Sunday, 11 September 2022

American Robin Purchases Croatian Company Flow and Form

September the 11th, 2022 - The American company Robin has purchased the Croatian company Flow and Form, which has its office in the City of Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, after raising 30 million US dollars in investment capital, the American company Robin, which develops platforms for hybrid modes of operation, has acquired the Croatian company Flow and Form, which deals with software.

As announced by the American startup, the common goal of the acquisition of the Croatian company Flow and Form is to define what the future of work looks like and to build the world's best platform for hybrid work – Robin.

Flow and Form, which has an office in Zagreb, started operating back in 2017, and over the years since, it has proven to be one of the leading agencies with recent results in providing high-quality digital solutions for optimising living and working spaces. As the chief executive officer (CEO) of Flow and Forme, Marko Pavlovic, stated, the company's most important mission from the very beginning was to make every space a better place to live and work.

"In a partner, we were looking for someone for whom people are more important than the offices themselves, someone who wants to make the work experience easier for their users and employees. And we found that in Robin. Teamwork is needed to create a world where workplaces function better," said Pavlovic, adding that by joining forces with Robin, a team that shares their goals and values, they will ensure their faster adaptation to changes, keep up with the growing demand for hybrid ways of working and develop solutions that help leaders in their industries, making their offices places where their employees want to be and want to work.

The fact that the Croatian company Flow and Form is one of the leading companies in the real estate technology industry has been well and truly proven by the creation of more than a billion dollars in market value through the marketing of successful products for their clients. The company was included in the list of 50 fastest growing technology companies in Central and Eastern Europe according to Deloitte's 2021 list, and since back in 2014, Robin has enabled companies of all sizes to do their best work by building technology solutions that drive a better employee experience in the workplace.

Their platform allows employees to choose how and from where they work using real-time office maps and room, desk and equipment reservations, all while helping employers track office space utilisation, desk reservation statistics and more.

Support from Croatia

In July 2022, Robin raised a new round of investment (Series C) of a massive 30 million US dollars, which enabled them to expand internationally, increase the number of employees and deepen their strategic partnerships. Thanks to the cooperation with the Croatian company Flow and Form, Robin has successfully entered not only the Croatian market but that of the whole of Europe.

The Croatian company has stated that this is great news for the Croatian economy because it will now participate in the rapid growth of a top SaaS (Software as a Service) company, in a completely new industry on this market - workspace technology. Micah Remley, CEO of Robin, emphasised that their clients, especially here in Europe, will now have the support of their teams in the Republic of Croatia, which enables Robin to offer an even better experience using its product and build innovative solutions for its users.

"From the beginning, we were impressed by the amount of top quality talent and the technical abilities of the team in Croatia. Through this acquisition, we can see an opportunity not only for product development with experienced teams based in Zagreb, but also for supporting our European and global expansion from our Zagreb office," stated Remley.

Robin is otherwise headquartered across the pond in the American city of Boston and currently has over 200 employees, with clients from 80 countries on all six continents, including Toyota, Mailchimp, Fender and Peloton.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Friday, 9 September 2022

Croatian-Slovenian Foodtech Startup Attracts Large Investment

September the 9th, 2022 - One Croatian-Slovenian foodtech startup has attracted an impressive investment and is likely to have its image boosted beyond what the creators ever though possible.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, a winning combination of incredible youthful energy, a tried-and-tested product that quickly conquers the health food market with "know-how" and a financial injection from a venture capital fund - that's the story of Juicefast, a new investment of the Feelsgood fund worth half a million euros.

The Juicefast brand, which will be launched at the beginning of October, is a newly founded Croatian-Slovenian foodtech startup that will unite the current Detox.hr brand and the Healthy Meals pilot project of young entrepreneurs David and Marko Dravinec.

This Croatian-Slovenian foodtech startup and its accompanying entrepreneurial story started back in 2018 from the confines of the small neighbourhood fruit shop Mali vrt (Little garden) where the idea of ​​freshly squeezed 100 percent natural apple juice for detoxification and fasting was first born, 22-year-old David explained.

On the wings of conquering the lucrative (and very rapidly growing) healthy food market, which was also affected by the coronavirus pandemic, given that the spread of the virus emphasised the importance of a good diet and general healthcare, their income growth was rapid: in 2020 it amounted to 1.5 million kuna, then it grew to 2.8 million kuna, and the last figure they reported reached a massive 6.5 million kuna. Juicefast is a neat play on words which alludes to the speed and simplicity of the process.

"We were amazed at how much people liked simple juice. Now we understand that there's a reason in this simplicity. Each of our juices is made with 1.5 kilograms of fresh fruit and vegetables. We all know we should eat it, we know it's good for us, we know we'll feel better, but...sometimes we just don't feel like it," he says with a giggle.

"And then, if you can be bothered, you've got to prepare your juices.... Buy the groceries, prepare them, then you've got to clean the juicer after using it, all of which takes time. It's easier to jump down to the bakery and buy it all already done for you. The hectic pace of modern life imposes some other priorities on us, and we often put our health on the back burner. These are problems that we've manage to solve, and we've provided both simplicity and practicality,'' he added.

The range of detox juices offered by this Croatian-Slovenian foodtech startup is made exclusively from fruits and vegetables from domestic family farms, except for exotic species for which Croatia is simply not a natural climate.

The juicing is carried out in a 500-square-metre hall in Laduc using slow-juicing devices that retain nutritional the fruit's values, especially vitamins. Detoxification has become extremely popular in the last few years with a combination of intermittent fasting that gives the body a "break" from constant food intake. The entrepreneurial duo has as such successfully found their niche with a range of juices that are not pasteurised, have no preservatives or additives, but are processed with high hydrostatic pressure.

Feelsgood, the only Croatian venture capital fund that requires a positive social impact from its investments in both Croatia and Slovenia, has invested 500,000 euros in the project, recognising the synergistic effect of the production of juices and healthy meals, sustainable agriculture and cooperation with local producers.

The investment injection, on top of the 250,000 euros from other investors, will be used for the growth and development of the company here in Croatia, as well as to provide the spring in the startup's step for their move to the markets of Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Italy and Hungary. The glittering USA is also on their radar.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 28 August 2022

Croatian Startup Make IT Easy Succeeds with Investment Plans

August the 28th, 2022 - The Croatian startup Make IT easy has succeeded with its investment plans, raising more than 150,000 euros a little more than a month after launching their campaign on Funderbeam.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, MobilityONE, the software made by the Croatian startup Make IT Easy, intended for fleet management and cost control, raised more than 150,000 euros a little more than a month after the launch of its campaign on Funderbeam.

According to Marko Stojakovic, executive director of the Croatian startup Make IT Easy, they collected exactly 157,000 euros from around 100 investors, which was the minimum amount they had set for themselves. The campaign is still set to go on for another fifteen days, but Stojakovic has noted that it will close when they collect 300,000 euros, which is the upper goal they set for themselves.

Stojakovic explained that the average investment in their software stands at around 1,500 euros, and among the more famous investors are Juraj Sebalj, a well-known rally driver and brand ambassador of the platform, who invested 15,000 euros, and Nenad Bakic, known for his role within Varteks. "The majority, or 80 percent of them, of investors are from Croatia, the rest are foreign investors," Stojakovic pointed out.

This Funderbeam campaign for MobilityONE is an introduction to the second round of financing (the first was at the end of last year when they collected 260 thousand euros through Funderbeam), in which they plan to collect 1.5 million euros, followed by the conquest of the European and American markets. The plan is to collect the same in three ways, through the ongoing Funderbeam campaign, then through venture capital funds and European funds. They used the period between the two financial campaigns for software development. At the moment, as Stojakovic revealed, they are about to sign the payment contracts with several respectable Croatian and foreign companies, the names of which cannot reveal the names until they are signed.

As for the investors, that is, the venture capital funds (VC funds), they are in negotiations with five of them, and they have already received a non-binding letter of intent from one of them.

"We're talking with the others and soon, in six months, we should close this investment round with the funds," says Stojakovic. There is obviously no lack of interest, which is not surprising when you take into account the fact that the market for managing mobile assets and fleet resources should grow to 30 billion euros by 2030.

MobilityONE, on the other hand, will become the first Croatian export product in that domain, and, as they claim, it stands out from the competition due to its simplicity in both implementation and use. In addition, the software, which is intended for professional fleet services companies, leasing and rent-a-car companies, car dealers, i.e. anyone with a fleet of vehicles, saves 20 percent of costs, 50 percent of management time and 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Zagreb Startup Brombul Expands its Zuluhood Home Security App Offer

August the 4th, 2022 - The Zagreb startup Brombul is expanding the services offered by its Zuluhood application (app), which has been hailed as the ''Uber of home security''.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, smart homes make it possible to protect the house or apartment itself, the things in it, as well as household members from unwanted accidents or burglaries, so people are busy investing more and more in them.

Research says that at the end of 2020, there were 51.4 million "smart" homes across Europe, and it is predicted that there will be more than 100 million by the end of 2024. On that note, the Croatian "Uber for home security" was born, as was the Zuluhood app, which was developed back in 2019 by the Zagreb startup Brombul.

Now their protection has been strengthened through cooperation with the company AKD Zastita (Protection), which provides its users with physical security guards as and when they're needed. As was explained by this company, headed by the founder and executive director Maja Krejci, it is a platform that is constantly upgraded and provides users with the services they need at that moment in time.

Additional protection

"Zuluhood - the first Croatian mobile platform for home security - now offers the services of the security company AKD Zastita on request. In other words, the principle is similar to that of Uber: through the free application you can order one of Zuluhood's services exactly when you need it," Krejci explained.

Security guards are available 24 hours a day, so their presence can be requested at any time of the day or night through the Zagreb startup Brombil's Zuluhood mobile app. A home inspection means a regular visit to the home and to household members by professional security guards who will inform their clients about the conditions they found there.

In addition to receiving information about whether or not everything is in order at home, the physical presence of a security guard also serves as additional protection because it sends a clear message that the home is properly guarded. For the first time, the alarm forwarding service for smart home systems, such as D-Link or Arlo camera and Google Home and Amazon Alexa, has also been fully enabled.

The service has also now been made available on request and for shorter periods, such as during weekend trips or holidays. The user doesn't have to be physically available - all alarms are automatically forwarded to the monitoring centre, which then dispatches security guards if necessary.

As they pointed out from the Zagreb startup Brombul, cooperation with AKD enables users, regardless of whether they need this service for just a few hours or a few days, to easily order home security services through the application. Ultimately, the Safe socialising service means that when organizing a larger gathering, celebration or wedding, users can simply reach out to a security guard who will make sure that everything goes smoothly.

"The aforementioned services are currently provided by AKD Zastita, but soon users will be able to choose between several security companies. On top of that, new services are being prepared, such as care for the elderly," stated Krejci. The Zagreb startup Brombil's Zuluhood app, he added, enables everyone to distinguish between what is urgent and not. Users can rely on the quick response of a security company available at any time of the day or night, but also on the help of friends or neighbours who will also be notified through Zuluhood in emergency situations.

"Our goal is to enable users to connect various smart home systems to the Zuluhood app. The reactions we've had have all been very positive so far, it's great to hear when they tell us 'I needed something just like that' or when they compare us to the likes of Uber for home security.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

American Billionaire Investing in Croatian-Irish Startup Fonoa

July the 23rd, 2022 - The Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa is set to be richer following an investment from no less than an American billionaire linked to the likes of Snapchat and TikTok.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Bernard Ivezic writes, the Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa, which offers automated tax calculation services on a global level and has Spotify, Remote.com, Uber and Zoom as clients, has received a 60 million euro investment. This is one of the ten largest investments in a startup by Croatian founders so far. The success is all the greater, because this is Fonoa's second investment round in just six months. In the first, the company collected an impressive 20.5 million dollars.

The investment in the Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa has been led by Coatue, a VC fund started by American billionaire Philippe Laffont, who is among the first investors in TikTok's parent company Bytedance, followed by Snapchat and Spotify. He was joined by the largest European B2B institutional investor Dawn Capital and one of the most successful European VCs, Index Ventures, as well as OMERS Ventures, FJ Labs and Moving Capital.

The Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa was otherwise the first in the entire world to develop a cloud platform for the automation of tax calculations on a global level. This Croatian-Irish startup was started by the former leaders of Uber in Croatia - Davor Tremac, Filip Sturman and Ivan Ivankovic. Fonoa's platform allows companies to instantly, by connecting to their cloud platform, gain insight into the exact calculation of taxes in a certain country, and all this is done in real time.

Because of these possibilities, Fonoa promises its users not only speed, but also savings and an increase in the level of compliance with tax rules in a particular country.

Here in Croatia, for example, due to frequent changes in tax rules, as well as very complex tax legislation and accompanying regulations, it is often difficult for companies to enter the market. The Croatian market is small, and it is necessary to invest a lot in following these often cumbersome and frankly ridiculous regulations, so entering the market would not be profitable for some companies and thus would limit their market potential. In such cases, which are sadly commonplace, Fonoa becomes a useful tool.

Davor Tremac, the CEO and co-founder of Fonoa, says that they were helped by the fact that online shopping is booming and has been since the pandemic, so many of those who sell online are looking for the most efficient way to expand their businesses globally.

''Last year, we recorded a sevenfold increase in income. Since taxes are part of almost all online payment transactions, more and more companies are ready to switch to Fonoa's platform, and the value of online payment transactions is expected to reach 8.5 trillion dollars in 2022,'' says Tremac, explaining that with the development of their business, they noticed that a large number of companies wanting to reduce their operating costs and increase their levels of efficiency in the field of indirect tax management.

At the same time, they noticed that countries around the world were passing new regulations related to VAT, which leads to an increased demand for the tax compliance of companies. He emphasises that Fonoa provides the only tax software solution designed for use in the digital age.

''We make sure that companies pay the correct amount of taxes, that they're paid to the right place and at the right time, and they can devote themselves to their business. We're extremely glad that Coatue and other investors have supported our vision and are aware of the enormous opportunities that await us this year and in the coming years,'' says Tremac.

Lucas Swisher, a partner at Coatue Fund, says that regulatory compliance is essential for companies to expand internationally, and tax management, processing and filing are extremely complex processes.

''When we met Davor, Filip, Ivan and the rest of their team, we were taken aback by the simplicity and efficiency of Fonoa's platform, which turns an extremely complex process into something very simple and easily feasible. All of us at Coatue are excited to support Fonoa in scaling the platform and meeting the growing demand for solutions that enable tax compliance,'' says Swisher.

Hannah Seal, a partner at Index Ventures, says managing taxes is navigating the bureaucratic maze of a country and represents a real nightmare for anyone trying to build a business with customers around the world.

''The Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa makes it all very simple. Companies are aligned with existing regulations and don't have to deal with increasingly complex international taxes. This platform is an obvious choice for any digital company that operates outside the borders of its country,'' says Seal.

''We're really glad to be able to support the top team which make up Fonoa. I'm looking forward to working with Davor, Filip and Ivan to further attract outstanding talent and deliver technology to companies around the world,'' says Mutafchieva. Tremac says that in the next year to a year and a half, Fonoa plans to present some new products in its field of activities.

''In order to achieve this, over the last twelve months, the company has quintupled the number of employees to 140 people of 35 different nationalities in 20 countries around the world and this year it intends to close things with even more employees,'' concludes Tremac.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 2 May 2022

Colombian-Croatian Startup Minka Gets Enormous Investment

May the 2nd, 2022 - The Colombian-Croatian startup Minka, the head of which is a former ''Infobiper'' from the wildly successful Vodnjan-based company, has recently received a huge cash injection.

As Jutarnji/Novac/Bernard Ivezic writes, new startups have already started emerging from the rather remarkable company Infobip. A good example is the Colombian-Croatian startup Minka, a fintech company which has just raised a huge 24 million US dollars in investments from two major investors, Tiger Global Management and Kaszek. In total, Minka has received 27.5 million dollars in investments so far.

Tiger Global Management is otherwise one of the largest and most active investors in startups. The assets of this American investment company are estimated at over 95 billion dollars, and its founder is New York billionaire Chase Coleman III. Kaszek, on the other hand, is the largest investment company in all of Latin America.

The Colombian-Croatian startup Mika is developing software to modernise the banking system. Its product is a cloud platform which bears the same name (Minka), and which functions like Lego bricks and enables the fast development of applications such as mobile wallets, loyalty programmes, clearing house settlement systems, and various types of infrastructure for central banks and digital banks themselves.

The Colombian-Croatian startup Minka allows both citizens and companies to exchange money between their bank accounts instantly, which, even here in Croatia, isn't yet a widespread standard.

Infobip as a starting point

In the background of Minka lies the much talked about blockchain technology, so its investment is also the largest in a blockchain startup from Croatian founders. Minka's partners are respectable, giant companies such as Google and Mastercard, and the latter is also its investor. Minka was jointly launched by Croatian Domagoj Rozic and Colombian Paola Sanchez. Rozic is the executive director, and Sanchez, who has extensive experience in finance, is the chief operative.

Domagoj Rozic was Infobip's main man for Latin America for almost three years, more precisely from 2013 to 2016. He ran a very important Infobip office in Colombia. He completed his education at MIOC, ie XV. Gymnasium in Zagreb, and then went on to study and graduate in computer science at FER. He started his career as an IT manager in the Control Bureau, then he was a training manager in the IT Centre Zagreb, a project manager in Adacta, and just before leaving for Colombia, he became a partner in Cognita.

He initially left Croatia back in 2011 when he took over the leading position of the British branch of the risk assessment company Drum Cussaca in Bogota. Two and a half years later, he moved to the local branch of Infobip, which us the first Croatian unicorn startup today. He started at Minka at the end of 2016, and the company formally introduces itself as a startup from Bogota, but is legally registered as a company in Delaware, USA.

The entire development of technology, as well as products for the Colombian-Croatian startup Minka, takes place right here in Croatia. Formally, back in February this year, Rozic even registered the company Minka IT in Zavrtnica in the centre of the City of Zagreb, as a subsidiary of its American parent company. There is a support and sales team in Bogota, Colombia. The startup has a total of 30 employees.

Google has nothing but praise for this company 

Google Cloud states that the Colombian-Croatian startup Minka is a platform that allows financial institutions to quickly move to so-called open banking, claiming that through Minka, digital financial services can be developed in mere days, not years. Google Cloud itself states that the whole solution can be upgraded within 10 minutes and then live testing can begin within a single day. These are very bold statements from Google, because the development of financial applications is usually measured in months and years, which only goes to show the level that Minka has reached.

The Colombian-Croatian startup Minka, on the other hand, says they want to become an open banking standard for cash-based economies.

''In most such economies, payment and infrastructure is mostly focused on credit card processing, and most transactions take place through clearing houses and cash agents that use what are now rather outdated concepts. The development of new interfaces takes months and years and forces fintechs to spend most of their resources on overcoming this obstacle. In addition, the payment system in such economies is largely fragmented. Minka simplifies everything,'' they explained from the Colombian-Croatian startup.

The largest open banking project in all of Latin America

As an example of what this form of modernisation looks like, Domagoj Rozic pointed out the Colombian clearing house ACH Columbia, with which they realised the Transifiya project in partnership. The largest banks in Colombia are connected to it, and this new settlement system, which uses Minika's technology in the background, now allows access to up to 80 percent of Colombia's bank accounts. This means that thanks to Minka, almost all Colombians can send money from account to account in real time, without waiting for the clearing house, for example, to transfer funds between banks twice a day on weekdays.

''This is the largest open banking project in Latin America,'' Rozic said.

Here in the Republic of Croatia, the counterpart of ACH Columbia would be the Financial Agency (Fina). Across the EU, a similar initiative, but through regulations, is being pushed by the European Commission (EC). The EC has adopted the PSD2 standard, which forces European Union-based financial institutions to evolve towards open banking. This opened the space for an explosion of different Croatian fintechs, as well as for the entry of some great foreign players.

In Europe, most work is being done on standardisation in this area within associations such as Open Banking UK and the Berlin Group, and in Croatia, recently more and more startups like Minka are exploring the opportunities they have gained and offering some brand new services - not only financial ones but also, for example, identity and digital signing services.

Finance as the first association

For Croatian startups, Colombia is a pretty decent place. Although the country itself has a reputation for a completely different industry and for being a politically very turbulent region, for Croatian startups, this South American country is best known for its financial industry. Infobip has built a strong presence over in Latin America thanks in large part to its Bogota branch. However, it should be remembered that the second Croatian unicorn, the Rimac Group, found its first investor in Colombia, at a time when no one in Croatia wanted to invest in Mate Rimac's business and barely even gave him a second glance.

Bogota’s business angel, Franck Christian Kanayet Yepes, despite the entry of major investors into Rimac’s business over the past few years, has remained active within the group and is today chairman of its supervisory board.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Split Startup Alpha Sagittarius Creates Dual-Purpose Drone

April the 25th, 2022 - The Split startup Alpha Sagittarius, made up of a group of talented students, has created drones for both military and civilian purposes. They say they've been receiving inquiries ever since the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, eight students from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture in Split (FESB) who make up the Split startup Alpha Sagittarius, have designed and created the VECTOR V-3M unmanned system under the Aero-Navis Systems brand, part of which is an unmanned aerial vehicle of modular design and intended for dual use, ie for civil and military purposes.

Modular construction

"One socially useful purpose for drones is search and rescue, the control of land and maritime traffic, fire control, and the delivery of emergency medical supplies such as vaccines to remote locations. The drone is commercially used in the industry for the supervision and inspection of buildings, mines, power plants, gas pipelines, transmission lines, various gas emissions, etc. These are all activities in which unmanned systems are already used,'' explained CEO and Chief Engineer, Djani Vrsalovic.

The system also includes communication equipment, control equipment, mission management equipment, transport and service equipment and a launcher. Their drone can fly for three hours in a row, while with the multirotor configuration, it is able to fly for 30-40 minutes, and its range is defined by its own communication systems.

HD images are transmitted up to 50 kilometres, and the control and telemetry lasts for approximately 100 kilometres. The Split startup Alpha Sagittarius' drone is autonomous in performing various tasks, meaning it can be programmed to perform some tasks entirely independently.

“Our unmanned aerial vehicle is in the shape of flying wings, but there's the possibility of mounting modules with rotors on the wings, which turn it into a VTOL drone (an aircraft that can take off and land vertically).

We're planning a third version where the wings can be replaced with two multirotor modules on each side, each with four rotors. As such, the drone would become a classic multirotor. It's also possible to change the load, depending on the type of mission that needs to be performed. This gives a modular construction of the system that then provides great flexibility in use.

For example, let's say one journey requires a lot of hovering, vertical flights at short range for the purpose of the detailed survey of buildings or bridges, while the next day, there may be a need to record or take something to let's say... Vis, using fixed wings that provide a long range but need a landing surface and takeoff. VTOL would then be in the middle in terms of its characteristics. The system is available on the market with the drone in the basic version with a fixed wing. We're now nearing the end of the development of the VTOL version, the multirotor is conceptually complex, but it's what naturally follows in terms of finalisation. We also worked a lot on the communication systems and the control systems. We've never done a formal presentation to the market and a launch, but we've started to offer it to potential buyers,'' explained Vrsalovic.

The Split startup Alpha Sagittarius procures materials and equipment from all over the world, and they have experienced disruptions in the supply and production chains on their own proverbial skin, meaning some components are harder to come by. The technology is entirely theirs - they designed, manufactured, tested and fly it themselves. In addition to their drone, they also worked on the communication themselves, as well as the control station and much more.

Complex regulations remain dominant

According to Vrsalovic, the Croatian regulations on unmanned aerial vehicles are complex, as they are across the territory of the European Union. The rules, added Djani, are constantly changing because the market is also changing, technology is advancing rapidly and legislators need to keep up with it all, which means constant dynamics and alterations when it comes to drone regulations.

"There aren't many drone producers here in Croatia, so the agencies don't have a clear path when it comes to what, when, how and why. It's somewhat clear for drone users, but it's a little harder for manufacturers. Certification is a special challenge for BVLOS operations, which means operations out of sight when the pilot doesn't see the aircraft, but is operating it only remotely, and at long distances,'' he explained.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, interest in such systems has grown globally, we have witnessed the crash of an unmanned aircraft in the centre of Zagreb, and Vrsalovic says that they have already had several inquiries about the Split startup Alpha Sagittarius' unmanned system outside of the borders of the Republic of Croatia.

"It's difficult to reach state services, agencies and ministries here on our market. There's a lot of hesitation when it comes to accessing some advanced technologies and startup companies are struggling to get to the necessary government services. During the Homeland War, Croatia was one of the pioneers in the use of unmanned systems, but we forgot this technology as time passed and we didn't use our acquired knowledge. Now we've started from the very beginning in some areas,'' stated the director of the Split startup Alpha Sagittarius.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Big Croatian IT Names Invest in Longevity Food Tech Startup Cidrani

April the the 9th, 2022 - The Croatian longevity food tech startup Cidrani has received investments from some big Croatian IT names, including the person behind the wildly successful Photomath.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian longevity food tech startup Cidrani recently presented a new investment round worth 190,000 euros within the Bird incubator, under the auspices of which it has been operating for the last year.

New investors in Cidrani are some very well-known Croatian IT and business names, including the founders of Five, Luka Abrus and Viktor Marohnic, the founder of Photomath Damir Sabor, private equity and venture capital investment expert Mirna Marovic, financial expert specialising in the IT industry and EU grants Tajana Barancic and serial entrepreneurs and business angels Maja and Jonathan Cooper.

Cidrani has imposed a unique concept of organic fermented micronutrients for the health of the digestive microbiome which, if taken as a daily ritual over a long period of time, significantly reduce inflammatory processes in the body and contribute to healthier longevity.

They want to conquer the American market

In terms of revenue, Cidrani is growing at an annual rate of eight times, and their goal is to become the top longevity company in the world. They were the first to introduce personalisation and a monthly subscription to fermented micro-beverages, and in addition to numerous private users, more than ten companies have already included their employees in the community of Cidrani enthusiasts of healthy digestion.

"This year we intend to enter all European markets and enter the large US market. We plan to participate in as many as five of the strongest food fairs, and we're launching our own scientific clinical study, which will further confirm the impact of fermented micro-beverages on general health. We're also working intensively on the development of artificial intelligence (AI), the foundation of a virtual assistant that will support our customers on the path to health and longevity,'' said co-founder Bruno Balen.

Investors Luka Abrus, Mirna Marovic, Tajana Barancic, Maja Jelisic Cooper and the co-founder of Cidrani Nika Pintar revealed at a recently held panel some of their personal and professional reasons behind why they decided to invest in Cidrani, and also talked about the general principles of investing and attracting investments.

The investment of 190,000 euros from some big Croatian IT and business names in Cidrani represents the so-called ''bridge round'' of this progressive startup, which is announcing a new investment cycle at the end of the summer, in order to conquer the US market and further develop machine learning algorithms.

For more, check out our business section.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Croatian SeaCras Among 16 Startups to Pitch in Brussels for Investment

March the 24th, 2022 - The Croatian SeaCras startup is going to be among sixteen startups to pitch for a significant investment in the Belgian capital of Brussels.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian SeaCras startup has made its way into the competition of 1000 startups to the finals of the elite BlueInvest 2022 programme, which will take place in Brussels on March the 28th, 2022. It is the only Croatian startup in the field of the blue economy that was selected to join the group of sixteen startups at BlueInvest Day 2022, where they will pitch for a significant investment.

Today, coastal waters are the areas where the most extensive activities of the blue economy take place and are placed under the greatest anthropogenic stress. In order to meet the ambitious criteria set by the European Commission (EC) under the Water Framework Directive and the European Green Plan, scalable, low-carbon digital solutions that monitor water and sea quality are needed.

Such a solution was developed by the Croatian SeaCras startup, alumni of ZICER's Startup Factory acceleration programme.

Economic development and the conservation of marine ecosystems

The Croatian SeaCras startup is one of the winners of Startup Factory 2021, and for the past year, this young team of scientists has been enjoying success after success. The latest among them is entering the finals of the prestigious BlueInvest 2022 programme, which will once again bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, corporations and all important stakeholders in the blue economy sector in the Belgian and EU capital of Brussels.

The blue economy places great emphasis on sustainability in terms of balancing economic development and conserving marine ecosystems. Aquaculture, tourism, maritime transport, wastewater discharge and biodiversity are just some of the segments involved.

From Startup Factory to BlueInvest Day

“After Startup Factory, we joined BlueInvest Readiness Assistance, a programme established by the European Commission to further develop the blue economy. It is an exclusive mentoring programme for startups and high-potential projects that have innovative and sustainable solutions for the blue economy. SeaCras' ​​analysis of satellite data plays a key role in the blue economy thanks to the possibilities provided by the high spatio-temporal monitoring of coastal sea quality. The fact that we entered the programme of the sixth cycle of BlueInvest as the only project from Croatia is a huge success. Given that each company had its own individual mentor, we had no insight into the quality or dynamics of the work of any of the other teams. At the end of the programme, we delivered the achieved key goals. This was followed by an evaluation of the goals and business plan by the PricewaterhouseCoopers team leading the BlueInvest programme,'' explained Tomislav Stolar, the co-owner and marketing director of the Croatian SeaCras startup.

They were selected among an elite group consisting of sixteen companies in the field of blue economy and the four best companies in Europe in the field of Ocean Observation.

"We also received an invitation to participate in the BlueInvest Day 2022, which is being held in Brussels in front of the most relevant private investors and representatives of European investment funds specific to the blue economy. In the shortlist for the sixteen companies that received the invitation for BlueInvest Day 2022, there were over 200 companies, and in the wider circle there were over 1000 of them! If we put modesty to the side, this is an unprecedented success for a Croatian company in the field of blue economy,'' Stolar pointed out.

An impressive win at Startup Factory 2020

It has been a little over one year since the Croatian SeaCras startup received 100,000 kuna in the finals of ZICER's Startup Factory 2020 as one of the winning teams.

“Startup Factory meant a lot to us for several reasons. Through participating in the programme, we gained more know-how and raised awareness of what's needed to achieve a successful startup story. Considering that we were one of the winners, the SeaCras brand gained recognition across the Republic of Croatia. In addition to that, with financial support, we've developed a SeaCras development strategy,'' said Stolar.

Successful projects are backed by successful teams of people. The SeaCras team consists of experts, namely Dr. Mario Spadina, Dr. Stipe Lukin, M.Sc. chem. Tomislav Stolar, M.Sc. psych. Drazen Nikolic and mag. oec. Davor Blazencic.

A vision of the future and a message for the wider Croatian tourism sector

"We have the opportunity to secure a large investment and we certainly don't intend to miss out on it. In addition, we recently signed the first commercial contracts on the Adriatic, starting with Mljet National Park, and we look forward to providing top services. We're receiving very positive reactions and feedback from all sides and we're in contact with several other clients,'' noted Stolar, pointing out that the motivation of the Croatian SeaCras startup is to be an example of the implementation of the European Green Plan in Croatia.

“Within the digital and green transition and sustainable development in the Republic of Croatia, SeaCras offers added value that has great potential for the Croatian tourism sector. For example, data show that highlighting the excellent quality of the sea brings a 5 percent increase in the number of guests,'' Stolar stated.

They say that in five years, they will see themselves in the role of market leaders in their market segment and intend to do business across all Mediterranean countries.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Cro Startup: Croatian Startups Finally Get Their Own Association

March the 9th, 2022 - Croatian startups, of which there are more and more over the last few years, now finally have their very own association - Cro Startup.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, the Republic of Croatia is the only European Union (EU) member state that doesn't, at least until now, have a proper startup association. Heidi Chenan, the co-founder and director of the airt startup, was aware of this when she represented Croatia at the Startup Nations Standard of Excellence Declaration.

Therefore, at the initiative of CISEx, important stakeholders of the Croatian startup community gathered and launched the first umbrella national startup association, Cro Startup, which was proudly presented recently at the Bird Incubator, with the aim of improving the Croatian startup ecosystem as a whole.

The exact number of Croatian startups is actually unknown

They say from the newly formed Cro Startup association that they want to help anyone who already has a startup or wants to do so through tips and experiences and connecting them here on the the domestic market as well as abroad.

“None of the existing associations is focused exclusively on startups, nor do they really include startups from across all areas and industries. The Croatian startup scene is experiencing a kind of momentum. In less than two years, we've become a country with two unicorns (Infobip and Rimac Automobili), we're witnessing a large number of startups that are stringing together ''overnight'' successes and the almost daily emergence of even more new startups. However, everyone works and succeeds not because of the supportive environment in Croatia, but in spite of it. The goal of the EU is to position itself as a driving force for startups, so that we can reach the levels of America and Asia. That is why we concluded that Croatian startups deserve such an association,'' said Cenan.

Although it isn't known exactly how many startups there are operating here in Croatia at the moment, the new Cro Startup association pointed out that the goal is to attract the entire ecosystem, not just technology companies and a number of companies and institutions such as incubators, accelerators and of course investment funds.

Davor Runje, president of CISEx, emphasised that startups aren't just all about software companies and that not all technology companies are necessarily startups, which is one of the reasons why he supported the Cro Startup initiative in the first place.

A brand new VC fund and larger assets

Removing regulatory barriers, pooling resources and knowledge, strengthening the startup community through promotion, connecting and exchanging knowledge and experiences, and international positioning through mapping and promoting the Croatian startup scene to foreign investors and global events are some of the key areas and focuses of the Cro Startup association.

The Board of Directors consists of Hajdi Cenan (airt), President of the Association, Srdjan Kovacevic (Orqa), Nikola Pavesic (Infobip), Bozidar Pavlovic (Jackie agency), Maja Brkljacic (AlgebraLAB), Mario Francesevic (CISEx/SeekandHit), Darko Jovisic (Robotiq. ai), Marijana Sarolic Robic (MSR Law Office).

“A Croatian startup is equally a global startup. Startups are scalable companies that can replicate business models without any problems almost anywhere, globally, and their headquarters is less important,'' said Sarolic Robic.

The event was also attended by Vedran Blagus and Stevica Kuharski from the leading regional VC fund - South Central Ventures - which announced recently that it is launching a new SCV Technology Fund III and increasing its assets by 70 million euros. Institutional and private investors have also invested in the new fund, the largest being the European Investment Fund (EIF), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Triglav Osiguranje (Insurance) and BTC, while the Croatian investors include Five and Nenad Bakic.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

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