business blogs in the country.
  • I’ve written for almost all Slovenian business newspapers and magazines. And in Slovenia, we have the most newspapers per capita.
  • I was also the co-author of one scientific article.
    • Inspiring Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Comparing and Contrasting the Entrepreneurial Environment Surrounding the University of Cambridge, UK and the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. University of Ljubljana, Slovenia and University of Cambridge, UK. 2006.
  • I’ve written and edited several eBooks.
    • 21 Harsh Life Secrets No One Ever Told You
    • Everything about Business Angels (Handbook) – only in the Slovenian language, sorry
    • You should become an entrepreneur (Handbook) – only in the Slovenian language, sorry
    • From an idea to a successful business (Handbook) – only in the Slovenian language, sorry
Free eBook - 21 Harsh Life Secrets No One Ever Told You

My e-book you must read! Click on the photo to download it.

  • I co-founded and helped build a network of 150 most talented and socially proactive representatives of Generation Y in the region, called Ypsilon Institute.
  • For five years, I organized the first and biggest conference specializing for angel investing and venture capital in the region called (don’t) SKIP.
  • I had my own TV talk show interviewing successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople for two years. After the talk show, informal networking events took place as well. I had around 30 broadcasts and informal events organized in two years. The show was called Nights for the Innovative and Enterprising (VIP in Slovene).
  • With one of the first technology startup entrepreneurs in the CEE region, we organized the first startup school in the region for IP based high-growth potential companies (Sunsmission Institute).
  • I helped establish the university incubator at the biggest university in Slovenia. It was one of the first incubators in Slovenia with 600m2 and several projects, like best business idea/plan competition, networking events etc.
  • My first successful business project was importing recycled cartridges and ink kits from Spain and China. The company was called MyRefill. My friend and I started the business and after I got sucked into the startup world, he took over the business. We also attracted the first angel investor, but the deal didn’t go through because the cofounder and I decided to take different paths. No strong team, no monies.
Talking on the national television

Talking on the national television

  • With a team of students, we won the marketing and sales plan competition for entering Balkan markets for one of the biggest white-goods reseller in the region called Gorenje. The competition was organized by the TOP students Institute of the Faculty of Economics and the Faculty of Law Ljubljana.
  • After winning the marketing and sales plan competition, we took over the organization of the challenges and took it to the next level. The project was called Student Business Challenge. We attracted blue-chip companies like Microsoft to collaborate in the project.
  • With a team of students, we won best Environmental scanning and industry analysis (for a technological company called Tenzor) that was organized by the Faculty of Economics.
  • I initiated and ran Atlantida Institute, an institute for encouraging entrepreneurship among students. It was an association of young entrepreneurs. With my cofounders, we organized several educational and networking events for young talented business people. That’s how I got addicted to startup entrepreneurship.
  • In high school, I initiated and was president of the Arti Institute. We organized several events to encourage cultural and artistic activity among young people. I was on national television and in several newspapers for the first time (I was 18 years old).
  • I was president of one of the best high schools in my country for two years. The first year, I barely won and the second year I won with a big majority of votes (75 %+). As the high school president, I organized many different events, from debate competitions to school parties.
  • I was the best pupil in elementary school with straight As.
  • I was administrating computers at elementary school and building websites in the 1990s. I used to be a geek until high school began. Then my formal education went a little bit south.
My First Office

In my first office at age 20

Other non-business things I’m proud of:

  • As a kid, I used to be extremely fat and I got rid of around 20 kg of fat. Now I’m quite OK, but I still have a few kilos to lose ;)
  • I was vegetarian for 7 years, vegan for 2 years and on a raw diet for 1 year.
  • I walked around Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, in one day (40 km). I didn’t go crazy, it’s an organized activity every year.
  • I climbed 11 mountains in the Alps higher than 2000m in a single summer. I’m a little bit afraid of heights and cliffs but I managed to master my fear.
    • Kladivo (2094m)
    • Debela pec (2014m)
    • Hochobir (2139m)
    • Triglav (2864m)
    • Raduha (2062m)
    • Stol (2236m)
    • Storzic (2132m)
    • Petzen (2125m)
    • Ledinski vrh (2108m)
    • Begunjscica (2060m)
    • Visevnik (2050m)
Breakfast On Top Of The Mountain

Having breakfast on top of the Mountain

  • I traveled to 40+ countries. I visited many of these countries several times.
    • Algeria
    • Austria
    • Bosnia and Herzegovina
    • Bulgaria
    • Croatia
    • Cyprus
    • Czech Republic
    • France
    • Germany
    • Greece
    • Hungary
    • Indonesia
    • Ireland
    • Israel
    • Italy
    • Laos
    • Luxembourg
    • Macedonia
    • Malaysia
    • Mexico
    • Montenegro
    • Netherlands
    • Poland
    • Portugal
    • Qatar
    • Romania
    • Serbia
    • Singapore
    • Slovakia
    • Spain
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • Thailand
    • Tunisia
    • Turkey
    • Ukraine
    • United Kingdom
    • United States
    • Vatican City
    • Vietnam
Berlin

One of the 40+ countries I traveled to.

  • I bought and owned more than a 1,000 books. I always wanted to have my own library. After getting a Kindle, I donated most of the books and sold a few.

List of my failed and partly failed projects

Here’s a list of my failed projects as well. The projects weren’t successful, but I made sure to learn a lot from every single failure. You can also read my blog post on what I’ve learned from my biggest failures.

  • With a friend, we started an e-commerce business with food supplements called SimplFit. We imported the selected products, build a website on Shopify and started selling. But there was so much administrative hustle (regulation) and we were late to the market as well as busy with other projects, so we decided to stop and close the shop. Lesson: Everything takes much longer and is a much bigger investment than you think, money- and time-wise.
  • I raised my own 6,000,000 € seed VC fund with a few business angels. It was just before the financial crisis and LPs had problems meeting their commitments. Here, you can see the fundraising materials if you’re interested. Lesson: Markets always win, never go against a market.
  • When the Seedcamp accelerator began in Europe in 2008, I wanted to do a copy-cat in the region. The project was called iTime – investing in telecommunications, internet, media and entertainment. I got 10 investors to commit to invest into the winners of the pre-selection process, but the investments didn’t happen at the end. So the project was adjusted to being just an accelerator without investments. Lesson: You shouldn’t be on the market too early.
  • With three of my friends, we cofounded a web design agency called Core Solutions. We finished a few successful projects but we soon somehow lost interest and let the company go. Lesson: You want full commitment from all partners as well as yourself.
  • Alumni Gymnasium Bezigrad – It was supposed to be the alumni club of one of the most elite high schools in my country. After organizing several events, it failed big time with no real interest. Lesson: Wrong assumptions are the mother of all fuckups.
  • Freya – it was the first incognito browser way before there was the incognito option in most popular browsers today. We developed a product with a team but never got it to market, because the best target users were in the porn industry and no one felt comfortable with that. Lesson: Never go against your values, no matter how much money there is to be made.
  • I was one of the most successful salesman in one of the MLM networks for a year. Then the network went bankrupt (like most new MLMs do) which was quite a traumatic experience, but a valuable lesson. Lesson: You want to have control.