Thursday, 17 October 2019

Croatian Post Acquires Locodels Startup from Zagreb Entrepreneur

Croatian Post (Hrvatska pošta, HP) reported on Thursday that they have acquired the 100 percent share in the company Locodels, owned by the Croatian entrepreneur Stevica Kuharski.

The completion of the sale is expected to happen before the end of November, it is reported. Croatian Post is, however, not revealing the value of the transaction, the Croatian media reported.

You might remember seeing Mr Kuharski's name recently on our site, and that was probably from when we reported on his other business venture and association with the Fil Rouge Capital VC Fund. But, he was well-known in Croatian business circles even before that, and Locodels is probably among his most notable entrepreneurial successes thus far. Often dubbed the "Uber for Packages", Locodels is a company dealing in city deliveries. Most of their customers, their website shows, are small businesses that have the need to have a smaller amount of packages delivered regularly (each day or each week). The deliveries are done by the people who have cars (or other means of transportation), among them students and retirees, as well as professional drivers, such as taxi drivers or even Uber drivers, who are then paid on a per-delivery basis. In addition to Zagreb, Locodels operated in Ljubljana, Vienna, Bratislava, London and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Ivan Čulo, Croatian Post CEO has said that for them, this acquisition represents their entry to the market of the alternative delivery models. He added that they plan to offer the new service mostly to the businesses who might need it.

Stevica Kuharski, the founder of Locodels said that he sees the acquisition as a huge stimulus by the state-owned companies to the startup community in Croatia. He added that this gives great potential for Locodels to keep growing in the future.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Two Croatian Engineers Turn Small Business into Factory with 300 Employees

When they tell you to dream big, the realistic (and perhaps a little pessimistic) little voice in your head tells you to keep it small, that it will never happen, that you won't get that lucky... Especially if you've embarked on a humble business with your friend, and the location of said business is in a Croatian village, and in your garage...

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of September, 2019, thirty years ago, two Croatian engineer friends, Frane and Darko, started a modest business in the village of Kalinovac near Đurđevac from their garage. More specifically, they started servicing agricultural machinery.

According to a report from RTL, today they have a factory which boasts an impressive 300 employees, they're one of the largest of their type in all of Europe which produces vehicles and utility equipment, their snowplows, for example, clear snow in Russia. Not only that, but they also produced a Croatian cleaner. A very large vacuum cleaner - the very first Croatian vehicle intended for street cleaning.

Who says our garbage must be cleaned up by foreign machines? Croatia now has its first street cleaner manufactured in the small, unassuming village of Kalinovac near Đurđevac.

"The maximum speed in this operating mode is twelve kilometres per hour. There are cameras. The front camera serves to see what we're vacuuming and what garbage is underneath, and the rear camera to see where we're going," explained Miroslav, a production employee.

"It's very nice to drive it. There's no noise inside, there's a radio, air conditioning, no worries even when you work all day, and it's nice to work in it," added his colleague.

This Croatian invention caught the eye of some Norwegian partners who came to Kalinovac for another job, so they decided to buy it.

"This vehicle is interesting to us because it has a newer look and is more comfortable for the driver. It has a higher roof for the driver. When compared to the competition, they're also cheaper than the others," said Vidar Jansen, a product manager from Norway.

The company will of course offer it to various Croatian cities, but it will clean mostly European metropolises - as this company exports eighty percent of its revenue.

The starting price of the first Croatian cleaner is 80,000 euros for the basic equipment package, of course, the better the equipment, the more expensive the cleaner is.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

VIDEO: Mate Rimac's Company Releases Two New E-Bikes onto Market

Mate Rimac is one of the more famous and much more positive entrepreneurial stories from Croatia. While setting up a business here is no easy feat, regardless of what you're doing, Mate Rimac's inspiring story of a curious child-turned-adult who never gave up despite the infamous red tape of the Croatian state is enough to put a smile on anyone's face.

Echoing the great Nikola Tesla and having firmly placed Croatia on the map for something else other than tourism, sunshine and the Adriatic sea, Rimac's innovative ideas go from strength to strength. From incredible vehicles like the C_One and C_Two to Greyp bikes and more, this Croatian entrepreneur from Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been a light in the dark for potential investment from the automotive industry in Croatia.

Providing the Croatian Government with his step by step guide to attractive investment from an industry, such as the automotive one, which has all but bypassed Croatia for fear of the endless and draconian bureaucracy and dreadful investment stories, this extremely talented man never stops.

His company, (which isn't the famed Rimac Automobili this time) doesn't stop either, and it has now launched two more brand new e-bicycles onto the market.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Goran Jungvirth writes on the 4th of September, 2019, at this year's EUROBIKE Friedrichshafen Show (September 4-7) Mate Rimac's company Greyp Bikes unveiled two new e-bikes.

''GreypG5 is finally out'', the company stated on social media, boasting that the e-bike was made up of some of the absolute best parts from the cycling world.

At the aforementioned German trade show, they also introduced a ''limited edition'' GreypG6X model that was ''made up of only the finest parts'', which include Öhlins forks and rear shock absorbers, carbon wheels and Magura brakes, as well as wireless seat positioning - Greyp's so-called  ''#smartass technology''.

"And they say there is no such thing as a #hyperbike ...", the company wrote sarcastically.

Watch a video of Rimac's Greyp Bikes here:

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia page for more information on Mate Rimac's incredible business ventures and Croatian-made products.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Two Young Men Open 3D Printing Filament Drive, Unique in Croatia

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes on the 5th of August, 2019, in the height of the tourist season, more specifically in mid-July, in the small Petrijanec municipality just north of Varaždin County and on the border with Medjimurje (Croatia) and neighbouring Slovenia, two young men decided to open a facility to produce filaments for 3D (three-dimensional) printers. They are the only ones to do so in all of Croatia.

Valentino Jovan and David Lukaček are both 28 years of age and are good friends, the first of the two is an expert in mechanical engineering, and the second graduated with a degree in electrical engineering, and has years of experience in manufacturing electrical companies and mechanical engineering companies under his belt.

Encouraged, as they stated, by the lack of certain products and services and the desire to develop their own original solutions here in Croatia, they founded the company last June, called DiV Plastic (the pair's initials) and set off down that proverbial road.

"The best feeling is when we create something new of value while trying to contribute to our community," Valentino Jovan, one of two CEOs and business partners, told Poslovni Dnevnik. David Lukaček even returned to Croatia from living over in Germany to start the project and took all of that responsibility and risk with him.

There are four employees in this company from Northern Croatia in total, and they make filaments, which is their main, however not their only activity.

"The filaments are actually ''ink'' for 3D printers. It's a plastic wire that is made from several types of material depending on the properties you want ,and in many different colours, they come in various variations, we initially turned to the production of filaments, which are technical materials, but we also have another nine materials available to us in cooperation with our partners from Slovenia. By the end of the year, we plan to expand the production of filaments to three more materials,'' explained Jovan.

DiV Plastic, therefore, is developing and applying new technologies in the growing 3D printing segment, with the goal of doing the same by recycling waste plastics.

''The filaments we manufacture are from original new plastics. In terms of recycling, we've reoriented our products mainly for agricultural applications, and we plan to convert a lot of recycled plastics that would end up in landfills into usable products. Our goals are to process a minimum of 5-7 tonnes of recycled plastic per year, hopefully by the end of 2020,'' Jovan points out.

An important question remains, given the fact that this company from the north of Croatia is the only one in the whole of Croatia to engage in this type of business - Just what is the market for that type of printing like in Croatia?

''At the very beginning, I started 3D printing three years ago when there were only a few dozen 3D printers. This has been changing rapidly over the last year, with printers becoming cheaper and more accessible to businesses, hobbyists, students, schools, and associations. We collaborate with schools, technical science associations, hobbyists... More and more companies are realising the benefits of 3D printing for prototyping, patterns, gadgets... and so our cooperation with them is increasing,'' explained the young director.

Their current portfolio contains 3D modelling, 3D printing, document production and designs specifically requested by their increasing number of customers.

They're also thinking of expanding, and they have pointed out the fact that they are preparing more interesting products and services. For now, their focus is primarily on Croatia's market, but as soon as they are ready to explore opportunities abroad, they will take that chance.

In spring, the young men underwent a mentoring program for beginner entrepreneurs, and the president of the Croatian Network of Business Angels, Davorin Štetner, praised them. As he told Poslovni Dnevnik back at the time, he was impressed by the quality and creativity of DiV Plastics, which he believes will soon be ready for business angel investment.

"I'd like to thank Mr. Davorin for his business-related advice. It has been enjoyable and he has been helpful on the mentoring program, and I hope we will continue our collaboration," said Jovan, also giving a snapshot of the state of the domestic startup scene.

"It's mostly IT companies. I think the Croatian startup scene is relatively good in terms of circumstances. We lack the skilled staff, from engineers to marketing experts, we lack the hardware factories so that newly developed products don't have to go and be made in China or somewhere else abroad,'' said Valentino Jovan. As new entrepreneurs, they have already encountered the neuralgic points of Croatia's draconian system.

"We were most troubled by the lack of information and a lot of half-true or totally wrong information. It is difficult for us to find out all of the conditions we need to satisfy, what documentation is required. Young entrepreneurs are left to study and read manuals and find out laws and to decide what applies to them or not.

When it comes to production, especially newer technologies, you're just left to do it yourself. The second biggest obstacle is finding proper business spaces, from the beginning, we were looking for one suitable for our type of production, and only recently we were able to move in, and it's been almost a year.

For young entrepreneurs, offices are generally available, which is great if you're an IT company, but as soon as you have machines you need to have in function, then there are problems. Most of these premises don't have adequate access, proper installations... " Jovan warned.

Fortunately, they managed to get a meeting with Željko Posavec from their municipality, who quickly recognised the needs of young ambitious entrepreneurs.

''We received 55,000 kuna in support from HZZ and this is really important for all young entrepreneurs to be able to really get started in the beginning. We are also entitled to certain benefits because we employ mostly young people under the age of 30,'' the founders of this company from Northern Croatia state.

Their results are, for the time being, better than expected, with total revenues of 121,791 kuna last year, a profit of several thousand kuna.

''We expect multiple revenue increases this year due to increased business volume. We're pleased with the situation and the development, and we hope to continue this steady growth in revenue as we have done so far,'' concluded DiV Plastic's CEO, Valentino Jovan.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Mate Rimac Among 4 Most Successful Young Slavic Entrepreneurs

Mate Rimac is by far Croatia's most popular success story. Rimac, born in Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a shining star who has faced down the red tape and draconian anti-entrepreneur policies of the outdated Croatian state and managed to succeed beyond his own wildest dreams.

The founder and CEO of the celebrated Rimac Automobili, the factory of which is located in Sveta Nedjelja, just outside Zagreb, has enjoyed large investment from major firms in the automotive industry, including the likes of Porsche. In addition, he has succeeded in drawing the attention of would-be investors in the automotive industry back to Croatia, a country which had previously been almost entirely bypassed because of its infamous and bizarre love for bureaucratic processes and endless, senseless paperwork.

Mate Rimac proposed measures needed to attract the car industry to Croatia to the Croatian Government, who are of course more than ten steps behind this innovative and exceptionally talented entrepreneur, and the hope is that upon acting on Rimac's valuable advice, the days of the need for your mother's birth certificate translated and apostilled and then inspected and stamped by a state employed uhljeb just to be able to start a company will one day be over.

It seems that Mate Rimac is continuing to impress, and on the world stage. As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 31st of July, 2019, Rimac Automobili's founder Mate Rimac has found himself rightfully placed on the list of the most successful young entrepreneurs and future billionaires in Eastern Europe by the popular portal Slavorum.

Mate Rimac has thus found himself in the talented company of Branko Milutinović from Serbia, the founder of Nordeus, a mobile gaming development company that is considered one of the fastest growing in all of Europe. In addition to innovation, Milutinović is also known for his humanitarian work throughout Serbia.

In addition, there is Bulgaria's Konstantin Rangelov, and his company Dronamic allows air transport of products up to 350 kilograms in a short period of time.

Last on the list is Rostislav Knap from Poland, who as a great expert in finance and business launched the company CallPage, an online service that monitors user behaviour and activities on websites.

According to Slavorum, the business done by these entrepreneurs is always on the up and they could soon become big global players.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Ministry of Economy Awards Croatian Entrepreneurs With Contracts

As Lea Balenovic/Novac writes on the 3rd of June, 2019, the Croatian Ministry of Economy recently awarded Croatian entrepreneurs twenty contracts totalling an enormous 85 million kuna. To be more specific, these are contracts funded by non-refundable EU funds for which the tenders were announced at the end of last year.

The aim of these tenders, as Minister of Economy Darko Horvat explained, is to "increase production and exports and create jobs, as well as to strengthen the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises through the presentation of their products and services on the international market".

One of the companies that which will use these opportunities for job creation and business optimisation is certainly the Croatian company IT-Graf, which deals with printing, and which has plans to invest almost 15 million kuna. Non-refundable EU funds in the amount of 6.6 million kuna were awarded to that particular Zagreb-based company.

"We'll all invest in new machines and modernisation, ie, the automation of printers, with the goal of going to foreign markets and exporting, and our sophisticated products will mean we need high quality staff and we will open about twenty new work positions,'' stated Tomislav Ivičinec, Managing Director at IT-Graf, who doesn't have any issues with the lack of a workforce in Croatia or finding workers because, as he himself said, "you just need to pay the man and then there's no problem".

In addition to this Croatian company, Hangar 18 has also received funds to increase its overall international competitiveness, which is due to its permanent investments remains "a permanent guest of such events", according to Damir Kralj, the director of the company.

''We're dealing with information technology and mobile technology, ie, we produce smartphones, TVs and all of their accessories, and we'll use this 950,000 kuna to present our products at the Barcelona fair,'' said Kralj, adding that Hangar 18 is planning to build a new factory in Koprivnica in which an additional fifteen to twenty people will be employed.

With the help of these tools, Neon Bjorn, a Zagreb-based company offering a software solution for travel agencies, as well as for travelers who prefer to organise their own travel plans, has the opportunity to internationalise their business and product presentation. As explained by the director of this Croatian company, Vesna Kota, "it helps in the overall process and shortens the time involved in travel organisation".

''With the allocated 433,000 kuna, we'll place our product on foreign markets and sell it in far-off locations. We're expanding to Cape Town, Dubai and Beijing and in European destinations such as Barcelona and London, and the solution is available to tourists who wish to visit destinations both in Croatia and those outside of it,'' Kota explained, adding that their desire "to bring more tourists to Croatia''.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and politics pages for much more on Croatian companies, Croatian products and services and the measures put in place to aid Croatian entrepreneurs.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Mate Rimac Discusses Kia, Hyundai, Company Revenue and More

Celebrated Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac discusses Rimac Automobili's new partnership with Hyundai and Kia Motors, how he plans to give a certain percentage of the company to its employees, revenue, the future, and more.

As Jutarnji list/Gordana Grgas writes on the 14th of May, 2019, after it was announced that the Hyundai and Kia Motors had decided to invest a massive 600 million kuna in capital into Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac announced in an interview for Jutarnji list that he would give seven percent of the company to his employees, from the cleaners to the directors.

We're bringing you the English translation of that interview here.

Why has Rimac Automobili entered into a partnership with Hyundai?

"We've been in contact with them for a couple of years and have been cooperating with them for a few years. They sent a strong delegation to us and, as soon as they saw the company, as soon as they saw what we were doing, they decided to invest immediately. In October last year they gave us an offer and we entered into negotiations. To have a partnership with such a company is very important for us. When looking at comparisons, they have a revenue of 250 billion euros, which is four times more than the Croatian GDP, and we're also working directly with the administration. Euisun Chung, who was there upon signing the contract, is the executive vice president, the grandson of Hyundai's founder, who's now taking over the firm from his father.

We're quick, small and innovative, we see and create the future and that's very interesting to them, this is hugely important for us because, on the one hand, we've got the Volkswagen Group and Porsche, and then we've got Hyundai and Kia on the other, and we've been so busy with work with these companies that we don't know where we're going!

The best thing is that they're not just buyers of our products but also shareholders, therefore it's in their interest that the company succeeds. They will help us build faster in areas where we may have some weaknesses, for example in industrialisation, in the transition from small-scale to large serial production.

Today, we're dealing with very complex systems for large car manufacturers, power systems, batteries, electronics, etc., we've achieved all that very quickly, but we need strategic partnerships. It's very difficult, especially moving from small to large series. We need money to help the company achieve its goals. We invest a lot, we're constantly expanding our plants, we employ more than 500 people, more than 300 engineers... We're not like the others, we're not wired money from the state but we get our money on the international market, and there's nowhere better to find money than with a company that really understands what you're doing, which is a partner and also a buyer,'' stated Mate Rimac.

What's the ownership structure of Rimac Automobili like now? You said you wouldn't remain the majority owner...

"Now I have .. (looks at his phone) Just a second, I have all of that in a document..."

Do you not know what your share is now? Does that not matter to you?

''Well, that's not important to me. People don't really understand that. I'm killing myself with this job and I'd be the happiest man in the world if there was someone who could run the company better than me, so I could just do what I like doing, the technical part of things. Now I'm the executive and technical director, and now I hold 47.7 percent, the Chinese camel group holds 14 percent, Hyundai has 11 percent, Porsche has 10 percent, Kia has 2.7 percent, and the remaining shares belong to the investors from 2012 and 2013.''

Are the employees among the co-owners?

"No, but we're working on that now, all of the employees will get a share, up until now, the ESOP was not worth it for them because of the tax. They'll probably get seven percent, from the cleaners to the directors, but not everyone will get the same share.''

How much is Rimac Automobili worth now?

"More than 500 million euros."

Why did not you not get to capital through an IPO, on the stock market?

''A lot of technology companies are now doing IPOs and they're actually losing money, they still have no stable and profitable business. Let's say Lyft, Uber or Snapchat... I don't want that. I want to make an IPO when the company's numbers are at that level. The company's potential is huge, and we have now used a piece of it and it's a shame to go out out onto the stock market with this company's situation. In 3-4-5 years, it will be at a completely different level. Besides, we have good access to capital outside of the stock market, we've got that luxury.''

How much was Rimac Automobili's income last year?

''I wouldn't go into income, there are no final reports yet. That's not our focus either, but a long-term trend. Here's an example - the car that we're developing for Hyundai now goes into serial production in 2023 only. Those are the cycles of our projects and to us, as well as to our shareholders, it's really neither here nor there what the financial outcome will be for this year or for next year, we're building a long-term story.''

Are you making a profit or are you still in the minus?

''We were still in the minus last year because we invested a lot. It's important to note that this minus comes from shareholder money, and everyone agrees that it's the company's plan.''

What will you specifically use this 600 million kuna for?

''For many things. This is part of our C investment round, and we'll still have investors in this round for another 70 million euros, but we don't know who that will be for now, but they will probably be financial investors. One of the things we will invest in is building our campus, our development and research centre and our factory, and another company expansion, employing a lot of people and equipping the company. For the transition to serial production, it's necessary to equip our production plants, test our products, develop them right up to the end, certify them... It's a big thing.''

Where will the new campus be? And what will be there?

''We're planning a campus for 2000 people because we want to have a longer-term solution. The headquarters of the company will also be there, as well as the development and research centre, production, testing, there'll be a hotel for guests and employees coming from elsewhere, kindergartens for employees' kids, restaurants, food production, hairdressers, sports facilities... I want it all to be integrated there.''

Where will this be located and when will you embark on construction?

''Near Zagreb. The location hasn't yet been agreed, we're look at a few of them, we're negotiating. Construction should start early next year.''

I guess the campus will be a little special in the aesthetic sense.

''Nine international and several Croatian architectural studies are currently working on suggestions for conceptual solutions for the campus. Among them was Lord Foster (British architect Norman Foster), we had a meeting the other day. He worked on Apple's campus and many other world-famous buildings. Everyone is so excited about this project and offering some great suggestions. They tell me that there's no such thing anywhere else, the combination I want - the campus being open to the public, the care for the employees and the connection with nature.''

The serial production of your C-Two has been announced for next year. Where are you going to do this?

''We got a hall in Veliko Trgovišće (Krapina-Zagorje County). The C-Two prototypes are still being done in Sveta Nedelja, and when we finish them, we'll move the manufacturing of the prototypes to Veliko Trgovišće. We already produce the batteries and the power systems there because we're out of space here. We're now there in five buildings and we were looking for something a bit closer to Sveta Nedelja, but there was just nothing there. Since there is no industry in Croatia, there's not much out there to rent. So now we're in Veliko Trgovišće, and we have centres in Split and in Osijek.''

Why did you open them there, so scattered apart?

''We grew so quickly over the last year. We now have fifteen engineers in Split, and about ten in Osijek, ane they're now our competence centres - in Split, we do our own automotive software development tool operation, and we deal with our high voltage chargers in Osijek.''

The prime minister has never been in your facility?

''No, never. To make it clearer, I don't ask for anything from the government. All I do is to urge the government to do the right thing to bring the car industry to Croatia. I have proved that it's possible.''

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for more information on Mate Rimac, Rimac Automobili, entrepreneurship, manufacturing, production and business in Croatia and much, much more.

 

Click here for the original interview/article by Gordana Grgas for Jutarnji list

Friday, 3 May 2019

Rimac Gives Croatian Government Lesson on Innovation and Car Industry

As Jasmina Trstenjak/Filip Pavic/Novac writes on the 1st of May, 2019, the Republic of Croatia does have a chance in the car industry, and it can improve its investment portfolio with certain active and proactive measures, open up opportunities for the development of new industries, and not miss this third train, since it has already missed two. Rimac Automobili, the company of one of Croatia's most successful entrepreneurs, Mate Rimac, is more than ready to help if Croatia truly wants to attract the car industry to Croatia. With some work put in to it, it's possible.

The above is one of the key messages given by Mate Rimac, the founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili, which was part of the "Croatia E-mobility Forum", held recently at the Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb and organised by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) and Jutarnji List, during which spoke about "How Croatia can attract the automotive industry".

In his presentation, among other things, analysed the countries that make up Central and Eastern Europe, what the automotive industry brought to them (growth, jobs, contribution to GDP...), which attracted investors, just how Croatia stands in this aspect. He also noted some key trends that are already transforming the car industry.

The automotive industry is completely changing, therefore the use of cars will eventually alter too. People will, at some point, no longer be car owners, they might not even bother to learn to drive, but all this will open up many new doors. Trends show that many cars will become autonomous by 2030, they will all be connected to the internet, more electrification will occur, and the car sharing will become more common. Mate Rimac discussed these points, full of experience as his own company, which has grown into a powerful technology company over the past decade and attracted more investment than all the technology companies in Croatia.

So far, Rimac Automobili has attracted more than 60 million euros in foreign investment, and that's not even counting the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has provided the company with a 30 million euro loan last year. The last investor in Rimac Automobili was no less than Porsche, and that was the very first time Porsche invested in another company.

''We don't want this to be the last investment, but we need to attract investments. Not only because of us, but also because of the state, so that the automotive industry invests in other things in Croatia. This year, a big investor will enter into the structure of our company. It's a 150 million euro investment, and the details on that will be known in a few weeks,'' revealed Rimac. He also emphasised the significance and the power of the branch in which he works - if the automotive industry was a country, it would be the fourth largest in the entire world!

However, rather unsurprisingly, Croatia is lagging behind quite significantly when compared to others, the automotive industry has spread very well across the whole of Europe and Croatia is almost the only exception. Two waves of investment in the region have already been and gone. The first was in the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, the second was in Romania and Slovakia, and now a lot is being invested in neighbouring Serbia.

In the aforementioned countries, the automotive industry started practically from scratch and through the investments of other manufacturers, unassuming little Slovakia has become the largest car maker per capita in the world today. Therefore, in his extensive presentation, Rimac also commented on the way companies choose their sites, what their criteria are, and, when comparing Croatia with other countries, he found that Croatia is not one of the best candidates at all.

''Croatia has thirteen billion dollars worth of exports, with four million people. Slovakia has a million residents and more than 78 billion dollars in exports, out of which, 20 billion dollars of exports are in cars and parts alone. Let's look at some closer neighbors. Slovenia, with more than two million inhabitants, is exporting more than Croatia, and once again, their main export products are cars, and for us, it's wood,'' said Rimac, adding that these countries attracted companies with their favourable labour costs, but also for their talents and good faculties, infrastructure and available capital.

He also noted that Croatia has less than a billion dollars of automotive revenue, while, let's say, the Czech Republic has 41 billion dollars, and it has a strong potential. Thus, Croatia has less than half a percent of GDP, and the Czech Republic accounts for more than five percent of its GDP directly from the automotive industry, which is indeed a very defeating comparison. In the CEE region, investments have occurred thanks to generally cheap labour, and although much of it has well and truly bypassed Croatia, Mate Rimac is certain that there is a way to attract this industry still. Not necessarily with cheaper labour, but also with new opportunities.

''Hundreds of e-car models are coming onto the market. They're developed during a period of four to seven years and what's going on in the labs today will be on the roads within several years. There is a tremendous opportunity since today's share of three percent in sales will jump to 60 percent in the coming decades. That's why there's a lot of investment going on in the automotive industry, in startups and in technology companies. So far, more than 25 billion dollars has been invested through investment ventures, and this is where that industry is heading. There are investments in the development of batteries, in companies that make sensors and the like. The portfolio is bigger than it used to be. Also, there's a lot of heavy investment in development, and budgets are larger,'' noted Rimac.

Rimac also added that not everything is so black, although Croatia is of course late ''to the party'', and is missing out on the opportunity to join the development of the automotive industry by modelling itself on the countries of the CEE region. That industry, he says, is growing steadily, and countries are committed to receiving investments and attracting firms.

''We don't want just any investment, but those that give maximum benefit. But it's not about how much the state will encourage these industries to come. The state must first determine in which direction it wants to go, which industries it has, and then work proactively. England has a great initiative and it does very well because it has a complex program for the automotive industry, it works proactively, runs research centres, test sites... Therefore, proactive measures and projects are needed if there's a desire to go in that direction,'' Rimac said.

The presentation outlined nineteen action measures that the Croatian state should take to accelerate the automotive industry's progress in Croatia.

He mentioned that employees should be allowed to enter into company ownership and there should be a reduction in income taxes on high salaries.

Universities should make sure their programs include more machine learning, artificial intelligence, and electrical engineering.

Universities should employ professors from the STEM sector with scientific reputations, Rimac believes, and invest in equipping faculties and linking universities with actual investors.

In addition, the state should implement tax incentives for R&D-oriented companies, as well as meet with relevant engineers, as well as take a more proactive role in industrial development in co-operation with potential foreign investors.

As far as infrastructure is concerned, it's very important to encourage international contacts with cities that have developed automotive and innovation hubs and additionally invest in the 5G network for all households.

When it comes to specific measures for the automotive industry, among the measures listed above, it's necessary for foreign automotive employees to have temporary housing and job search support provided to the employee's life partner.

Additionally, one of the measures implies the establishment of an international school, where teaching will be conducted in foreign languages.

As far as the infrastructure of the auto industry itself is concerned, Rimac says that the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads should be legalised, there should be an institute for electric and autonomous vehicles established, as well as an institute for artificial intelligence, as well as centres of competence and innovation hubs.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak/Filip Pavic for Novac/Jutarnji

Monday, 29 April 2019

Croatian Man Turns Hobby into Business Making Furniture from Pallets

Ever been browsing online mindlessly and come across a YouTube video showing how to create something and thought: Hang on, I could do that? One Croatian man from Kutina did exactly that and has thus decided to turn his hobby into a business, and if he had the time to pay attention solely to that, it would take off even faster than it has done already.

As Novac/Jasmina Trstenjak writes on the 28th of April, 2019, if we open our eyes a little bit, we'll see that there are ideas to start our own business all around us. Some of us stumble upon them, recognise them, and start from the idea itself, and some ideas literally come and find us and prevent us from bypassing them and remaining just as ideas.

Matija Kašner from the continental Croatian town of Kutina, who makes furniture from disposable pallets, says that in the case of his very own creation Sklepaj.me "everything began from itself, and quickly".

When my wife and I moved into this house, we didn't particularly like the furniture in the stores, and as I saw people doing innovative things from palets online, I decided to make a bed out of pallets and then a terrace. So then I decided to put what I'd made on Njuškalo (a Croatian buy and sell website) and try to sell it. One woman called me who wanted to equip her entire apartment house in Crikvenica with tables and chairs, and that was the first big job from which it all began,'' says Kašner.

He remembers thinking how big that job was and wondered whether or not he could manage to do it all in time. But, with the help of friends and even without the right tools - he succeeded. As his first client needed an invoice, he opened an obrt (small company) and officially turned his hobby into a job back at the end of 2013. Then, another project came for an IT company and that was great in the full sense of the word - he equipped the entire building.

The young IT team wanted something different, they ordered armchairs, beds because they had a "chill out" room, and the like. Sklepaj.me quickly started to grow bigger, and its initiator, an economist by profession, said the job would have grown at an even faster pace if he was only doing that.

Namely, Kašner comes from an entrepreneurial family, and given his business versatility, the entrepreneurial genes have obviously been passed down to him and, besides making furniture, he grows raspberries, rents out electric bikes and conducts tourist tours, is engaged in a family business, and addition to that, he's employed in a company in which he's the head of the branch.

''Sklepaj.me is just a hobby that in some way created itself and which I do after work. We don't live on that. We live from our wage,'' Kašner makes sure to confirm.

But, if he was engaged solely in this hobby, could he live from it? The idea with the pallets seems to be a great one. What's the real market potential? Where are the palets obtained? Is it an expensive hobby? How lucrative is it...? There are many questions.

''I'd expand the range and then yes, I then could live from it, but I'd have to exhibit at fairs, I'd have to be present in design spheres, etc. The order, or its quantity, depends on the revenue and sometimes that can be high only even with just one or two orders per year. Averages are difficult to come up with. There are no such rules. If I had to do three big orders per year for around 30,000 kuna, which is one nice cafe or hostel, I'd sign up tomorrow to do only that. That could provide for a decent life,'' Kašner says when discussing his innovative business that brought the strongest revenue in six years last year with only one project, which was his largest ever so far, for Zrće.

He also revealed that he's now negotiating orders that would be almost of the same size as that one. Namely, two shelves of furniture (60 armchairs, 30 tables, 60 bar tables...) were sent to Zrće, a project on which for two or three months, he worked intensively without any contact with the outside world for 10-12 hours per day.

When it comes to a series, everything depends on how many pieces someone orders, and so far he has already worked on tables, armchairs, deck chairs, bar stools and desks and even lamps. One armchair costs between 400 and 600 kuna, depending on whether they want a sponge putting on it or not, tables are about the same price, deck chairs are about 800-900 kuna, and the bar tables are of the same rank as deck chairs.

"I like to make sure the prices are acceptable, so when someone goes to the store and sees a rattan deck chair, he can see that for roughly the same money he can get something unique, and something that not many will have,''

He also mentions the seasonal rhythm of this job because someone who owns a tourist facility orders the furniture in the winter and then winter is spent working for the tourist season in summer. Then comes stagnation in June and July, and in August there are orders to arrange children's rooms, renovations for peoples houses and other similar things.

As Croatia's economic and demographic issues continue, there's a lot to be said for being creative and starting your own business to generate some income, even if it's just extra cash on the side, and this innovative and talented gentlemen from Kutina is the perfect example of exactly that mindset.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for much more on Croatian companies, Croatian products and services and Croatian innovation.

 

Click here for the original article by Jasmina Trstenjak for Novac/Jutarnji

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Croatia's ''Include'' Attracting Investment and Attention

When it comes to results, Croatia's Include published an impressive 115 percent growth in revenue in the first quarter of the year, and an average selling price growth of almost 40 percent.

As Tomislav Pili/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of April, 2019, one of the main stars of the Croatian startup scene, entrepreneur Ivan Mrvoš, is continuing to impress. Just two years after Include's first capitalisation through Funderbeam, recapitalisation is about to happen again, aiming this time at almost ten times the amount. Before today's public announcement of the campaign, Include's main man revealed that his company, which is a top Croatian manufacturer of solar powered benches, is collecting part of the finances through Funderbeam while the other part will be provided by private investors.

"After the successful first round of investment back in 2017, when we raised about 3.5 million kuna with a 30 million kuna valuation, we decided to enter a new round of recapitalisation. We didn't set a fixed amount, but we expect that the investment will be at least 20 million kuna, with the potential to reach approximately 30 million kuna. As for Funderbeam's part of the investment, we're expecting to raise about 10 million kuna through the platform,'' said Include's boss Ivan Mrvoš. At the moment, he has secured about 10 million kuna from the Funderbeam platform and is actively discussing the additional funds with several potential investors, including private individuals and venture capital funds.

"Right now, I can't say which investors are involved, but they're people who have led or are currently leading various Croatian industries, which we consider to be a significant indicator," he pointed out. When asked how much shares in Include now sell for and how much the company is valued at, Include's founder explained that things are a bit different now than they were back in 2017.

"The company has four years of business behind it and some remarkable results have come to fruition, so we decided to hire one of the companies from ''The Big Four'' to do a valuation. What I can say is that it was a very intensive process that lasted for several months, and the company was estimated at 110 million kuna last week,'' says Mrvoš.

"The company ended last year with a positive result, and we also continued things successfully during the first quarter of this year, with 60,000 kuna of net profit," Mrvoš revealed.

The collected money will certainly go into the development of existing markets, but also to conquering new markets.

"We intend to strengthen our presence on existing markets and continue to build a global distribution network. In addition, we're beginning with the development of new products that will be complementary for the existing markets, and intended for those same markets, and we'll also get some more advanced equipment for our development and production activities,'' explained the talented young entrepreneur.

The trading of Include's tokens at Funderbeam was stopped on April the 1st this year due to campaign preparation, and the latest market price is 3.5 euros. The director of Funderbeam Damir Bićanić explained that the price of the shares will not be one euro as they usually are in Funderbeam's campaigns, but higher, meaning more specifically that they'll reflect the company's new valuation.

The leading investor, as was the case in 2017, will be Ivana Šoljan who says that Include will certainly pass at least one recapitalisation, and "hopefully maybe go to the stock market in the future.''

"Mr Ivan Mrvoš and his whole team have advanced tremendously. Organisationally, they did well, they wrote regular reports to investors, they're not late with deliveries, they plan things smartly - they're ready for a new round,'' concluded Šoljan.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business and Made in Croatia pages for much more.

 

Click here for the original article by Tomislav Pili for Poslovni Dnevnik

Page 3 of 4

Search