Tuesday, 24 January 2023

VeeMee: Largest Web Platform for Croatian Food Sales Coming Soon

January the 24th, 2023 - Despite being founded half a decade ago, the newly updated VeeMee platform is coming soon, and it aims to be the largest web platform for the sale of Croatian food yet.

As Josipa Ban/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the VeeMee platform, founded five years ago with the aim of increasing the competitiveness of domestic agricultural production, should be upgraded by the end of this year and thus become the largest market place, or online store of food produced in all of Croatia. This was announced by Marko Kozjak, the co-founder and director of VeeMee.

VeeMee has brought together more than thousands of Croatian food and agricultural producers, as well as some from Greece and Spain, and by the end of this year, Kozjak pointed out, all of them should have a unique online place to sell their products. The director of VeeMee explained that his main motive for starting the platform, which should be the largest in Croatia when it is launched, is the chaos that currently reigns strong in the online sale of local food.

"Just as an example, if someone wants to buy kale from a Croatian producer today, it can get extremely complicated for them. When they enter kale in the search engine, they'll get thousands of pieces of information about kale, but it will be difficult to find the actual producer, that is, the person from Croatia selling it.

VeeMee was conceived as a Google of sorts, but designed for people shopping for local food. When a consumer enters, again let's say kale, into our search engine, they will be able to select a region and get an overview of kale producers from that area, so they'll be able to buy their desired food easily and directly online.

Therefore, VeeMee's goal is to centralise the web shop, to unite manufacturers in one single place, because now they're scattered around and so often invisible to consumers," explained Kozjak. Currently, he stated, they're working on upgrading the VeeMee platform, on payment solutions and organising logistics.

"We want to enable more logistics options. We want to offer a solution to the route and cost of delivery to the small producers, and to the large ones the establishment of a central warehouse through which their sales would go," he said.

In addition to all of the above, for existing users who have a producer identity (PID) on the VeeMee platform, web sales would be a bonus as the price of the packages they currently pay for wouldn't increase, revealed Kozjak, adding that by launching a digital market place, their goal is to attract new, small producers who are want to carry out more web sales.

The additional competitiveness of the VeeMee platform is precisely the price, because the premium package paid by producers on the VeeMee platform is currently 300 euros per year, and when the market place, i.e. online sales, comes to life, the price will remain the same. VeeMee's solution should also increase internet sales achieved by Croatian agricultural products, which are currently very low, and which even the state platform Trznica.hr/Market.hr, launched back during the coronavirus pandemic, failed to increase.

''By setting up the VeeMee web shop, peoples' orders will arrive via SMS, WhatsApp or email, and the manufacturer will then have to confirm it,'' explained the co-founder of VeeMee, who, together with his former partner Nikola Vid, launched the first neutral identification of origin (PID) and thus made it possible (through a QR code) for customers to digitally check the product and manufacturer, i.e. where the products are coming from and what path the food they're planning consume has taken to arrive to them.

More than 25 thousand tonnes of food is ''sitting'' behind that QR code, which allows customers to easily check their food's origin and traceability. It is precisely this concept that gives them a sense of security because they know where their food originates and what path it has taken before arriving at their doorstep. The manufacturers, through marketing campaigns run by VeeMee, get to enjoy more visibility, and suppliers get a verified manufacturer and traceability of their goods.

"Last year, our visibility on social media increased by 36 percent to 700,000 people," Kozjak pointed out. In addition, he added, their entire concept contributes to socially useful goals, such as reducing the amount of wasted food and greenhouse gas emissions.

"With smart logistics, we save more than a thousand tonnes of food annually from being discarded, and we reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by that much," said Kozjak, emphasising that they're focused on the end result in everything they do, and the same will be true with the VeeMee web shop.

The company, whose primary goal is complete data transparency when it comes to domestic agricultural production, food traceability and increased production, finances all of its new projects from its own income.

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

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

Croatian Startup SimpleMatic Creates Solution for JGL Pharma Company

December the 13th, 2022 - The Croatian startup SimpleMatic has successfully designed a solution for one of the most irritating issues still faced by a large domestic pharma company.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, JGL, the very well-known Croatian pharmaceutical company, continues to face a very specific problem when it comes to the production process. Every four hours, as was explained by Mate Poropat, the director of JGL's pharmaceutical-technological operations, they have to change the sedimentation plates in the monitoring procedure. This process is still done manually and costs the company a lot of money and time.

"We want to automate that process in a simple way," said Poropat. Thanks to the Manufacturing Innovation Challenge (MIC) project, which is organised and implemented by the EIT Manufacturing Hub Croatia, they didn't have to wait very long for a solution to come running along. The Croatian startup SimpleMatic, consisting of Daniela Jaksic and Marko Brkljacic, came up with and designed a solution to this issue in a mere few weeks.

"Our solution is of great importance on a global level, because almost all pharmaceutical companies have to try and cope with the problem of manually changing sedimentation plates," explained Jaksic from the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry.

Knowledge and innovation

This example clearly shows how thin the line can be between a problem and a solution. However, it is only thin if the problem falls into the right hands - from industry to those of science. And they were brought together by the EIT Manufacturing Hub, one of ten such hubs in Europe whose goal is to create a network of European innovators in the field of manufacturing and to position Europe as a world leader in innovation in industry.

The EIT Manufacturing HUB in Croatia consists of the Centre for Research, Development and Technology Transfer of the University of Zagreb and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Shipbuilding. They implement a wide number of projects, including MIC, which connects manufacturing companies and startups.

"One of the key problems with startup teams is that they create products for which there's no market. At the same time, manufacturing companies have to face real challenges. It was logical to connect them both,'' explained Miro Hegedic, the co-coordinator in the Manufacturing Hub and an assistant professor at FSB.

Thanks to this project, JGL came to the solution they had been looking for for a long time, and the Croatian startup SimpleMatic got the opportunity to implement their innovation and develop globally. Another award-winning team that participated in the MIC competition - Integrators - who designed a solution for the giant company Podravka and their optimisation of the size of their production orders, also has such an opportunity on its hands.

More money

Those teams, awarded with 10,000 kuna, are two of the nine that participated in the competition. "We want to encourage the development of innovations through projects, including in regard to this competition," Hegedic pointed out.

The Republic of Croatia, which is unfortunately at the very back of the European Union (EU) in terms of innovation, will have a lot of work to do in this field. However, Vesna Petrovic, the co-coordinator of the EIT Manufacturing Hub Croatia from CIRTT, pointed out that she is satisfied with the positive energy she's felt.

"Everyone would like greater access to financing sources," she concluded.

For more, make sure to follow our business section.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Croatian Startup qSoft Involved With Platform Which Uncovers Corruption

November the 29th, 2022 - The Croatian startup qSoft has worked alongside multiple other agencies and bodies and created a platform which works to uncover corruption, stating that the situation is far worse than we think.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, in cooperation with ICCrA - the Institute for Compliance, Criminal Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering, the WRAP (Whistleblower Reporting App) application was launched to achieve greater efficiency in the organisation of business, which serves both to detect and correct anomalies from the corruption zone, but also to improvement of work processes, regardless of the size of entities, type of ownership and industries.

How important WRAP now is for the overall Croatian economy and the domino effect in which whistleblowers massively report abuse and corruption was explained by ICCrA president Davor Iljkic, who is also the director of the Fraud Prevention Service at the Fund for the Reconstruction of the City of Zagreb, with previous experience of sixteen years with the Ministry of Interior (MUP) working on the detection of economic crime.

"Corruption is a vicious circle, and the situation is much worse than you think," claims Iljkic. This is confirmed by the results of the research of the International Association of Certified Fraud Investigators (ACFE) on the forms and types of fraud from 2014 and 2021, which show that the dominant forms are corruption and embezzlement of funds and fraud with financial statements, with the fact that 8 years ago 40% of detected cases were on the basis of a tip (TIP irregularity report), and in 2021, it stood at 42 percent.

"We need to strengthen the prevention and detection system, and WRAP can help with that," Iljkic believes.

The Croatian legislator also recognised that the system for the protection of whistleblowers needs to be strengthened. The new law on whistleblowers introduces the possibility that a professional, i.e. a third person from outside the organisation, can be appointed as a confidential person when establishing a channel for whistleblowers. Iljkic recommends this very solution in order to avoid a potential conflict of interest within an organisation itself in relation to the management body.

As far as WRAP is concerned, the application platform was born as an idea that integrates the aforementioned law, the EU ​​Directive 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and the Council on the protection of individuals reporting violations of EU law, and new obligations in the field of non-financial reporting (ESG) - environmental, social and personnel issues, as well as issues related to respect for human rights and the fight against corruption and bribery.

At that meeting, the Croatian startup qSoft, with headquarters in Zagreb and partner offices in Canada and Switzerland, decided to use these laws to help organisations become more efficient. Instead of just formally fulfilling obligations, a platform was created that contributes in various ways, including a modern version of business intelligence, to organisations with the aim of creating databases from which software analytics generate valuable information, on the basis of which business management can react in time.

"Organisations rely on a real wealth of data that they don't actually process themselves, and as it's dead capital for them, we see this as our greatest advantage. In its application, the platform hasn't been limited by industry, nor by the size of the entity in question," says Drazen Mrkonjic, the director of the Croatian startup qSoft. They started, he explains, from a process to which technology is adapted, and each entity can then use the solution within its own processes.

"It's important to obtain an effect in terms of meeting legal obligations, for which the information reported is needed. It's motivating for the employee that they can report irregularities without needing to suffer any consequences as a result, with guaranteed anonymity,'' states Mrkonjic.

Similar software services are being developed in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, meaning that this country and the Croatian startup qSoft is once again among the first EU member states in terms of the application being offered. The coronavirus crisis, the war in Ukraine and now inflationary pressures also pushed things along a bit, but so did Croatia's entry into the OECD.

"To provide an additional benefit for any company, we've also built risk management into the application, which allows each application to be evaluated from the aspect of how it affects the business itself,'' says Mrkonjic, who has specialised in this field through 24 long years of work experience in process management.

For Croatia's impending membership of the OECD and the recommendations of the organisation for the improvement of corporate governance bodies in the state sector, WRAP is, he says, just what the proverbial doctor ordered because the state is the first to be invited to tackle this. The state must show - by example - how such laws are applied in the state sector, not only technologically, but also procedurally.

Even the results published by the US Government across the pond easily prove that it is possible to achieve great results with the use of such advanced solutions. Just a decade ago, through the motivation of people to report irregularities to state authorities, they saved about 35 billion dollars by preventing corruption in the USA. What are known as neural networks are what gives the Croatian startup qSoft and its platform the edge.

"A neural network is a combination of a large number of methods used for connecting data and inferring what kind of data that is in order to obtain information and be able to manage it properly. The management of each organisation can then get better acquainted with which segments of the organisation has anomalies occur that must be reacted to and corrected. With the help of a neural network, numerous scams would be detected and prevented,'' explains Mrkonjic.

The system, he adds, is intended for administrations that run operational businesses. It was created as a combination of analytics and reports, a type of modern BI that, as a platform, receives data from various sources, while this is a platform that integrates within the system and creates data because employees feel safe and their reports create data that is categorised into information. The Kaizen methodology designed in Japan to manage efficiency within organisations in order to achieve continuous success was used, and it involves all employees so that every day, regardless of where they might be, they think about how they can improve their work and workplace. Through this platform, employees are motivated to report everything to the central system in an easy way.

"Through these reports, you get information about how your organisation functions. With this technology, we want to motivate people to say something and to create a pool of data, which will ultimately give a picture of how the organisation functions,'' says Mrkonjic.

For those organisations that want to connect with other data sources, the Croatian startup qSoft's platform also provides such opportunities. For example, at the moment of detection of an irregularity for a certain account, data can be pulled from Fina for that particular company and the owner, and the situation can be looked into. The platform also connects to other sources, and the more sources there are, the clearer and faster the picture of where problems arise can be obtained, and this includes the Register of Real Owners and the Tax Administration. It is an ideal tool for domestic anti-corruption organisations like DORH, which has access to all data, but it can be more effective through data processing in the detection of white-collar crime.

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

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Croatian Startup Green Energy Pal Develops "Energy Consultant"

November the 15th, 2022 - The Croatian startup Green Energy Pal has taken the energy crisis into its own hands and developed something that will help individuals and companies alike to keep the numbers on their electricity bills down.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, reducing energy costs due to the ongoing energy crisis is a priority for both households and companies. However, it is almost impossible to achieve savings, or energy efficiency, without undertaking any proper analysis of your consumption.

Ivan Pavic, one of the members of the Croatian startup Green Energy Pal, explains that although energy efficiency is talked about a lot, most people don't know how they can increase theirs properly and concretely.

"The reason lies in the fact that they don't have the basic prerequisite solved, that is, they don't know when they spend the most, how much that is and which devices cause that consumption. If we don't know that, how can we plan the actions that will have the most effect, and with the least investment, and then result in the reduction of consumption, and thus the electricity bill?'' asks Pavic.

Guided by this problem, four colleagues from FER, Ivan Pavic, Domagoj Badanjak, Alen Hrga and Ivan Sudic - developed Enpulse. It is, as Pavic explained, a private energy consultant which explains to users in a simple way how to achieve greater energy efficiency and how to reduce their electricity bills.

The reality that their idea and product on which they worked for 18 months to develop has great potential has also been shown by the fact that they were declared the best in the competition of startups from four countries of the region at the BASF Adriatic competition. With this, they entered the grand final of the BASF Innovation Hub 2022 as one of the six best solutions in the field of sustainable development in all of Central and Eastern Europe. This recognition, as expected, means a lot to them, and for several reasons.

"First of all, the expert jury, with excellent comments and questions, drew our attention to the segments of the product and its presentation on which we need to work further. Second, we gained recognition, which contributes to better marketing and the better acquisition of new customers, and in the end, the monetary award we received is very useful for us,'' stated Pavic, a member of the team at the Croatian startup Green Energy Pal.

However, there is still a lot of work ahead of the team who are developing their private energy consultant which is composed of three parts (an electricity metre on location, a backend system that stores data, and the user interface) in their spare time. Pavic explained that they have set themselves three goals - increasing the number of users, expanding the features of Enpulse and attracting investments.

"The increase in the number of users brings us financial support and enables us to develop new product features. Namely, a good part of our background tools are based on big data analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, which also require a large amount of data. In other words, without new users and data, we can't even develop any new features," noted Pavic.

In addition to all of the above, for further growth and development, they will need a financial injection, so their plan is to find an investor. "We need an investment so that we can fully devote ourselves to product development and employ experts from various fields of IT, AI development, energy, sales and marketing," they announced from the Croatian startup Green Energy Pal.

The reactions to the product so far, which has only been on the market for a few months, are very positive. "The current users from the household category are very satisfied with the product," said Pavic, adding that, although their target group of users is both companies and households, they still give preference to companies.

"SMEs have significant energy costs, often accounting for 10 to 30 percent of their total costs. However, these costs aren't so high as to require extensive analyses by energy experts and consultants. This is precisely why we're developing a ''digital energy consultant'' which can give people advice on increasing energy efficiency at a very low cost. Our idea is that the investment in hardware companies pays off within one or several months, and that the monthly software subscription is only a small part of the savings achieved with our product,'' noted Pavic, adding that the use of their product in households is still less profitable than it is in companies.

It's worth mentioning that this is one of the very few startups that is actually benefiting from the energy crisis, although they didn't count on such a development when they started developing their product.

"Now we have more open potential collaborations with different companies. We assume that the demand for our product will grow significantly,'' concluded Pavic.

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

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Rijeka Startup Gamio Seeking Experts After Attracting Investment

November the 10th, 2022 - The innovative Rijeka startup Gamio, which was born out of a love of video games, has attracted an impressive five million kuna, and now it is on the hunt for experts to add to its team.

As Josipa Ban/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, young entrepreneur Marko Matijevic decided to turn his passion for video games and gaming into a proper business. Last year, he launched the Hall of Game (HoG), the largest gaming arena in all of the Republic of Croatia, while simultaneously working on the development of the unique and innovative platform Gamio.GG, which is based on web3 technology.

Thanks to that platform, gamers should soon (as early as next year) start making money while playing. This play2earn concept is in complete contrast to the traditional gaming concept where players have to pay to play. Investors were quick to recognise Marko's unique idea, and the Rijeka startup Gamio recently received an investment of five million kuna. How the Gamio.GG platform will function, what the money will be invested in, and when we can expect it on the market, was explained by founder Marko Matijevic.

How did the idea and then the work on the development of the Gamio.GG platform come about?

The idea was actually "born" through the Hall of Game (HoG) in a conversation with various brands we work with. Before the very opening of HoG, there was an idea of the ​​parallel development of an eSports platform, but after the initial few events and tournaments that we did for brands, we realised that, as much as we love eSports, a lot of platforms are already trying to break into that segment, and the number of players who participating in esports competitions is limited.

For this reason, we turned our attention to everyday players, who actually make up the vast majority of HoG visitors, and to a slightly more "casual" approach. We tested the initial ideas with the players themselves, pivoted them and finally found the perfect investor and partner - Hellens Rock.

In that process, I was lucky and met the core development team, without which such rapid progress wouldn't have been possible. We've come up with many solutions together and I'm extremely glad that we've been participating in the development of the company together from the very beginning.

What are the biggest challenges you've faced in developing the platform?

Quality personnel is the greatest issue I've come across yet. I'm not just talking about product development, but also operationally speaking. Gaming is interesting to everyone, but not everyone understands the business side of "playing games". So, we're also looking for experts from other industries who primarily have an interest in this type of product and understand the gaming culture.

How will the platform actually work? Which video games will all gamers be able to play and earn GG cryptocurrency?

Players simply select the tasks they want to complete while playing their game. This can be in the form of "Get the highest score in one single game" or "Assist 10 times in one hour". The so-called "Ticket" currency is collected, which is used to enter exclusive tasks that then carry our GG cryptocurrency. In addition to all that, there are many options that players can use to increase their chances of winning bigger prizes or simply take a bigger risk for a bigger reward.

What kind of interest do you expect, especially considering that the crypto market isn't doing well at the moment?

Our primary market is gamers, and only then crypto users. For investment reasons, we postponed the release of the cryptocurrency and devoted ourselves to product development. The interest of early testers was even greater than expected. We plan to launch GG during the next year, depending on the growth of the number of users and the state of the crypto market going forward. During this time, users can decide whether they want to exchange their GG tokens for rewards within our "Shop" system, wait until they can cash out on their cryptocurrency exchanges, or simply reinvest them within the platform itself.

You recently received a pre-seed investment for its development, i.e. initial investment in the development, in the amount of 660 thousand euros, i.e. five million kuna. What will that money be invested in?

It takes considerable time to develop a custom-made blockchain-based platform. Headlines about investments in web3 companies always look bombastic, but most of the investment goes to development itself and later to marketing. The investment is being used primarily for employment and product development, but also for the first permanent users. We also equipped some modern offices in Rijeka and a smaller regional office in Zagreb, which is soon expected to move to a more attractive location.

You received the investment from the Hellen's Rock investment fund, which was founded by entrepreneur Sacha Dragic. How easy or difficult was it to secure the investment? How did you attract the investor?

Sacha is an extremely capable entrepreneur surrounded by experts like Stjepko and Andrea Cordas, who have immense experience in managing tech companies. Since we're friends from a similar industry, it wasn't difficult to have a similar view on the future of the company's business. The whole process didn't really last long because we all knew what numbers were important and what realistic goals to set in the coming period. As I already mentioned, an acquaintance from the same technology sector actually made it possible for us to speak a "similar language" and also made it possible for us to achieve cooperation much faster than it would have been through some more classic VC paths.

When should the platform be finished and be made available on the market?

The MVP is already ready and has been tested several times. We're now dealing with all of the final preparations in order to start the closed phase of market entry and the beginning of marketing. In the beginning, we're going to be targeting a few hundred gamers and will gradually increase the number of players on the platform. Finally, with the issuance of GG tokens to the cryptocurrency market, the platform will become available to everyone.

Which markets are you targeting, and which gamers from which countries?

We're starting with Croatia's more immediate region because through the Hall of Game, we've gained a very good insight into local trends, cooperation with various organisations, and we also want to give our players the opportunity to try the product first. After a short phase with Croatia and the region's market, our goal is certainly America, but until that moment comes, we're going to focus on markets such as Latin America and Turkey. The USA is a logical choice, but it's also the most financially demanding, and we'll start with it after we prove our profitability here on these other markets. Of course, then there's the rest of "Tier1" in European countries like the UK, Germany, France...

Last year, you launched the Hall of Game, a gaming centre in Zagreb's Z shopping centre, in which one million euros was invested. Are you satisfied with the level of attendance and your work there?

The first year was phenomenal. We've done a lot of events, both our own and partner's. We put ourselves on the "gaming map" not only of this particular region but also of Europe with the recent Call of Duty tournaments.

Of course, collaborations with big brands only improved the perception of HOG. We also had problems and learned some things the hard way, but that's why we are extremely confident in what we do. I think it can always be better and I hope this is just a fraction of what we want to achieve.

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

Thursday, 3 November 2022

Spiritus: Special Croatian App Turns Graveyards into Museums

November the 3rd, 2022 - A very special application (app) by the Croatian startup Spiritus is turning graveyards into virtual museums, telling the stories of those lying at rest there.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Mladen Miletic writes, a team of Croatian tech experts from the Zagreb startup Spiritus has designed an application that turns cemeteries across the Republic of Croatia into virtual museums, and it has already attracted more than three million kuna in investments intended to expand this heartfelt idea to other European markets.

Through the application, the families of the deceased can write stories about their lives, as well as receive photo suggestions or stories about their loved ones that they may not have even known about. The Spiritus application was premiered in Vukovar, and on October the 31st, 2022, it arrived at almost all major cemeteries in the country.

"We've been preparing the project for more than a year now, and we hope that it will be recognised and supported by people. There are so many untold and inspiring life stories that we want to preserve for our descendants," explained Spiritus director Dino Jerkovic.

So far, the application has more than 700,000 memorials spanning more than 50 city cemeteries loaded into it, from Vukovar to Zagreb, Varazdin, Osijek, Karlovac and Split.

"We believe that every person who has ever lived has at least one story worth telling. These are often wonderful and inspiring life stories that will be forgotten over generations. We want to find such stories and enable families to keep hold of them forever," added Dino Jerkovic.

"We'd like to thank our previous partners for recognising the potential of this project and we're looking forward to future collaborations. The goal is that every family in Croatia has the opportunity to preserve the memories of their loved ones through technology. Pictures, stories and biographical information can remain indelible on the Internet, in fact they're eternal. As such, the memories of our grandparents can remain for all generations. Of course, we do check all of the content placed there. It's very important to us that all of the content on Spiritus is dignified and respectful of the deceased," concluded Jerkovic.

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

Saturday, 1 October 2022

Croatian Startup Farseer's Software Earns International Recognition

October the 1st, 2022 - The Croatian startup Farseer's software which gave Microsoft Excel a run for its money has recently received international recognition.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Josipa Ban writes, doing business well means, among other things, planning things well. However, it was impossible to precisely and accurately plan various business segments in one programme, until the team of programmers came up with the Farseer software.

"Farseer is a cloud solution for financial modeling, planning and analytics that enables integral planning within a company. This includes everything from operational to financial planning to reporting on all these items," explained Matija Nakic, the co-founder and director of the Croatian startup Farseer.

In fact, he added, this software replaces the entire forest of often irritating Excel documents, and with its implementation, users, namely large and medium-sized companies, manage to eliminate up to 90 percent of the time normally spent on such boring, manual tasks.

"Our approach was, and still is, to solve the most difficult problems in the field of financial modeling. That means we're great for users who need to plan intensively. By simultaneously solving several specific problems, we've created a platform that is very robust and universal. Farseer brilliantly solves the challenges faced by companies who have outgrown Excel," Nakic pointed out.

This, in fact, is their competitive advantage because all the latest technological solutions in the field of planning, the third generation, according to the co-founder of Farseer, solve only a certain part of the problem, while Farseer's software offers everything in one place. It is therefore not remotely surprising that the solution, which has been on the market for only two years, and on the development of which four founders worked for three years, has been included in the Top 15 global third-generation planning solutions, i.e. in the official guide for FP&A (Financial Planning and Analytics).

The whole story surrounding the Croatian startup Farseer is actually the result of frustration due to the lack of planning tools. Nakic, as well as the creator of this solution - Zrinko Dolic, come from the world of telecom, where they worked as planners with spreadsheets, that is, with Microsoft Excel. "Back in 2010, we asked ourselves why there were no better solutions than this, and honestly, not much has changed since then," recalled Nakic.

The young four-member team decided that they would offer a much better solution if they put their heads together. Today, their team is much bigger and has sixteen people. The excellence and usefulness of the Croatian startup Farseer's software is rapidly being recognised by this rapidly moving and extremely demanding market. Today, only nine months after the commercialisation started, 27 companies are already using their solution.

Alpha Chrom from Switzerland, the Swedish Lelo, EOS Matrix, Violeta, Plinacro, Intercapital, and Mazars are just some of their clients. However, Nakic pointed out that in the long term they want to specialise in two industries - distribution and production. "Both are characterised by a very intensive planning process due to the huge amount of data they handle every day. They have a thousand components, distribution centres, numerous customers, and tonnes of different variables that they have to plan according to. Planning using Excel is impossible for them," Nakic explained.

“We actually automate a lot of the planning ourselves. Planners only have to change or tweak parameters at very high levels and you can literally get a profit and loss plan (P&L), which is what it all boils down to, in a mere five minutes. Users can plan their expenses by different departments, and all of this is automatically aggregated within Farseer,'' stated Nakic, adding that their vision is to enable senior management to set the EBITDA they want and to get several different scenarios to achieve it.

In addition to all of the above, when using Farseer, various simulations can be performed and parameters can be changed, which are then automatically propagated through the entire model. The success of the solution should be supported by rapid changes and constant shocks on the market, which we've witnessed more than our fair share of in the past few years alone.

"Planning is no longer a quarterly 'sport' of sorts, it has instead become relevant and important to do almost on a weekly basis. People want to plan in great detail, much more detailed than before. They want to monitor what is happening with costs, with income and with the key performance indicator (KPI). We see a big opportunity in this,'' emphasised the co-founders of the Croatian startup Farseer.

Nakic has revealed that the plan for the startup, whose sales have grown by 21 percent in the last six months alone, is to achieve 450,000 euros in revenue by the end of the year - 250,000 from licenses and 200,000 from services.

"I believe that growth will intensify. We're now at a turning point," he said, and at that turning point, they're also looking for a new investment, the second after two years of business (in the first one, they collected 100,000 euros of investment). This time the plan is to collect much more, but Nakic doesn't want to reveal the details as yet, saying only that the money will be invested in development, i.e. fine-tuning of the product and in marketing and sales.

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

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.

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