Chipolo is a good lost-item tracker and it looks great on my keyring. I supported their Kickstarter campaign which netted them $300.000 a year ago. Unfortunately, they have spent the past year perfecting their product instead of looking for more capital to fuel their growth. Their main competitor Tile did the opposite and they announced $13M investment a week ago. Unless Chipolo has something to announce soon, the game is lost for them since no talent or product excellence can make up for such big difference in available capital. It's not just the money that Tile received, but with an investment of this size, start-up becomes a part of a family (some might say a mafia family) which helps each other with advice and connections, customers gain confidence in survival of the start-up, and talented people take notice of an ambitious company.
I told this story to another Slovenian hardware start-up yesterday when they explained to me that the next step for them would be raising a couple of hundreds of thousands of dollars, while I encouraged them to go looking for 100x more money. If we want Slovenian start-ups to succeed globally, we will have to start thinking in the numbers that make sense globally. Gaining such confidence might require the next generation of entrepreneurs.