NUVOLAK2: A business idea sprouts from sleepless summer nights (Innotalks)


Innotalks  are enabled by the Nuvolak project, co-financed under the Interreg Italy-Slovenia 2014-2020 program from the European Regional Development Fund, to promote innovation, sustainability, and cross-border governance in order to create a more competitive and integrated life-friendly environment


Rok Colarič, economist and founder of the Sleepy Bottle start-up, turned sleepless nights to his advantage by creating a new business idea out of the experience. Three years after the initial concept, there are 3000 innovative bottles on their way to the market. These bottles are able to prepare baby formula in a matter of seconds. Rok shared his experience on the 8th INNOtalks event that was hosted by ABC Accelerator.

Rok Colarič doesn’t have children of his own. His nights were disturbed by his friend’s baby, whose father had to wake up multiple times per night in order to prepare baby formula for his child. In the process of making it, he managed to wake up everybody nearby. After extensive research, Rok concluded that the market does not offer any solution for this kind of a problem. He, therefore, decided to give up his career in construction and started working on the idea of Sleepy Bottle.

He first joined a Kickstarter team in Kamnik, and they jointly conceptualized the first prototype. After this, he was at a loss. A series of fortunate events followed, but eventually, he found himself at ABC Accelerator and met Andy Baynes (who has occupied the position of executive director at Google, Apple, and Nestle).

According to Rok, Andy is one of the rare investors who are brave enough to invest in a physical product. Andy Baynes loved the idea and the success story of their cooperation began. This July, they represented Sleepy Bottle at one of the biggest PR events in London. Their presentation was a major success and gained them a fair amount of media coverage.

Sleepy Bottle is also the first Slovenian company, after Gorenje, that will present their product in the British television show called The Gadget Show – a great way to get first feedback from potential customers!

From an idea into a product in three years.

Sleepy Bottle will be coming onto the market in 10 days. First, they will concentrate on sales in London, Oslo, and Copenhagen, but the product is already available for online pre-orders on their website in Slovenia, also. The innovative bottle guarantees fresh baby formula in the right temperature in just mere seconds. According to Rok, the path to the final product was a rocky road, and it took them three years to perfect it. As he words it: “In start-up business one cannot give up at the first sight of trouble”. In order to achieve the product in its final state, around twelve versions of the bottle were tested. Every single one of these versions cost 500 euros. Rok, however, was positively surprised at the costs – this was the cheapest innovation process he has encountered.



Photo: Siniša Kanižaj, ABC pospeševalnik

As he stated at the beginning of INNOtalks, developing the project has cost them 750.000 euros, from scratch up this moment. Their initial business plan concluded it would cost 300.000 euros. Most of the money went to tools and travel. The rest was for patents, research, product development, and marketing.

With the help of different investors, they gathered over 500.000 euros. According to Rok, the biggest calculation error was connected to the final price of the product. They aimed to be selling it for 49 euros, however, with each improvement the price went up. The team was made up out of 14 people, 7 out of them were engineers who had to live off something. The final price for the bottle ended up being 129 euros. In the last 14 days, they have invested more resources in marketing, as well.

The first 3000 bottles will be available for purchase in ten days. Since there is a lot of interest for the bottle, the first shipment might be sold out by the end of the year. As for the future, they plan to expand into bigger markets next year, namely the United States and China, where they expect to sell 100.000 bottles in a short period of time. The product is patented; yet, Rok adds that the best protection is to keep the innovation going. In this train of thought, they plan on developing eight new and improved bottles in the upcoming years.


Inno is a result of the Nuvolak2 project and co-financed by Interreg V-A Italy-Slovenia Cooperation Programme.