StartupAwards is FutureNow

After 7 years, Startup Awards has now merged to become FutureNow – see you on October 24th!


For the first time this year, there will be a special Startup Stage at the FutureNow Conference on October 24th dedicated solely to all things startup related. Lightning talks with top VC investors, business leaders and a pitching competition of the top 12 competition startups + GRAND FINALE. See the full program here.


Only 24 startups will make the cut to our intense 3 day accelerator taking place on October 19-21 at X-Bionic Sphere, Slovakia. Access to top-notch mentors from the region, a world class recreational facility and the semi-finals before the FutureNow Conference final pitch, all in one place.


Who will be the winning startup from Central Europe to receive a 20 000,- € cash prize? Come to the conference on October 24th to find out who will take the ‘Oscar’ for the best early-stage startups with global potential home. Our aim is to showcase the most innovative companies in the region.

Entrepreneurs, compete!

The FutureNow startup competition, also known as Startup Awards is putting on its 8th edition this year. Considered by many as the “Oscars” for the best early-stage startups with global potential in Slovakia, we don’t stop there. This year, we are expanding to Central Europe and want you to join us!

Show us that you and your product have what it takes to leave a positive impact in the world through your innovative, digital approach. Apply by September 14th for a chance to win 20K EUR, get access to our bootcamp and have the experience of a lifetime.

Building a Community

After 8 years of successfully building a vibrant innovation and startup community in Slovakia, we are expanding beyond the borders! Thanks to the physical network of co-working spaces & one-stop shops for all things startup related ran by HubHub, one of FutureNow’s organizers, located all over Central Europe we have unprecedented access to local communities that we aim to connect all under one roof.

How it works

Eligible startups may apply by Friday September 14th, 2018. From the overall applicant pool, 24 startups will be selected to proceed to the FutureNow Bootcamp taking place from October 19th – 21st in X-Bionic Sphere, Slovakia. An intense 3-day accelerator guaranteeing quality sessions with various mentors including CEOs, venture capitalists and angel investors. From the 24 bootcamp startups, 12 will get the chance to present at the FutureNow Startup Stage on 24th October. That same day, 6 selected finalists will get to present on the Main Stage in the evening and claim the 20k € prize.

Why should you apply?

● To win a € 20K cash prize to develop your business
● For a chance to win a special $ 35K US Connections prize for the best Slovak Startup in the competition from our partner, the Slovak American Foundation
● To present your company in front of thousands of influential people
● To find an investor like our alumni who have raised over € 34 M so far
● To get exposure in local and foreign media
● To forge new collaborations and partnerships at the FutureNow Bootcamp

Who can apply?

● Early stage companies – in existence no more than 5 years
● Investment cap – no more than 500K EUR initial external investment
● “CEE” – companies must either be based and operational in these countries or have at least one founder from these countries: Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Albania, Macedonia

3 day intense bootcamp giving our competition startups unprecedented access to top business mentors in the region

How does the bootcamp work?

The Bootcamp will take place from October 19th to 21st at the X-Bionic Sphere Resort, a truly stunning location. We will use the amenities not only for mentoring sessions and presentations, but also to surprise you with some fun sport activities.



The stunning venue X-Bionic Sphere resort was established on the basis of creating exceptional conditions for anyone who likes to engage in sports, but also enjoys quality relaxation, gastronomy and meaningful leisure time. A truly exceptional place where extraordinary ideas are born and new partnerships are closed.

Friday, 19th October

The bootcamp is about entrepreneurs sharing knowledge. We will start at noon on Friday with a short introduction followed by round of a fun, informal networking sessions to last through out the evening. Turns out that entrepreneurs face very similar problems when starting a business and its very helpful if they can reach out to their peers for advice.


Saturday, 20th October

Saturday will start with a round of intense group mentoring sessions. We will split founders into several mentoring groups based on market verticals and assign appropriate mentors to each group. Startups will pitch and receive immediate feedback. Group sessions focus on pitch structuring and message delivery. This often seems mundane to technical founders, but the product still needs to be marketed well in order to succeed. Thus, it is very important for startups to concisely and effectively communicate what their business and product is all about.

The afternoon is reserved for 1:1 mentoring sessions. Each founder is free to choose from our roster of mentors packed with representatives of top VC funds, corporate leaders and experienced entrepreneurs. These sessions will be focused mainly on fine-tuning the value proposition, exploring business model possibilities and devising go-to-market strategies.

Sunday, 21st October

D-Day for all those looking to get to the grand finale! All 24 startups will be pitching throughout the day, with the jury selecting the top 12 startups at the end. These 12 companies will then be pitching their company or product on the StartupStage during the FutureNow Conference with the aim of persuade our international jury that they are the ones who have what it takes to make a difference. After the intense 3 day bootcamp and facing an audience of 1 500 startup and tech enthusiasts, the 20K prize for the winning startup will be well earned.


What's in it for you?

With our startup competition, we bridge the gap between startups and corporates looking for innovative solutions. Our partners are constantly re-designing internal processes to absorb external innovation and we are grateful to be a part of it. We love to see startups find their first customers at our Bootcamp.

We have designed the Bootcamp to be the perfect place to kick off your fundraising efforts. Fundraising is hard. One has to know the right investors, send around pitch decks and hope for that first meeting. We are thrilled to feature a significant number of early-stage investors with an interest in Central Europe at our Bootcamp. Mentors features representatives from the likes of Credo Ventures, DayOne Capital, Neulogy Ventures, SpeedInvest and many others. To date, our alumni had raise funding of 34 million Euro and counting. We must be doing something right.