Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Croatian Company ReversingLabs Wins Prestigious Award in San Francisco

June the 21st, 2022 - The Croatian company ReversingLabs has won a prestigious award across the pond in San Francisco.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian technology companies have popped up more and more recently and they are only continuing to succeed. The latest in a series is the Global InfoSec Award won by the Croatian company ReversingLabs, which is a real leader in software supply chain security development.

The Croatian company ReversingLabs received the award for the best product in the field of application security at the RSA 2022 conference held recently in San Francisco, specifically for their product called secure.software, a solution to protect the process of the continuous delivery of both containers and software packages.

“We're honoured to be able to receive this prestigious Cyber ​​Security Award and be recognised by top judges. Threats in the supply chain and problems with unauthorised software changes continue to plague companies. Despite growing awareness, many people are still unsure how to respond to these threats. Through our secure.software solution, we provide companies with ease and security regarding all versions of software they deliver,'' said Mario Vuksan, the co-founder and CEO of the Croatian company ReversingLabs.

This is not the only award this successful company, which built the world's largest malware database through a development centre right here in the City of Zagreb, has won this year. There are a few more on the list that have won in the area of ​​software security assurance.

This, the latest award for another Croatian company, is more than enough to provide yet another spring in the steps of many of the enterprises in this country which are gaining international recognition and as such placing this country on the tech and startup map.

For more on Croatian companies, entrepreneurs, innovations and more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

Croatian Tech Company Gideon Presents Casey the Robot

May the 31st, 2022 - The Croatian tech company Gideon has presented its brand new innovation which will only contribute even further to placing Croatia on the tech map - Casey the robot.

As the trend of e-commerce continues to grow exponentially, with the global coronavirus pandemic which emerged back at the beginning of 2020, robotics is a field becoming not only more popular, but necessary in the face of increased demand.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the wildly successful and already very well known Croatian tech company Gideon, which has offices in Germany and across the pond in the USA, recently presented its new solution for automation and the optimisation of order preparation in distribution centres.

The company, which has alredy attracted the eyes and ears of the demanding technology works, deals with robotics and solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI).

Casey the robot is a solution developed for the preparation of orders for goods packed in boxes and works to improve the commissioning process through the optimisation and harmonisation of the tasks of both humans and robots with a payload of up to 1000 kg.

As they pointed out from the Croatian tech company Gideon, this brand new solution helps companies alleviate labour shortages and the challenges posed by strong e-commerce growth.

“The rise of e-commerce is a clear indication that the use of new automation technologies is the key to sustainable growth. Namely, e-commerce creates additional pressures on business because it is more labour-intensive and intensifies changes in customer expectations, for example, when it comes to delivery deadlines. Analysts' latest forecasts point to strong growth in e-commerce globally - by as much as 50 percent to 7.4 trillion US dollars by the year 2025,'' the technology company said.

Josip Cesic, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of the Croatian tech company Gideon, pointed out that Casey eliminates the cost of damage to both products and equipment and reduces staff costs by up to 40 percent.

For more on Croatian companies, entrepreneurs, ideas and inventions, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Monday, 14 March 2022

Croatian Tech Companies Have Chance at EIB Cash Earmarked for Dual Research

March the 14th, 2022 - Croatian tech companies now have a chance at getting their hands on a slice of the ''cake'' being offered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) following the launch of a Strategic European Security Initiative (SESI) worth up to 6.6 billion euros by the year 2027.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, with the war continuing to rage in Eastern Europe following the Russian invasion, both EU and non-EU European countries are turning to stronger investment in defense and security.

The aforementioned money is earmarked for dual research (for civilian and military use), development and innovation, civilian security infrastructure and state-of-the-art technology projects, from space investment, AI, quantum technology, cyber and bio security including human security, food production and resources like water.

This new initiative will not change the definitions of excluded sectors, which specifically means that the EIB will not continue to finance armaments and defense as it is fundamentally defined. "SESI projects must be dual-purpose and guided by civilian implementation, which means that they're expected to have predominantly civilian use," the bank said.

A chance for the Croatian academic community as well

Gordan Pesic, who is in charge of business development at DOK-ING, has welcomed the EIB's initiative, believing that there are many opportunities within it for Croatian tech companies, but also for the academic community.

"There's certainly room in that programme for Croatian manufacturers, especially for those who close the so-called ''capability gaps'' in terms of security. Among them is DOK-ING, which produces robotic and automated high value-added systems that move people out of imminent danger,'' said Pesic.

Although it doesn't fund arms manufacturers or basic defense, the SESI initiative's propositions leave ample room for maneuver. "Croatian tech companies like the Osijek startup Orqa, Sestan Busch, GDI, and even textile companies developing smart materials could fit into that framework," he said.

DOK ING, at the recently concluded World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia (and about which we recently wrote), attracted a lot of attention from the Saudis with its Chest of Drawers, a unique robotic platform for operating in conditions of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards.

In addition to the real space sector, according to Pesic, there is also room for research projects taking place in institutions such as the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, as well as a range of sophisticated computer solutions, such as AI.

The Croatian tech company Orqa, which is now a world-famous startup for highly innovative drone management goggles, has also confirmed its potential interest in this new European funding programme.

"A lot of things we're developing naturally are dual purpose things, from radio communication solutions to remote vision systems, and drone technology in general," explained co-founder and CEO Srdjan Kovacevic, noting that they have used both European and Croatian funding sources effectively in the past.

''We're developing a system for transmitting video signals with low latency, which means that the video signal has a small delay and enables the efficient and precise control of a remote platform (such as a boat, vehicle or drone), it's for hobby drones, but essentially the same technology can be used defensive purposes,'' he explained.

Referring to the current turn of Europe and the EU as a bloc towards strengthening defense and security, Kovacevic says that Europe, unlike the United States, has invested very little in these segments through initiatives of private innovative companies, so in light of current events it is not surprising that there are now attempts being made to try to reduce the gap.

For more on Croatian tech companies, check out our business section.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

European Union Cash Up for Grabs for Croatian Technology Companies

March the 1st, 2022 - European Union (EU) funds are up for grabs by Croatian technology companies in the current programming period of the bloc for the period between 2021 and 2027.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Tajana Striga writes, the current programming period of the European Union, planned for the period from 2021 to 2027, is the most generous so far and makes over 25 billion euros available to the Republic of Croatia. By comparison, Croatia's annual gross domestic product was just over 55 billion euros last year. The size of the funds available is encouraging, but it still isn't enough to declare success.

Only the efficient and market development-oriented distribution of those funds can lay a sound foundation for the growth and development of the Croatian economy in the long run. The first step in this is to provide clear, accurate and above all adequate information to potential applicants so that they can identify tenders of interest as soon as possible and start preparing for them.

Among the first tenders announced for this year is the "Commercialisation of Innovation", which is planned for the first quarter of the year. The competition is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises with mature innovation projects that are close to entering the market (TRL level 7 or higher). TRL (or Level of technological readiness) is a measurement system in which each level is characterised by a stage in the development of technology. There are 9 levels of technological readiness, and in order for a given project to be considered level 7 and eligible for funding under this tender, it's necessary to have a prototype whose performance has been tested out in an operational environment at the pre-commercial level.

In addition to the above, a clear plan for the production and commercialisation of products (TRL 8 and 9) is needed. In order for a product or service to be considered an innovation in the context of this tender, its functionalities when it comes to terms of application and characteristics must differ significantly from existing market solutions. In addition to the innovativeness of the project, the probability of commercial success will also be taken into account.

Although the details of the tender are still unknown, we've since learned from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan that the total budget for this tender stands at a massive 380 million kuna. The investment will be supported by at least 95 small and medium-sized enterprises during one public call/invitation and the amount of financing per project ranges from 760,000 kuna to a maximum of 5.32 million kuna.

Additional points will be achieved by those proposals that contribute to the green transition by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing energy efficiency and stimulating the circular economy, offering blossoming Croatian technology companies a fighting chance. While the contribution to the green transition isn't explicitly prescribed by the tender, the project must meet the principle of "no significant harm", meaning that it must not have a negative impact on the six environmental objectives set within the EU Taxonomy Regulation.

Environmental objectives include climate change mitigation and adaptation, the sustainable use and protection of waters and marinas, pollution prevention and control, the transition to a circular economy, and the protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems. This form of funding can be used to adapt a developed product or service and prepare for the launch of a product or service, which is perfect for many quickly developing Croatian technology companies. For example, eligible activities to adapt a developed product include the additional testing and incorporation of those test results into a final product, consulting services, capacity building, feasibility study audits, product design, and the protection of intellectual property rights.

Eligible activities for product launch preparation include the preparation or revision of a business plan and/or marketing plan, market research and testing, product testing with potential customers, production preparation and zero-batch investment, as well as operational marketing activities.

In addition to the aforementioned "Commercialisation of Innovation", the first quarter is expected to have yet another tender announced "Grants for start-ups" intended for innovative small and medium enterprises in high-tech sectors and knowledge-based sectors for TRL projects level 5-8, or those projects maturity beyond the concept-proof phase, but not yet ready for the market.

Companies that have been present on the market for a maximum of five years, with a somewhat defined team, and projects with a credible path to commercialisation can apply. The grant serves to support product development and increase existing production capacities, including upgrading, designing, verifying performance, market validation, testing, pilot line development, intellectual property protection and external services aimed at developing innovative ideas (product, process, service, etc) as well as training on the

Funded activities may also include part of the cost of accessing global business networks/clusters, which also involves the adopting of new marketing tools and accessing new markets. Eligible costs include the purchase of equipment, materials, staff recruitment and outsourcing. The total budget for this tender is planned in the amount of 141.7 million kuna, and the investment will support up to 141 small and medium-sized Croatian companies with individual grants of up to 1 million kuna.

In general, the focus of policies and measures of this EU programming period is the pursuit of systematic integration of sustainable development and green and digital transformation of the economy, which is something most Croatian technology companies also place a focus on, be it directly or otherwise. Thus, in the second quarter of the year we can expect the tender called "Digitisation Vouchers" with a maximum grant of 150,000 kuna, as well as the tender called "Digitisation Grants" with a maximum grant of 750,000 kuna on offer.

During the year, the announcement of the tender "Support to companies for the transition to energy and resource efficient economy" with a maximum amount of support of 7.5 million kuna is expected, and eligible applicants will be micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and investments will be directed to energy-intensive industries.

In addition to all of the above, in the second half of the year, we can expect the announcement of the tender "Strengthening sustainability and encouraging the green and digital transition of enterprises in the tourism sector." Eligible applicants for this tender will be micro, small, medium and large companies engaged in the field of tourism and hospitality, and the primary focus will be on investing in less developed tourist areas of Croatia.

In the potential lack of pre-tender public consultation, the timeframe for preparing extensive draft documentation is relatively short. The very serious preparation of projects that maximises the probability of success in the tender takes months and requires a significant amount of human resources. At the same time, despite the significant increase in the amount of available funds, the level of competition among interested applicants has increased, as more and more companies are turning to this form of financing.

On top of that, significant interest in grants can be expected from young and innovative companies, such as Croatian technology companies, given the fact that traditional banking financing is often not a realistic option for them, while alternative sources of financing in Croatia are still at negligible levels.

For more, check out our dedicated business section.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

7 Croatian Companies Among 50 Fastest Growing in Central Europe

A total of seven Croatian technology companies competed in the Deloitte Competition of the 50 fastest growing companies in Central Europe this year, six of which are in the main category and one of which is in the Most Disruptive Innovation category, as Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of October, 2019.

This year, which is otherwise the twentieth edition of the Deloitte Competition of the 50 Fastest Growing Central European Technology Companies, saw the attendance of companies from across eighteen European countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Estonia, Croatia, Kosovo, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Serbia.

In the main category, known as the Technology Fast 50, among the 50 fastest growing technology companies, this year saw the placement of 37 new companies for the first time, and it became clear that the region is the focus of innovative and creative young companies who are shaping the future.

Of these, four companies were ranked as Rising Stars last year (a special category for fast-growing companies that are not yet mature enough to be included in the Fast 50 main category). This also points to the good health of the technology sector within the region, as start-up companies have seen significant growth and become established fast-growing technology companies in just a few years.

The report, which ranked and profiled the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the entire region, highlighted the Lithuanian company Voltas IT as the fastest-growing, with an average growth rate of 5,734 percent over the four-year period between 2015 and 2018. Voltas IT has developed an affordable and easy-to-use automotive diagnostic system for drivers, and their accelerated growth continues as 1,000 new customers connect to their system every single day.

The second on the list are last year's winners from Prusa Research, s.r.o., from the Czech Republic, with a growth rate of 4,527 percent. This company has definitely established itself as one of the most consistent innovative companies in the global 3D printing industry.

Third in the rankings went to another Czech company, BLINDSPOT, founded back in 2014 to develop a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, and fourth place went to the Slovakian Itrinity, s.r.o., which provides SaaS solutions (Software as a service) for internet marketers.

The Croatian online shopping platform BAZZAR.HR's ranked fifth with an average growth rate of 2.821 percent.

As previously stated, from here in Croatia, a total of seven companies competed this year, six of which are in the Top 50 Fastest Growing category and one in is in the Most Disruptive Innovation category.

The Croatian company Rimac Automobili has been awarded the Most Distruptive Innovation Award.

Here is how the Croatian companies were placed:

BAZZAR.HR came fifth place with growth of 2.821 percent, Q took 16th place (927 percent), Ars Futura d.o.o. took 27th place (685 percent), AG04 Innovative Solutions d.o.o. took 35th place (551 percent), Delta Reality came in 47th place (449 percent) and Agrivi d.o.o. took 50th place (432 percent).

The winner of the Most Disruptive Innovation award, the Croatian company Rimac Automobili, is otherwise the very first Croatian company to win in this category. Rimac Automobili has been participating in the Deloitte Competition for four years now.

In the main category of the 50 fastest growing companies, as we have already stated, the best placement was achieved by the Croatian online shopping platform BAZZAR.HR which took fifth place, followed by Q and Ars Futura, who were also placed on the main list last year, while AG04 Innovative Solutions d.o.o., Delta Reality and Agrivi d.o.o. made their first appeatance on Deloitte's impressive list this year.

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

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Croatian Technology Companies Aren't as Young as They Appear

As Bernard Ivezic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 27th of June, 2019, given the fact that we're currently living in the fast-paced era of start-ups, the growth of technology companies in Croatia may seem surprising. However, these companies aren't as young as they might first appear, and the most famous Croatian "start-up" is actually a company which is completing its first decade of operations.

Mate Rimac's company Rimac Automobili was founded in 2009, and today it boasts more than 500 employees. That same year, the secretive Satoshi Nakamoto conceived what we now know today as Bitcoin, Trump's forerunner, Barack Obama, became the president of the United States of America, and astronomers discovered GJ 1214 b, the first exoplanet on which there is water, and thus the first place in the universe which isn't the earth, but has virtually identical conditions for the development of life as we know it.

Rimac's company, therefore, had time and opportunities to grow to the size it now is today, but there are many Croatian technology companies that are older, and some are bigger than Rimac Automobili, which is undoubtedly the most famous.

The biggest Croatian computer game maker, Nanobit, was founded back in 2008, the year when the financial crisis hit Croatia hard, and this year, it celebrates eleven years of successful and profitable business. Furthermore, the largest Croatian software company, which is also the company with the most end-users, over seven billion of them to be more precise - is Infobip. This Croatian company has become popular in the view of the wider public over the last two to three years, but that didn't all happen overnight as it sometimes might seem when reading about it.

Infobip was actually initially founded back in late 2006, the same year that Italy won the World Cup in Germany, and when Nintendo launched the Wii console onto the market. Infobip is celebrating its thirteenth year of business this year.

Silvio Kutić, the co-founder and director of Infobip, says that today, that Croatian company has 63 offices across the world and employs more than 1,700 workers, but that his vision is even more ambitious than before.

"We're focused on continuing to grow as a Centre for Excellence in Engineering, and in the next two years, we'll employ more than 2,000 engineers globally, and in particular, we're particularly focused on the project that we're calling the Vodnjan Tech City over the next couple of years," stated Kutić.

He says that Vodnjan is a town of about 3,700 inhabitants, and that they want to raise the population of the city by a futher ten percent in the next five years. They want to do this by bringing engineers from all over the world to work and live in the Croatian town of Vodnjan, create new values, ​​and create even more new innovative technology solutions. All this is taking place in Istria, which otherwise relies heavily on tourism, in the headquarters of the company, where it all began more than ten years ago.

"I'd like to emphasise the fact that Infobip operates in the world of high technology, where extremely fast changes are always taking place. Any IT company, even if it isn't in the center of innovation... if it doesn't create new values, it may fail tomorrow, regardless of any of its long-term plans. I want Infobip to be a long-term successful company and to remain independent. What we're building today, we're build for the distsnt future too, and to create for many more decades ahead,'' noted Kutić.

Thankfully, he's not alone in holding such ambitious views. The largest mobile application manufacturer in the Republic of Croatia, Infinum, was founded back in 2005. That same year, YouTube was launched, the first super jumbo jet Airbus A380 was launched, and the first ever case of a man having been successfully cured of the dreadful HIV was proven.

For the Croatian company Infinum, which builds most of its work globally, it means that next year it will celebrate a decade and a half of hard yet successful work. Tomislav Car, the co-founder and director of Infinum, said that in the first six years of existence, the company was made up only of its two founders. At that time, they had just completed their studies at FER.

"After that, we brought in new partners, we strengthened our team, we started to grow, and as such we've grown to 210 employees in the last eight years," said Car, adding that their overall goal is to make sure Infinum remains an independent company for many years. "We love doing what we do and it's going well for us, but most importantly, we think we're creating a good story and a positive impact on the society around us," said Car.

He says that Infinum will surely change, reorganise and become something different in the coming period, as it has had to until this point, but that's just part of the challenge of creating and developing such a company.

King ICT, one of the largest system integrators in Croatia, which celebrated twenty years of business last year, know just what such transformations typically look like. It's similar to the Croatian company with the highest award for innovation at the international level, Zagreb's Citus, which is also celebrating two decades of business this year. However, there are a number of Croatian technology companies that are even older.

The software company with the largest number of employees in Croatia, IN2 group, was established back in 1992. For a long time, the largest Croatian software exporter was Span, which was founded in 1993. Zagreb's Altpro, one 22 of the world's most significant companies which deal with rail transport technologies, is celebrating a quarter of a century of doing business this year, while the M SAN Group, the largest IT company in all of Croatia, will celebrate that same birthday next year.

That's not all, in Croatia, there are even older domestic technology giants. Combis, the largest system integrator in Croatia today, is part of the Croatian Telecom (Hrvatski Telekom)  group, and the next big celebration for that company is 30 years of doing business, as it was founded back in 1990. In that same year, the company Rasco, the only Croatian company that manufactures cars on a serial basis and had developed its own electric vehicle, was founded.

Back in the now distant 1990, the very first McDonald's in Russia was opened, the largest digital rights organisation, Electronic Frontier Foundation, was launched, and a match between Dinamo Zagreb and Crvena Zvezda took place at Zagreb's Maksimir Stadium. What happened at that match became infamous, and signaled just what was set to errupt in the following years in Croatia and the rest of the region. Ivan Franičević, the co-owner and director of Rasco says that he's proud that his company is now close to celebrating its 30th birthday. He emphasised the fact that from the outset, the founders of Rasco had a vision to create "a strong technological company that produces advanced, globally competitive products within our region".

"This creates opportunities for the development, growth and the advancement of a new generation employees, and such a vision doesn't come with an expiration date, because it's based on creating opportunities for highly educated professionals who come from this area and who want to continue to live here live," said Franičević.

"We don't want to remain alone in that, but we certainly want to be around for a long time," Franičević emphasised. The launching of Croatian start-ups continues to rise, and this trend will likely accelerate, but it is evident that today there are many Croatian technology companies that have successfully outpaced their start-up roots, and are now thinking of some new challenges.

Tomislav Car from Infinum says that today, the biggest challenges are because of the rapid growth, employment and the maintenance of high quality. "When we were smaller. we had more employment problems, now it's much easier for us, but we still have our main focus on maintaining quality as we grow," said Car.

Silvio Kutić from Infobip says that it's still somewhat unbelievable to him that he managed to create such a global story from here in Croatia, and that today his company's biggest challenge is at the global level.

"Infobip currently has one major competitor, a Silicon Valley company, worth 20 billion dollars, it's surrounded by talent from around the world and is today's strongest IT company. Although Infobip is number one in the world by the number of transactions and the number of people who using our platform, we're second in terms of revenue, for now,'' Kutić said, adding that Infobip's employees, their expertise, and their devotion to their work have made it possible for this Croatian company get to where it is today.

He says they have managed to create and nurture a special culture in a company "where everyone has a chance to make mistakes, try new things, learn from them, and progress."

"At Infobip, employees have the opportunity to work on global projects with the world's largest companies and thus work to shape today's communication," said Kutić.

He added that today, it's a challenge to attract talent, given the fact that this Croatian company is obviously not located in the center of the Silicon Valley in the USA. "Our CPAA (Communication Platform as a Service) industry is very large, it's extremely specific, the products are complex, it's changing rapidly and throughout the years it has been challenging to hire people with the expertise we need," Kutić said, noting the fact that they have designed programs such as the Infobip Academy in Vodnjan and the Learning & Development department, which now has about ten people in it.

Ivan Franičević from Rasco says that the biggest challenge for them is to make sure they don't accidentally ''eat themselves'' during their quick growth as a company.

"With accelerated growth, there's always a danger that the organisation and its mode of operation can't be followed, that the company, along with all of its growth, becomes ineffective in terms of its internal organisation and processes, thus destroying its competitive advantage, which is also the basis of its growth," said Franičević.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for more information on Croatian companies, Croatian start-ups, Croatian products and services, Croatian investments and much more.