HomeAustria-Startups5 reasons why you should join CESA Grand Finale this Thursday in...

5 reasons why you should join CESA Grand Finale this Thursday in Ljubljana

The Central European Startup Awards aka CESA is the CEE region’s biggest no-pitch, no-conference startups festival, part of the Global Startup Awards network, with the aim to highlight and showcase the biggest innovators in the Central and Eastern European startup ecosystem annually.

This year’s edition, organized for the third time, is just about going to end this Thursday (1st December), with the regional final aka Grand Finale in Ljubljana, Slovenia, by ABC-Accelerator.

From thousands of nominations, narrowed down to 700 unique applicants, winners in 12 categories first got announced in each participating country at the National Finals by our amazing Country Partners in Poland (Starter), Czech Republic (Start it up!), Slovakia (startupers.sk), Austria (Impact Hub Vienna), Slovenia (Initiative Startup Slovenia), Hungary (budapest.ai), Serbia (Startup Grind Belgrade), Croatia (HUB385), Romania (Impact Hub Cluj-Napoca) and Bulgaria (Able Bulgaria), after being judged by the National Jury Boards all across the region.

At the Grand Finale on Thursday (1st December) we are about to announce the regional winners for those 12 categories, selected by our amazing Regional Jury consists of more than 50 globally recognised experts, just like Jeff Burton (Member of the founding team @Electronic Arts), Tanja Kufner (MD at Startupbootcamp Berlin), Mark White (Founding Partner @White Summers Caffee & James) or Hussein Kanji (Partner @Hoxton Ventures), just to mention a few of them.

So why do I believe you should not miss out this event?

  • You will have the chance to have some drinks with most of the national winners and their colleagues and friends – the creme of the the CEE startup ecosystems
  • Most of the Sponsors and Partners will represent themselves with some of their most interesting people, just like Peter Stracar (CEO in the CEE at GE), Kreso Zmak (Product Owner at Infobip) or Maria Luisa Silva (Director of SAP Startups Focus)
  • Our special guest, Steven Koltai will be around to have a good talk with
  • Many of the participant of Meet and Match Final Conference will also join us
  • And on the top of that: entrance is free of charge, just requires registration at Eventbrite: http://bit.ly/2feS793

Finally, let me suggest you to check out the video of last year’s Grand Finale, which took place in Vienna, Austria, just to give you the feeling what to expect:

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Peter Kovacs
Peter Kovacs
Peter Kovacs is the Co-Founder of Global Startup Awards, xLabs and IseeQ . He contributes to EU-Startups with founder interviews and stories, mostly from the CEE region.


  1. Please do not share the false information. Jeff Burton was not a co-founder of Electronic Arts, he was one of their early employees, who was hired from Atari for international business development, once the founder reaised some venture capital for growth and expansion.

    The only co-founder of the company is Trip Hawkins, and even he gently laughed when I read this to him. If you want to play it like that, then we can say that Bill Fernandez, Rod Holt (who did the Apple II power supply), Randy Wigginton.. were Apple co-founders.

    • Hi Michal,

      I have just talked to Jeff and and I am convinced that he was a member of the founding team of EA that he also proved with a documentation, so I am confident to say this info is valid.

      All the best,

  2. Hey Michal, thanks for you comment. I got this information directly from Jeff, and am happy to ask it from him based on your comment. Let me get back to you on this when he replies.

  3. The information is valid in regards to him being part of the early team, but not a co-founder. Feel free to reach out to Trip Hawkins or research the EA history.

    In February 1982, Trip Hawkins arranged a meeting with Don Valentine of Sequoia Capital to discuss financing his new venture, Amazin’ Software, which he established earlier. On May 28, 1982, Trip officialy incorporated and established the company with a personal investment of an estimated US$200,000. The company was not named Amazin’ Software, but instead Electronic Arts. Seven months later in December 1982, Hawkins secured US$2 million of venture capital from Sequoia Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Sevin Rosen Funds, for growth and expansion.

    For more than seven months, Hawkins worked on the early stages of Electronic Arts. With aid from his first employee (with whom he worked in marketing at Apple), Rich Melmon, the intial business plan was written, mostly by Hawkins, on an Apple II in Sequoia Capital’s office in August 1982 after which company started operating in full capacities. Soon afterwards, Hawkins also employed two of his former staff from Apple, Dave Evans and Pat Marriott, as producers, and Jeff Burton, who was his Stanford MBA classmate, from Atari for international business development. By November, employee headcount rose to 11, including Tim Mott, Bing Gordon, David Maynard, and Steve Hayes.

    Please do not mistaken early employees for co-founders. Otherwise, by your logic, Electronic Arts had 11 co-founders. Jeff was an important figure in the company and helped with its establishment as part of the early team, but he was not a co-founder. I am telling you this because people will see the info. at your website, research EA, and then think something is fishy about CESA, even though you established a great organization. Regardless, if Jeff likes to call himself a “co-founder”, I respect that.

    Good luck with your organization; I sincerely wish you all the best.

    – Michal

    • Hi Michal,

      Thanks for you comment. Jeff sent me a long email with pictures and documents that convinced me he was a founding member of EA. We exchanged some messages after that and he kindly offered me the chance to cover his full story in a standalone article. Hopefully I can start working on it at the end of December. I would suggest you to consider that an the official statement from Jeff on this topic. Stay tuned 🙂


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