Members of the jury

W. Robert Kohorst
United States Ambassador to Croatia

Ambassador W. Robert Kohorst arrived in Croatia on January 10, 2018 to take up duties as the United States Ambassador to Croatia.

Ambassador Kohorst was President and founder of Everest Properties in Pasadena, California since 1991 and is a prominent American businessman with an expertise in law, real estate and finance. In addition to his expertise in real estate, Mr. Kohorst is known for his business acumen, management skills and broad experience in finance. He has been recognized for his contributions to public service organizations and education as Director and past Chairman of the Young Presidents’ Organization (San Gabriel Valley Chapter), Regent of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, Trustee of La Salle High School in Pasadena, California and Director and past President of the San Gabriel Valley Council, Boy Scouts of America.

Previously, Mr. Kohorst was President, RK Holdings, Inc., Los Angeles, California (1990-1991), President, Private Placement Group for Public Storage, Inc., Glendale, California (1984-1990), Attorney and Partner, Albert & Ellis, Los Angeles, California (1982-1984), Attorney, Hufstedler, Miller, Carlson & Beardsley, Los Angeles, California (1979-1982) and Law Clerk, Judge Albert Engel, U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1978-1979). He has served on numerous private and public boards.

Mr. Kohorst earned a B.S. from the University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio in 1975 and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1978. He has received numerous awards for his distinguished academic achievements and his public service efforts in California. Mr. Kohorst and his wife, Ms. Shelley Allen, have two sons, Kevin and Matt.

Aleš Pustovrh
Co-founder and program manager – ABC Accelerator

Aleš Pustovrh (PhD) is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana. He is involved in research, educational and support activities, mostly in economics and entrepreneurship departments. He is also the co-founder and program manager at ABC accelerator and owns a market research company that is involved in research and consulting to entrepreneurs as well as collaboration with entrepreneurship support institutions. In the past, he worked as a researcher of innovation, innovation policies and innovation activities in 8 countries of the Adriatic region.

Branko Drobnak
Slovenia Business Angels

Branko Drobnak cooperated in more then 15 start up companies as an investor. He is the owner of Arima and a member of the Management Board of Alta Group d.d. He has a lifetime of experience with setting up and managing companies. He was the CEO of Poteza d.d. between 2003 and 2011 and served as a member of Supervisory boards of numerous companies in the Southeast European region. He is a Co-founder and the motor of the Business Angels Club of Slovenia where he also serves as the President. He also serves as a mentor in CEED Slovenia.

Vedran Blagus
Investment Manager in South Central Ventures

Vedran is an Investment Manager in South Central Ventures (SCV), a venture capital fund where he is working on deals sourcing, screening and advising portfolio companies.
He refined his knowledge through experience working for Big 4 accounting companies as a management consultant on a multitude of projects for the Big 4 within the region. His focus and specialities within management consulting are market strategy and expansion and process optimization.

Ivana Čuljak
COO of Invento Capital Partners

Ivana is COO of Invento Capital Partners, innovation fund and Croatian HUB supported by EIT InnoEnergy. She has over than 10 years of experience in creation and implementation of innovation support measures for SMEs, start-up incubation, coaching and mentoring. As a manager of Technology Park Zagreb she was mentoring more than 90 innovative start-ups on a daily basis and was responsible for development of the biggest incubator for high technologies in Zagreb, Croatia. Worked on the implementation of more than 100 innovation projects in the Croatian Agency for Small Business, Innovation and Investment (HAMAG – BICRO).

Nina Dremelj
CEO at AlpVent AG Venture Capital Fund CEO at AlpVent GmbH Startup Sales Office

Nina Dremelj graduated from the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana and gained a science master’s degree in European Policy Analysis from the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana. Currently she works at Alpvent GmbH.
AlpVent AG is a Swiss investment company that invest in highly promising start-up businesses. As a result of 25 years of entrepreneurial experience we understand the needs of entrepreneurs extremely well. By offering our investment capital and management consulting services to our start-ups we do our best to provide so called smart money support.
Prior to working with AlpVent and Business Angels of Slovenia, she worked for some Slovenian startups, also for one international.