Saturday, 20 November 2021

Filip Koprcina Runs Startup Aimed at Lessening Climate Change Consequences

November the 20th, 2021 - Young Croat Filip Koprcina runs a startup which has the primary aim of lessening the dire consequences of climate change, which is as much of a threat now as ever.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Filip Koprcina has always been interested in renewable energy sources and environmental protection, and he decided to act strongly on this issue. This 25-year-old Croat runs a successful startup called Energy Shift, a platform that allows people to invest and co-own solar power plants. contribute to the environment and generate revenue. He wanted, as he says, to make a change here in Croatia and the European Union, and then on a global level.

“People have the opportunity to make a profit of 10-15 percent per year while reducing their CO2 emissions. We currently have more than 1000 European citizens who have expressed their interest in investing more than 15 million kuna into solar energy. I used European youth programmes and through Erasmus for young entrepreneurs I worked in Ukraine for three months with a company that installs solar panels. There I learned how the whole process of installing solar panels works, how to install panels and a few so-called ''tips & tricks'' of the energy business.  For the past 12 months, I've volunteered in Cyprus through the European Solidarity Force (ESF), with the aim of raising awareness of sustainable development goals,'' said Filip Koprcina, who is currently the EU Climate Pact Ambassador.

For his platform, Filip received the European Union Sustainable Energy Award for the democratisation of solar energy ownership, in the Youth Energy category.

''Back in May this year, we received an initial investment from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) through their Digital venture programme. We're currently negotiating with several international investors about the next round of financing. We want to open new markets and expand throughout Europe,'' revealed Filip Koprcina.

He says that many citizens can install solar panels on the roof of their house, but they can't be very competitive in terms of earnings due to the current Croatian laws and those beyond the country's borders. Despite those obstacles, this young man has a vision and an idea of ​​how to stimulate the Croatian economy and create new green jobs in Croatia through investments in renewable energy.

''The return on investment varies from country to country. It depends on the general price of electricity, the amount of sunshine that the country/location gets, but in general the return is between 15-25 percent. For example, in Croatia we have 220-250 sunny days, while in Cyprus there are typically 320-340 sunny days a year, while the price of electricity is twice as high as it is here in Croatia. At the moment, there's no discussion about the possibilities and cost-effectiveness of solar energy in the first place. Last year, Croatia imported 40 percent of the electricity we consumed, and only 1 percent of the energy we produce comes from solar power plants. We also import oil and coal and gas, which we need for the production of electricity, and we allocate over 12 billion kuna a year for that alone. Solar energy is also a fantastic investment in the long run because solar panels produce energy and have guarantees of 20-30 years, while many solar panels produce energy even after 40 years,'' Filipa Koprcina pointed out.

He also noted that Croatia hasn't invested significantly in energy projects in the last 30 years, and that HEP's profit goes to the state budget instead of, for example, to new investments and capacities.

"Croatia is an energy-dependent country. We import about 50 percent of our energy worth up to 12 billion kuna. Of that, we import 100 percent of our coal, 90 percent of our oil, 70 percent of our gas and about 40 percent of our electricity. Croatia has almost no industry, and, according to Worldometers, our share in global greenhouse gas emissions is 0.05 percent, while in the EU we have the 4th lowest carbon footprint of all member states.

During the COP in Glasgow, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced the cessation of coal energy production at the Plomin thermal power plants by 2033 at the latest, which will further reduce our CO2 emissions. Currently, 75 percent of the carbon emissions in the EU come from energy production and use, while the EU as a whole is dependent on energy imports, mostly oil and gas. The EU imports 73 percent of its oil and 15 percent of its gas, and the largest supplier of all is Russia, which can geopolitically influence EU policies.

That's why Croatia has started the LNG terminal project on Krk, and that's why the entire EU wants to become an energy-neutral bloc. One proposal I made as a member of the Technical Working Group at the UN High-Level Dialogue, and I'd now like to give it to the Croatian Government, is to abolish the tax on investments in renewable energy (VAT + customs duties on equipment imports). This would immediately reduce the investment costs of companies and individuals by 25-30 percent, and would increase the return on investment, thereby simply increasing investment in the energy sector,'' explained Filip Koprcina.

This energy-conscious entrepreneur wants Energy Shift to become the leading platform through which individuals invest in the world’s long-term renewable energy, to contribute to the energy transition. In addition, he has a great desire for his company to become a new Croatian ''unicorn''.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Varazdin Startup Identyum First in Croatia to Get ISO 27701 Certificate

November the 19th, 2021 - The Varazdin startup Identyum is the first and currently the only company in the Republic of Croatia to possess a special certificate, commonly referred to as the GDPR certificate.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Varazdin startup Identyum Consortium, the creator of the Identyum digital ID wallet, is the first in all of Croatia to be accredited with the prestigious ISO 27701 certificate, also known as the "GDPR certificate for companies".

It confirms that the Varazdin startup Identyum manages the security of personal data of its users in accordance with best information security practices and is fully compliant with the provisions of the GDPR, ie the General Regulation on Personal Data Protection.

"For Identyum, this certificate is of particular importance because it proves that the protection of personal data of users is an absolute priority, which raises the level of trust of end users that their data will be protected," they said from the startup, which is celebrating three years of business this November.

This latest accreditation is a supplement to the ISO 27001 certificate, which the Varazdin startup Identyum met the criteria for back in August this year. It is designed for companies that manage and process users' personal data, and requires them to address specific risks, including those related to personal data and privacy. ''This achievement confirms the seriousness with which we treat information security within our company. Our internal processes are strictly adjusted to the highest international security standards,'' said Identyum's director Robert Ilijas.

According to the ISO Survey for the year 2020, 321 companies in Croatia were certified to the ISO 27001 standard last year, but so far only Identyum has been certified to the ISO 27701 standard.

Their 21st century digital ID card allows people to sign digital documents using their mobile devices and store personal information. In doing so, Identyum's system is designed so that it cannot access the personal data of users stored in their ID wallets. The specified data is always under the exclusive control of end users because during each storage they are encrypted with the user's PIN, making them inaccessible to anyone, until the user explicitly allows access to that personal data, meaning that they must first give consent and enter the PIN, allowing the decryption of their data for exactly the recipient to whom they allowed access.

Last year, the Varazdin startuo Identyum was also the first in all of Croatia and the region to receive a license from the Croatian National Bank (CNB) to provide account information services. They have thus successfully completed the process of “passporting” their AISP license and enrolling in the EBA Electronic Register. A company licensed as an AISP, after obtaining explicit consent from the end user, may link to their bank account and use their bank details to provide other financial services.

After fulfilling all of the stringent the conditions, Identyum was able to provide information services in 30 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Latvia, Lithuania , Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovenia, Slovakia and of course Croatia.

They also announced that they will present even more good news in the next few months, and the goal, as they conclude, is to contribute to the ongoing digital transformation of Croatia.

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

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Croatian Memgraph Company Celebrates Expansion and Investment

October the 17th, 2021 - The Croatian Memgraph company has been going from strength to strength of late, and further expansion as well as investments are currently being celebrated by this successful domestic company which hasn't even been on the scene for that long.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ivan Tominac writes, as recently as last week, the successful Croatian Memgraph startup announced an investment of 9.34 million US dollars.

The fact that investments accelerate various processes in business ventures isn't something new, so the Croatian Memgraph startup is planning some new moves that will further strengthen their already impressive market position. As they pointed out from the company at the very beginning, the process of finding an investment was long and challenging, but in the end - it was successful.

The situation with the coronavirus pandemic didn't succeed in demotivating them either, so they, led by a strong desire for progress, managed to find some kind of partners on the path to building success.

“The process of finding investment and new investors has been long and challenging, especially throughout the challenging coronavirus crisis and the uncertainty that came with it. Yet, in M12, Heavybit, IQT and other new investors joining us, we've found some ideal partners who are excited about the development of Memgraph, the opportunities we provide and the direction we're heading in. This investment will enable further product development and see us strengthen and expand our team,'' said Memgraph's Dominik Tomicevic.

When it comes to their technology, the Croatian Memgraph company has so far helped thousands of developers and engineers and brought them closer to the world of graph theory and provided insight into data they didn't have before.

"In addition to individual engineers, Memgraph also works with some of the world's leading production companies in the field of chemistry, as well as the world's leading financial institutions," added Tomicevic. The powerful analytical capabilities brought by data flows and graphs before the arrival of Memgraph were reserved for a group of “big tech” companies, and with Memgraph, everyone else can have their fair share of that formerly rather exclusive pie.

This technology is of strategic importance for a group of technology companies called FAANG - Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google, but also for companies like LSI Chemical. It is a global leader in the chemical research and development industry, and Memgraph has enabled them to improve their production systems.

“Memgraph has enabled us to create powerful models of entire production systems using a database graph, which has been a major business innovation for us. Memgraph's graphical analysis has enabled us to better understand our own processes, optimise them and make the right decisions to provide the best possible service for our customers,'' said Tobias Merz, the director of Global Operating Technologies at LSI. The aforementioned investment will also work to shake the status quo significantly, and will lead to yet more development for Memgraph.

Memgraph 2.0 primarily brings new data entry capabilities through data flow technologies (e.g. Apache Kafka), all this is on top of the static data that has so far been possible to enter (CSV files and so on).

“As a result, engineers will now be able to build their applications and have data flows as a basis. In addition to that, Memgraph 2.0 is so-called source available, which means that the Memgraph Community Edition is available with a BSL license, which means that the code is open for personal and commercial use,'' explained Tomicevic.

It doesn't need to be stated that investments naturally lead to new business steps and more development, which most often results in further employment and as such a stronger economy. These are the steps Memgraph is taking as well.

''The goal of this round of funding is to expand and further strengthen our team. Although we employ people throughout Europe and have engineers from Greece to the Netherlands, the main engineering hub will remain right here in Croatia. Given the high priority of Cloud product development, that's where we'll employ primarily Frontend (Angular) and Backend (NodeJS) engineers who want to join a smaller but agile and fast team and launch Memgraph into the Cloud. We're also going to hire C / C ++ engineers for our core team working on core technology and products,'' said the Croatian Memgraph's director.

Graphs can do a lot more than we can imagine, and Memgraph decided to prove it, as this company's main goal is to change the way some of the world’s most difficult problems are solved using the power of graph theory. Therefore, as Memgraph's director Tomicevic concluded, their plans are to provide development engineers with access to tools and knowledge of graphs to improve their applications and business processes on the whole.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Croatian Startup RoomOrders Expanding to Spain, Turkey

October the 15th, 2021 - The Croatian startup RoomOrders, often referred to as the ''Croatian Glovo'' has experienced success and is now expanding to Spain and Turkish resorts.

As Bernard Ivezic/Novac/Jutarnji list writes, it isn't only the state and the tourism sector that have benefited from this year's remarkably (and surprisingly) good tourist season.

The Croatian startup RoomOrders won two major jobs in record time by introducing its platform for ordering food and other services via mobile phone, after testing the system this summer in the tourism sector here in Croatia.

Eugene Brcic Jones, the co-founder and CEO of RoomOrders, says they have worked mostly abroad in previous years. However, due to the record-breaking recovery of tourism in Croatia, they focused on the local market this year, and thankfully it well and truly paid off.

''Based on our experience in Croatia, we're introducing our system in a large resort in Bodrum, Turkey, which has seventeen restaurants, including a water park, apartments, and a marina, we're also doing the same in Kempinsky's resort in Marbella, Spain,'' explained Brcic Jones.

He added that after last year, which the global coronavirus pandemic turned into the worst imaginable for the tourism sector so far, they found a way to turn the model used by Bolt, Glovo and Uber into a tool for increasing the profitability of the tourism industry and importing offers in various destinations. They introduced billing within the application (app) itself, meaning that they added a fintech component to it.

''We're aware that there are mobile apps that allow the ordering of food and services, but only to your home or other (residential) addresses. RoomOrders is, I believe, the first in the world to introduce ordering via QR code to hotels and now we've expanded it so that guests throughout the entire hospitality ecosystem can order what they want,'' said Brcic Jones.

This includes resorts, hotels, restaurants, cafes and other catering and hospitality facilities.

The Croatian startup RoomOrders started up six years ago as an app for ordering food from your hotel room, but not only from the hotel's own restaurant(s) but also from restaurants in the local area. Most hotel kitchens don't work non-stop, and delivery, unless otherwise agreed with them, isn't typically allowed.

Soon after getting their feet off the ground, the Croatian startup RoomOrders got its first user - the Hilton Hotel in Boston. This was followed by the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, and then the list included numerous hotels from Fiji, through to Sydney, Singapore, Dubai, Athens, London, Warsaw, Barcelona and more, as well as large hotels across America. Today, they have contracts with 300 hotels and catering/hospitality establishments on all continents except South America. Payment is made through the hotel, meaning that guests can order food only from the establishments with whom the hotel has a contract. The hotel and RoomOrders thus receive a fee, and the guest pays for the service when going to the reception.

Brcic Jones says the coronavirus pandemic hit them like the rest of the tourism industry, and they projected revenue of one million euros this year, but they will have to wait for that to materialise, especially given the fact that tourism on a global scale has not recovered nearly as fast as it has here in Croatia.

''More than 50 percent of our hotels still aren't working at all or are far below their usual capacity, so they're not using RoomOrders,'' said Brcic Jones.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Croatian startup RoomOrders focused on tourist players across the Republic of Croatia and globally on various resorts. The director of RoomOrders says they recently introduced a mobile ordering service from any location in a hotel or resort.

''According to the initial results from the Sheraton hotel in Dubrovnik, which offered this service for ordering from swimming pools and beaches in August, the results are fantastic,'' said Brcic Jones. In addition to all of that, RoomOrders has expanded into digital menus, making sure to keep up with an increasingly digital world.

''Several countries, including Croatia, have introduced measures during the coronavirus pandemic that require hard menus to be removed from the table and sanitised each time. Or to simply replace them with digital menus,'' said Brcic Jones, adding that the interest in digital menus is strong and that he believes that it will remain as such even after the crisis, maybe even officially.

He stated that they're currently in a pilot project with Zagrebacka pivovara (Zagreb Brewery), and they are jointly introducing digital menus across 4,000 stores in Croatia.

''You can already see them in Bonita on Cvjetni trg (Flower square) in Zagreb and in the Swanky bar in Ilica, and all you need to do is scan the QR code with the sticker on the table. All this is part of building a digital hospitality ecosystem based on QR ordering and mobile payment, which already exists in China, where payments are made via WeChat, an app which is similar to WhatsApp, so you don't need to carry a wallet at all,'' concluded Brcic Jones.

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

Friday, 8 October 2021

Memgraph: Microsoft's M12 Fund Participated in Investment in Startup

October the 8th, 2021 - The five-year-old Croatian startup Memgraph has received a handsome amount in the form of an investment from no less than Microsoft's M12 fund, as well as from other very well known and highly respected funds.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the promising Croatian startup Memgraph recently announced that they received a seed investment of an enormous 9.34 million US dollars, in which Microsoft's investment fund M12, Heavybit Industries, In-Q-Tel, Counterview Capital, ID4 Ventures and Mundi Ventures all readily participated.

The company's executive director, Dominik Tomicevic and technical director Marko Budiselic founded Memgraph just five years ago, and the idea was born out of the idea to provide significant analytical capabilities aided by graph databases. Since then, this Croatian startup has well and truly blossomed into something which is both recognisable and admired.

They then introduced the new Memgraph 2.0, a platform that allows developers, engineers, professionals and large companies and enthusiasts to programme their applications based on data flows and graphs in mere minutes. The Memgraph Community Edition (MCE) is available with a BSL (Business Source License) which means code openness in most situations, from personal to commercial.

They say from Memgraph that the money from this fantastic investment will be used for new development activities, the expansion of the development team and the community of developers and enthusiasts.

Although they employ people throughout Europe and have engineers in both Greece and the Netherlands, Memgraph's main hub will still remain in the Republic of Croatia.

''The goal of this round of funding is to expand and further strengthen our team. Given the fact that our higher priority is the development of Cloud products, we'll primarily employ Frontend (Angular) and Backend (NodeJS) engineers,'' explained Marko Srsan, Memgraph's chief operating officer.

For more on Croatian companies, startups, doing business and investments in Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated Made in Croatia and business sections.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Croatian Startup Meddox Draws in More Than 4000 Users in Two Months

October the 4th, 2021 - The Croatian startup scene is still blossoming despite the dire economic situation caused by the pandemic, and the Croatian startup Meddox has something to boast about, having attracting a massive 4000 users in just a couple of months.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Bernard Ivezic writes, the Croatian startup Meddox has attracted more than 4,000 users in a mere two months. The first mobile application (app) for storing medical records and one of the first Croatian healthcare startups quietly released its product on the Google Play Store at the end of the summer this year.

Off to a fantastic start, this startup is still growing, although something similar already exists in Croatia. The health portal, as part of the state IT system CEZIH, brings together medical documentation from examinations and tests performed in hospitals and other state healthcare institutions in one place.

Vesna Babic, the co-founder of the Croatian startup Meddox, says that they decided on a different approach and, instead of the healthcare system, they put the patients themselves at the centre of the story.

''Even in CEZIH, part of the documentation isn't available to all doctors that people visit, and documentation from private healthcare institutions can't be included in that system at all. The meaning of Meddox is that each of us has our medical documentation in one place and always with us, easily accessible on our mobile phones,'' says Babic.

She went on to explain that this important documentation is entered into the application in two ways. The first is by taking a photo, and the second is done by opening the document in the Meddox application, after which it processes it and makes it searchable.

''In this way, it becomes possible to store covid certificates, so many use our applications for that as well, and all the documentation is available at any time because it's stored in the cloud,'' Babic pointed out, adding that behind all this there is a broader meaning. According to a July McKinsey study, greater healthcare and more careful medication, or the more accurate monitoring of therapy, could reduce global health spending by up to 40 percent over a 20-year period. But this can only be done by people who are ''health literate''.

''With the Croatian startup Meddox, we want to enable people to take control of their health data and to improve their understanding of health information, and thus take better care of their own health,'' noted Babic.

As an example of that, Meddox's application offers a comparison of laboratory results of its users. As such, through easily understandable graphs, it shows an overview of the results in order to notice reduced or increased values ​​in time. Babic, who has worked in the world of pharmacies for almost two decades, says the application recognises more than 1,000 laboratory parametres. She emphasised that the idea for the app was initially conceived by business partner Maja Bogovic, who is the founder and director of the job search portal (TodayIWork) and a former manager with extensive experience in managing procurement at both Ipercoop and Konzum.

''Healthcare differs from country to country, but the needs of the patient are the same everywhere,'' Bogovic rightly noted.

Development took place during lockdown

She explained that she got the idea to develop the Croatian startup Meddox two years ago. After the Global Innovation Summit, at which the health and aging of the population was set as one of the most important segments of development in the next period, she began to think about which product everyone would need. It started to be realised last year when the lockdowns started due to the pandemic.

Vesna Babic explained that they developed the idea and then included experts, and even during in the summer, they had their first functional specification of the application and the framework design. Then they looked for investors.

''We presented the idea to family and friends and two of them invested in our startup. Then we founded companies and ordered the development of the application from the software company Blue Factory from Virovitica. In general, about a year passed from the idea to the placement of the application on the Google Play Store,'' concluded Babic.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Startup Factory: Zicer to Award Croatian Startups Additional 800,000 Kuna

September the 25th, 2021 - Croatian startups are set to get further financial boosts as a new cycle of the Startup Factory programme headed by Zicer (the Zagreb Innovation Centre) begins.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, the Zagreb Innovation Centre (Zicer) has launched applications for a new cycle of the popular Startup Factory programme, in which development teams and young startups are distributed grants in the amount of 800,000 kuna, with intensive educational, mentoring, promotional and infrastructural support. As stated in the announcement made by Zicer, the Startup Factory programme accelerates the development of technology-oriented teams and startups from across the country.

It helps in validation, market entry and access to first buyers and investors, and it is also an internationally awarded and the first such acceleration programme in all of Croatia. The programme is intensive and competitive in nature, all selected participants will receive knowledge through workshops, lectures and mentoring, and the best financial support from the City of Zagreb from a total fund of 800,000 kuna.

"Six years ago, we launched the first pre-acceleration programme in Croatia. Startup Factory has so far successfully passed 76 teams, and the best 28 startups also received non-refundable financial support for the development of their technological products in the amount of more than 3.5 million kuna. The intensive support we provide to future startups through this programme ensures progress in a short time. The programme is such that it requires fast and concrete results, more than 90 percent of startups that have passed the programme are now operating successfully. For them, Croatia is a small market, and they're out there conquering the world,'' pointed out Frane Sesnic, the director of Zicer and the initiator of the popular Startup Factory.

Teams or new Croatian startups developing high-tech solutions can apply to this year's Startup Factory, and the main recommended areas are healthcare and quality of life, energy and sustainable environment, transport and mobility, security and cyber security, food and bio-economy, education, robotics, fintech, tourism and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Croatian Agrivi Startup Strengthening Position on African Market

August the 28th, 2021 - The Croatian agritech Agrivi startup has entered into a partnership with CGES Group, which will strengthen its position on the African market.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the CGES group was looking for a digital solution for its clients from the agri-food industry over in Africa, and after the selection of the Agrivi startup through a new partnership, they plan to work together on projects to digitise agricultural production management in that part of the world.

''Agrivi's software is available worldwide, even in Africa, but through this collaboration, users will also receive support out in the field as the local presence will be further strengthened. Agrivi's shared knowledge and experience of digital agricultural solutions through a local partner will make it even more accessible in this area.

Through local activities, the partner will been shown all of the advantages for the digitalisation of agriculture, and we'll be able to help further develop agribusiness companies in South Africa by transforming and improving processes in agriculture and the food industry,'' they stated from the Croatian Agrivi startup.

The primary problems faced by African farmers are productivity and efficiency in achieving profitable and sustainable agricultural production, as well as stepping further afield, out into the global market.

They pointed out from the Agrivi startup that through monitoring the situations at hand with their digital tools, that farmers can simplify the certification process and facilitate market access. It's worth mentioning that the Croatian Agrivi startup operates across more than a hundred countries around the world, and their software solution is localised in a dozen foreign languages.

They have offices here in the Republic of Croatia, as well as in other European countries such as Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom. Through partners they are also present in South America, Africa and Asia, and in addition to Europe, their focus is also on the US market.

Global recognition

“Through workshops, seminars and conferences, we educate people about the digitalisation of agriculture and what the benefits for all stakeholders are, from farmers, companies to the end consumers. This summer, we also received recognition from the Food and Agriculture Organisation, which ranked the Agrivi startup among the finalists in the category of software for agricultural production management as part of the Digital Excellence in Agriculture event,'' they concluded from Agrivi.

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

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Croatian Startup Airt Presents Innovative New Learning Algorithm

July the 18th, 2021 - Innovative and unique Croatian startups keep on popping up all over the place, and the Croatian startup airt is just another in a line of impressive companies. This startup has presented a brand new learning algorithm.

As Novac/Ljubica Vuko writes, the Croatian startup airt, founded by Hajdi Cenan and Davor Runje, presented a new algorithm for learning and predicting behaviour from structured data, which is most often used in the business world, and applied for a patent for its global protection.

As they explained, the Croatian startip airt is building a platform for creating predictive models based on structured data such as, for example, that held by banks or communication service providers, and to process this data internally developed their own deep learning techniques inspired by methodologies used in language processing (NLP/Natural Language Processing).

They used their prior experience they had of working on specific problems from the financial sector to build a fully automated platform for the preparation of the transaction of the data and an automated model building for specific business problems.

In order to compare the quality of the platform, they decided to test and compare it with TabFormer, a system for the same purpose developed by IBM and for which it publicly published a synthetic data set for its testing. The initial test showed that the Airt model surpasses IBM's (F1-score 0.90 vs. 0.86). However, although the accuracy of the model prediction is important, they emphasise that it isn't the most important item for them.

''We believe we can do better than this result in terms of accuracy, but our primary focus isn't on making the most accurate and precise model, but on reducing the resources needed to build one such model automatically. The greatest successes of deep learning techniques have been achieved in the fields of image and text processing, and to make only one such top model requires thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars for the electricity used to make them,'' said Davor Runje.

He added that for such applications, it isn't a big problem because one model is enough for each language, however, when it comes to (many) models used in business, it is clear that there are few companies that could afford something like that.

''Our goal is to achieve almost identical results as these expensive models, but for much less money in order to make our solution available to everyone, from the smallest web shop to the largest financial institutions,'' said Runje.

With this approach, the Croatian startup airt has entered the "deep tech" domain, because the solution they're developing is based on significant scientific and engineering challenges.

''We're intensively engaged in research in and developing our own approaches and techniques. It was with the wholehearted help of Mladen Vukmir and William Zupancic from Vukmir & Associates that we submitted our first patent, which first goes to the EPO (European Patent Office), and then to the USA, for our own deep learning techniques on structured data. This is just the beginning because we aren't going to stop innovating,'' said Heidi Chenan.

The co-founders of "airt'' will also say that with this approach and innovation they are trying to improve the side of deep learning that isn't talked about too much yet, and that is the impact on the environment.

They say modern AI models consume an extremely large amount of energy. The computing resources needed to create the best models are increasing exponentially, doubling every 3.4 months, that is, in other words, in the period from 2012 to 2018, they increased as much as 300 thousand times.

''We're aware of the trace that deep learning leaves on ecology and how, if this trend continues, this technology can become an opponent in the fight against climate change. Therefore, we're working intensively to ensure that our system, in addition to scaling to the amount and speed, uses as little computer resources and energy as possible to process these large amounts of data,'' explained Cenan.

It's worth adding that digital transformation is one of the European Union's top priorities.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Pula Fizio Tech Startup Attracts Attention from Slovenia, Austria, Asia

June the 16th, 2021 - The Pula Fizio Tech startup, which is a med tech startup specialising in the aid of people with various problems regarding walking, has attracted attention from not only here in Europe but even from Asia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes, in its three years of existence, the Pula Fizio Tech startup has presented prototypes of its two technological solutions for healthcare to help people with walking problems - the Hip Rehabilitation Device (HRD) and Restep.

The Fizio Tech startup team includes mechanical engineers and development team leaders Filip Sironic, Martin Matijasic and Filip Nikolic, full stack developer Ivan Lakovic, electrical engineer Ariana Milasincic, PhD student in neuroscience Dea Salamon, and Petra Josipovic, the co-owner and project manager, who has a PhD in public health at the Medical School of the University of Ljubljana, she also graduated as a neurophysiotherapist and is a certified consultant for EU funds.

She began the story behind the Pula Fizio Tech startup as a project with Sironic during her studies when they developed the first functional prototype of HRD, a device for the therapeutic traction and vibration of the hip. The device was intended for use by people with painful hip conditions themselves, as well as for professional use for physiotherapists dealing with patients with such issues.

However, financial resources and time were needed in order to better dedicate themselves to the development and realisation of the idea, which they didn't have at the time. However, back in 2018, they founded a startup and started applying for tenders for the opportunity to get their hands on some money.

Market placement

A year later, they won the Moj Zaba Start competition, thanks to HRD.

“When we started with the HRD project, we invested everything we had on our own and started building value. When we got the resources from Moj Zaba Start, we decided to invest 120,000 kuna to apply for EU funds and provide 15% of the resources we had to cover, because the EU gives 85% in non-refundable cash.

The value of the project was 943,681.54 kuna. With these resources, we covered the IP application at the EU level, developed prototypes of HRD and Restep, developed a technical map for Restep and implemented QMS according to the ISO 13485 standard.

For HRD, we're currently developing a prototype iteration and conducting a clinical efficacy trial in people with coxarthrosis. We're looking for partners and resources for further development and commercialisation. We've also filed a patent application at the EU level for HRD, and for Restep, we're the owners of the right to a consensual patent,'' explains Josipovic.

Restep is a biofeed device for the treatment of orthopedic patients who have some damage to the leg.

It can also be used by physiotherapists when planning individual patient therapies, because Restep offers the possibility of an application that has the option of analysing gait parametres, which is very important for physiotherapists when coming up with a proper treatment plan.

"Restep can now theoretically be put on sale as a subject of general use, but what we still want is to improve the design and electronics according to the standards for medical products,'' explains Josipovic, who, along with the team, wants to place Restep on the market before the end of 2021, considering that due to the pandemic, business processes are still slowed down.

The Pula Fizo Tech startup works with the Technical Faculty in Pula and the Faculty of Health in Rijeka with which they made a Proof of Concept study, proving that the device works, and they're also present in Urban Rehabilitation surgeries in Pula, OrtoSpina Rijeka, the Kinetic Centre in Pula, Istarske toplice, the Special Hospital in Rovinj, and ReLab in Umag.

The founders of the Pula Fizio Tech startup state that they are open to cooperation with all institutions. There is also interest from potential partners from outside of the Republic of Croatia, agreements are underway with institutions from Slovenia, where they are already cooperating with a nursing home for the elderly. So far, they have received letters of intent from Croatian institutions, and they are also coming from Slovenia, Austria and Serbia. They're even negotiate with potential partners from as far away as Asia.

At the Pula Fizio Tech startup, they plan to hire a sales person soon and at least one more individual to assemble the devices, and there is no shortage of anything when it comes to their plans and ambitions for the future.

“We want to become a leader in the development of physiotherapy and rehabilitation equipment here in the region and beyond. Our long-term goal is to expand the business to prototyping services for clients and quality physiotherapy services where we'll apply our innovations, ie, in a healthcare institution that has its own clinical and research part along with production,'' concludes Petra Josipovic.

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