Western Balkans, the unpolished technology gem of Europe, is ripe with innovations tackling the reduction of effects and triggers of climate change and associated challenges. The agri-food sector holds particular importance to the region so here is where startups have also profilerated, with solutions in precision agriculture and food waste reduction. Regional startups also put forward solutions for the circular economy and resource management, electric mobility, and smart cities.
Below, we compile a listicle of key climate tech startups from Western Balkans and introduce their solutions.
Climate tech startups from Western Balkans
Vertical: Circular economy, Alternative materials
Solution: Miret develops compostable and recyclable shoes from alternative materials that are renewable and non-toxic, such as hemp. They recently won in the sustainable manufacturing category at the Global Footwear Awards, GFA for their CLAY sneaker which is certified by OEKO-TEX® sustainability standard for textiles and leather.
Funding: Equity crowdfunding of $723.8K.
Name: Makabi Agritech
Team leader: Associate Professor Marko Vinceković
Solution: As a bridge between the private sector and academia, Makabi aims to transfer knowledge and technology to other companies. They are building microcapsules that offer plant protection and nutrition, as well as controlled release of bioactive components, reducing the use of chemicals.
Funding: The company was founded after winning Zagreb Innovation Centre’s Startup Factory pre-acceleration program’s final competition in 2018. They have also raised money from EIT Food, Innovation Prizes 2020, Bioeconomy Ventures and Accelerate 2030 Croatia.
Founders: Matija Zulj
Solution: Agrivi is a farm management software solution that gives farmers data and insights, from micro-climate and soil condition to machinery fleet monitoring, necessary to improve operations, crop performance, and costs,
Funding: To date, they raised $7.3 million from investors, including 1.15 million euro from the European Innovation Council (EIC) to build their AI-driven agronic adviser.
Founder: Olga Rajcic
Vertical: Green Mobility
Solution: Challenger is a mobile app that incentivizes users to walk, run or bike more by rewarding them with discounts to products and services at local businesses. As a result, the app is helping users reduce their carbon footprint from conventional forms of transportation.
Co-founder & CEO: Gorjan Jovanovski
Vertical: Green City
Solution: The web and mobile app visualizes and aggregates open air quality data, helping users understand the level of pollution of the air they are breathing at any given time.
Funding: They obtained a $22.600 grant.
Founder: Natalija Burgieva
Vertical: Food waste reduction, Agriculture
Solution: MamaOrgana is a social enterprise that produces organic fertilizers and substrates from food waste, which in turn help farmers and urban gardeners to reduce their environmental impact.
Funding: They received support and seed funding from CEED Hub.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Founder: Dino Hajrić
Vertical: Green city, Electric mobility
Solution: Beebee offers electric scooter rental via a mobile application. The service is available throughout Sarajevo.
Funding: The fleet was acquired with the help of the FBiH Environmental Protection Fund.
Program Director: Nikki
Vertical: Circular economy, Waste reduction
Solution: A community of creatives and environmentalists that join their forces to tackle plastic pollution and waste. Dyvo uses acrylic plastic waste and turns it into sustainable products
Founder: Nikica Marinkovic
Vertical: Alternative materials
Solution: WoolaPack produces natural alternatives to styrofoam boxes for transportation of temperature-sensitive products in the food industry. Their insulation material is made of a rough type of wool that farmers have a hard time selling to the fashion industry.
Founders: Petar Pejic
Solution: The team is developing solutions for the digitization of beehive inspection. The solution offers precise and real-time colony status information and AI-enabled suggestions for optimal beekeeping.
Funding: They raised a total of €115K, including €80K from Serbia’s Innovation Fund.
CEO: Nemanja Mikac
Vertical: Electric mobility, Energy storage
Solution: ElevenEs produces battery cells with their proprietary LFP technology (a type of lithium-ion battery using lithium iron phosphate, ed.note). The batteries are aimed to last longer and cost less.
Funding: They received an investment from EIT InnoEnergy in 2021, to build a battery gigafactory in Serbia.
Name: Strawberry Energy
Founders: Miloš Milisavljević
Vertical: Green city, Renewable energy
Solution: They build smart furniture for urban spaces, which features solar panels that create electrical energy and IoT technologies that help citizens connect and charge their devices.
Funding: They raised a total funding amounting to €568.8K.
Name: BioSense Institute
Director: Vladimir Crnojevic
Vertical: Natural resources, Agriculture
Solution: The R&D biotech institute is working with NASA on developing a monitoring system that will use satellite imagery to improve Serbian water and land resource utilization. They are also working on other projects within the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, including the development of flexible robots for intelligent automation of precision agriculture operations.
Funding: Grant funding including from EU Horizon 2020.
Founders: Filip Injac
Solution: The ATAR Sprayer is a system using AI that enables spraying machines to perform precise weed detection and spot spraying. In this way, they contribute to decreasing the use of chemicals on farming land.
Co-founder and CEO: Ivana Pajčin
Solution: They create eco-friendly, microbial-based products for sustainable and organic agriculture to help produce high-quality and healthy food, as well as improve soil quality.
Name: Typhoon HIL
Headquarters: Somerville, Massachusetts, with Serbian founder, team and offices
Vertical: Energy, renewable energy
Description: The company is building ultra-high fidelity Hardware in the Loop (HIL) solutions that can reduce the time to market and cost of testing, and improve the quality of electronics, microgrids, e-Mobility, EV powertrain software testing, and distribution control and protection systems.
Founders: A collaboration of the consulting company Creative Business Solutions (CBS) and USAID
Vertical: Green city, Sustainable consumption, Food
Solution: They are a media platform creating content with verified information and recommendations about food and personal products that promote a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.
Founders: Milos Kostic
Vertical: Electrical mobility
Solution: The Charge&GO platform and mobile app helps electric vehicle owners and charging point operators to manage their chargers and networks, set prices, limit usage, and review charging sessions, as well as manage charging processes, payment, and invoicing.
Funding: They received €80K from the Innovation Fund in Serbia.
Vertical: Food, Agriculture
Solution: A consumer electronics startup aiming to unify technology with botanics and help people grow their own indoor garden. They use tech such as machine learning and gamification to make urban gardening easy and fun, by helping users control and track progress through an app.
Funding: They received a $92.2K grant.
This list is not exhaustive. Should you know other climate tech startups from Western Balkans that need to be on this list, email us at [email protected].