Three Croatian startups have joined forces in a cluster Reaktor and launched a joint venture in Kuwait with the Kuwaiti technology company AEA Manufacture, reports Poslovni.hr on February 27, 2017.
They will jointly offer various hardware and software solutions for smart buildings and so-called Internet of Things (IoT) devices and systems. Negotiations on cooperation, which lasted for year and a half, were concluded after a recent visit by Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović to Kuwait and her meeting with Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jabir Al-Sabah.
Ivan Jelušić, the founder and director of Reaktor, said that the crucial thing for them was to get good references in Kuwait so they could spread to other Middle Eastern markets. “Although this is a joint venture, our partner from Kuwait will not invest directly with us, but will rather open up the possibilities to get some contracts. Certain projects are already in the pipeline and we should know more in a few months”, said Jelušić.
Ali Ashkanani, director of AEA Manufacture, said that the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things has far exceeded the number of people living on Earth. By 2020, the IoT market will be worth 14 billion dollars and that was the reason which encouraged him to enter into cooperation with Reaktor. “Reaktor is an innovative Croatian hardware cluster. We will jointly present new technologies, as well as our development services which we offer to companies and startups in Kuwait”, said Ashkanani.
Reaktor was founded by several businesses which Jelušić started some time ago. Together with Mitko Cabevski from Macedonia, he launched the u:Plug startup three years ago. The first series of smart power outlets was sold out, and Jelušić said they would soon come out with a new series of 1,500 pieces. The cluster also includes AABO from Osijek, which has developed solutions for smart use of energy. AABO is a partner of the Town of Osijek in the field of smart street lighting, and has about a dozen clients in Croatia. The company has developed solutions for remote monitoring of consumption of electricity, water and gas, and that is the first product which Reaktor will launch in the Kuwaiti market. The third partner in Reaktor is the hardware startup Capital Hook from Osijek, which develops hardware components and other products in the field of Internet of Things.
Jelušić said that he was currently involved in four projects in Croatia. “However, it is important to emphasize that this is a small startup cluster. The core team is made of just four people, and we also have about a dozen external partners”, said Jelušić. He added that he went to Kuwait in 2015 when he discovered that the local market, which had a number of excellent new properties, was not saturated with new technology companies.
“I took advantage of the visit to begin to build contacts. Everything was a combination of perseverance and courage. But, it proved to be a very good move. Each of us can go abroad and look for the right contacts”, concluded Jelušić.