Blackbox Connect
08 September 2015

From Unconvention to Silicon Valley: The Blackbox Connect Program experience

The Blackbox Connect, a program initiated by our partners from Blackbox, has just closed its doors and we are eager to get feedback from Lujza Bubanova, the founder & CEO of Divano. Her experience in American startup ecosystem is the first outcome of the implementation of the partnership between Blackbox and EYIF, giving to European companies direct access to the world’s most successful mentors and entrepreneurs.

Divano is a startup launched in 2014 focusing on the mobile home entertainment leveraging on reach of traditional television in the Slovak Republic. 

We had the chance to meet Lujza Bubanova during Unconvention 2015, in Brussels where, together with Dean Russell, EMEA Creative Strategy Director at Lewis PR, provided us qualitative data and details on sales and marketing strategies for startups. Blackbox founder, Fadi Bishara, also spoke at the Unconvention 2015,  meeting with promising European startups.

Lujza joined the 12th edition of Blackbox Connect, being one of the 22 entrepreneurs and founders of 15 international startups to visit Palo Alto. Through a two-week immersive program, Blackbox Connect empowers international founders with Silicon Valley resources, giving them access to key resources and connections in the area.

Entrepreneurship is about solving meaningful problems by committed and passionate founders and we continue to discover interesting innovations across the world.

We have gathered a short list of experiences from Lujza two-weeks at Blackbox:

Who was the person that influenced you the most and how did this person help you during the Blackbox Connect Program?

Fadi Bishara, because he is devoted to help entrepreneurs from all around the world to have access to Silicon Valley. I bet I am speaking on behalf of all attendees. The Blackbox program creates a shortcut to change of mindset, a better more confident big picture mindset.

From the visiting speakers, Josh Elman from Greylock Partners. Josh is the perfect example of the Silicon Valley attitude of being extremely smart and willing to help as much as possible. We have spent a great amount of his time talking about our projects and solving product related issues.

What were the main activities during this program and how have these been relevant to your professional development?

The whole program as such aims towards professional development. It would be too hard to point out just one, as it only works together as concept. The Blackbox atmosphere is entrepreneurial also during breaks as we all lived together. We genuinely cared for each others’ business progress.

How did this experience help you in developing new skills? How do you see yourself applying these new skills in the European entrepreneurial ecosystem?

Silicon Valley sees pitching as a very important skill of the founders. I must say I have underestimated it myself before, however I now understand that it is the number one lesson of sales.

Tell us the top 3 lessons of BlackBox Connect Program.

1. pitch perfect 2. get your big vision across 3. be confident

And your future plans?

As a result of Blackbox demo day we are getting funded from US investors and moving part of our team to San Francisco, while developing further in the European market.

Do you think that the partnership EYIF – Blackbox can support the European companies growing global?

Blackbox is a crucial partner for EU startups as there are not so many initiatives that help the startup companies outside the US. However, everyone admits the potential European startup ecosystem has regarding the talent and EYIF is an important player who discovers and supports the entrepreneurial talents.

About Lujza Bubanova:

Lujza has previous experience as an entrepreneur, being very active in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. She was the Co-Founder of John Smith, but also the Co-Founder and the Creative Director of Startupism, a venture summit for startups, with companies such as DFJ, 500 Startups, TechCrunch, Business Insider etc. She also co-organized StartupWeekend Slovakia. Prior to founding John Smith (Divano &, she worked at CME broadcasting.

About Blackbox:

A Silicon Valley startup accelerator focused on helping non-US startups that strive to bring their products to the global market.