Thursday, 9 September 2021

Infobip and Damir Sabol Invest in Rijeka Robotics Startup Stemi

September the 9th, 2021 - The Rijeka robotics startup Stemi has been invested in by Damir Sabol and the remarkable Vodnjan company Infobip, which has become widely known and well respected over the last few years.

As Novac/Bernard Ivezic writes, Infobip and Damir Sabol have invested in the Rijeka robotics startup Stemi, a startup which successfully developed the very first Croatian educational robot and created an educational platform around it that reaps good results across the Atlantic in the USA.

The trio announced the above at the jubilee tenth Infobip Shift conference in Zadar, and this is Infobip's first investment in a startup so far. The Vodnjan company has received many investments from others, but hasn't, until now, made one itself.

They didn't want to reveal any of the details for now, and instead, Stemi has stated that they are preparing a big surprise for the end of September in the City of Zagreb. Stemi has recently been heavily involved in the promotion of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in education, and has been supported in this by Infobip. In addition, Rijeka robotics startup Stemi is one of the first members of the programme in which the Croatian unicorn encourages young technology companies from around the world to use its technology - the much talked about Infobip Startup Tribe.

The Infobip Shift conference is being attended by more than 13,000 visitors this year. In Zadar, over 3,000 live visitors gathered physically in the Kresimir Cosic Hall, and over 10,000 bought tickets for the online following of the conference. Thus, this year's Shift conference, the first organised under Infobip, has grown into the largest developer conference not only in Croatia but also in Europe.

Ivan Burazin, Infobip's board member for developer relations, boasted at the opening of the conference that Infobip has the best communication platform in the world, which is sold according to the service model.

''This year, we're under the auspices of Infobip for the first time. That's why it's now called Infobip Shift, but we're still Shift and this year we're dealing with what developers are doing - problem solving,'' explained Burazin.

Izabel Jelenic, the co-founder and chief technical officer, then took the stage, greeted the audience briefly and told them that they were "just starting". This is the slogan of Infobip, which, after becoming the first Croatian unicorn, is strengthening its operations and actively taking over other companies. It first took over the American OpenMarket, then the Croatian franchise of the Shift developer conference, and then the Irish company Anam Technologies. That's why it is speculated that the market value of the first Croatian unicorn far exceeded last year's billion dollars.

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

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

$60 Million Secured for Microblink Expansion to USA, Asia and Middle East

December 16, 2020 - Damir Sabol and his co-founders Izet Ždralović and Jurica Cerovec discuss the Microblink expansion to the US market and beyond. 

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Microblink recorded 36 percent sales growth and secured an investment from Boston-based Silversmith Capital Partners that has invested in companies such as Webflow, ActiveCampaign, and Appfire.

Two years after securing a $6 million investment for their spinoff company Photomath, Damir Sabol and his co-founders Izet Ždralović and Jurica Cerovec have exclusively confirmed an investment of over HRK 370 million by the US growth equity fund Silversmith Capital Partners.

Damir explains for Netokracija.hr how the cooperation came about:

"In fact, it all happened surprisingly fast. Their approach and culture are quite similar to ours, and more importantly, they understand our business, products, and technology very well. They invest because they see the potential of our development and growth in an even bigger world organization. We believe that we will work well with them because their focus is on good products and customers. From them, we can certainly gain expertise in managing and organizing global functions, product development for the US market, and expanding sales in the US and other markets."

Although most of the public knows about Microblink and their technology primarily through their application that helps users solve math problems, it is in the wake of the B2B solution that Microblink has secured external capital for the first time - seven years after its founding. 

"This is the first time that Microblink has received external capital. With a strategic, long-term approach, we could independently, with the reinvestment of profits, develop a company that has become a global technology leader in its segment. This was the first phase in the company's development, and we still have even bigger ambitions. We want to harness the potential of artificial intelligence to continue to make products with a superior user experience that change the ways the physical and digital worlds interact, across all devices," Damir points out.

With the entry of such large investors, some things will change, and so will the structure. While Jurica Cerovec will continue in the CTO role and Izet Ždralović as CEO in Croatia, Damir Sabol will be a member of the Microblink board together with Sri Rao, a partner from Silversmith, and Darren Bassman, who also becomes the CEO of Microblink.

Bassman has so far founded BlinkReceipt LLC, which has been a partner of Microblink for 6 years, and Microblink considers it the best choice for scaling in the US and global market.

Microblink B2B solutions are digital products based on their core recognition technology, available to users and developers through the SDK or Web API.

It all started with PhotoPay, a system for recognizing invoices and payment slips, which Microblink piloted in Croatia in 2011 with Erste Bank, for the then-revolutionary application Erste mBanking, which this year, unfortunately, was replaced by George.

Building on the success of PhotoPay, the founders unveiled a new umbrella brand for their “mobile vision” SDK called Microblink at London’s Techcrunch Disrupt in 2014.

The introduction of the BlinkID is Microblink's most popular product today, which is no wonder given that during a pandemic, scanning documents without close contact is more important than ever. Damir points out that BlinkReceipt is potentially very important commercially.

According to Microblink, hundreds of millions of people scan more than a billion documents and cards thanks to their technology used by a whole network of clients in over 70 countries, in industries such as banking, where PhotoPay started, all the way to insurance and retail.

Given the active role of Microblink as one of the initiators of CroAI and Sabola as an ambassador of the Elements of AI course in Croatia, no one is surprised that Microblink sees the further potential of its products in additional investment in artificial intelligence. 

"We will continue to bring together top engineers, but also experts in all other business areas, especially related to customer relations, product development, and expansion into global markets. We continue to lead scientific discoveries and innovations in the field of artificial intelligence. For that, we need passionate and talented people, who exist in Croatia and who already recognize us as one of the top three employers in the field of IT," said Jurica. 

Today, Microblink has over 100 full-time employees in Croatia, and in addition to focusing on the US market, it will also target some new markets.

"In the new development phase, we will first focus on strengthening the team in America and opening up new opportunities in that market. We will not stop there and are thinking about expanding into new markets, such as Asia and the Middle East. The priority is to design products that will bring greater value in certain verticals such as digital identity, market analysis, online payments," said Damir.

Damir concluded that they see Microblink as "a global leader in a segment that offers complete solutions and is slowly climbing in the value chain that is being delivered." The new phase of Microblink development confirms the lessons of the last 10 years: B2B and profitability to gradually scaling the global market.

They add a new lesson: through the development of a range of products based on innovative technology, they enabled scaling that began with PhotoPay and continued through Photomath as a spinoff and a range of B2B products within Microblink, which with this investment becomes one of the best-funded technology companies in Croatia.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Friday, 12 April 2019

Microblink Launches Document Scanning App BlinkCard

Microblink, an R&D company from Zagreb, has developed the fastest mobile document scanner in the world, introducing a new product – BlinkCard. It is a scanner of credit and debit cards, which is sold as a software component for embedding into fintech mobile apps, which have become a hot topic in the last few months with the rise of mobile banking, reports Poslovni.hr on April 12, 2019.

Damir Sabol, the co-founder and co-owner of Microblink, said that BlinkCard is available as a test app for free at Google Play and Apple Store mobile app stores. He says BlinkCard is a sign of progress in the field of machine learning. "In the near future, we will be able to scan and recognise almost all personal documents in the world," says Sabol.

Microblink sells five software components that can be used to scan and instantly enter data from different documents, from invoices to official documents. The first product launched by the company was the BlinkID, a mobile document scanner with an extensive range of application. This product is used in the United States to scan US citizens’ identification documents at polling stations. US police also use it in several smaller towns to issue fines within three seconds.

In the United Kingdom, it is used by large insurers to enable their customers to arrange for the extension of the car insurance policies immediately via mobile phones by scanning driving licenses.

Damir Sabol says that the goal of their solutions is for users to be able to point the mobile phone cameras without any typing towards a document and gain data which can be entered into a form in less than a second. He adds that in the last six years the number of employees working on solving this problem has grown from seven to 90.

“Now we are working on the SecureVision project worth 7.9 million kuna, which we want to use to improve our technological solution further," Sabol explains.

Translated from Poslovni.hr (reported by Bernard Ivezić).

More IT industry news can be found in the Business section.

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Snapchat Integrates Croatia's Photomath for Solving Mathematical Problems

As Mia Biberovic/Netokracija writes on the 5th of April, 2019, Snapchat's camera is set to become even smarter, as was stated yesterday at the Snap Partner Summit. Namely, an expanded reality platform was presented for developers under the name of Scan, and among the first partners is Croatia's very own Photomath, which will now enable Snapchat users to easily solve mathematical tasks.

For a while now it has been able to be seen that Snap has been heading in the direction of expanded reality more strongly. This was yet more visible when the wildly popular app introduced real-world scanning, recognition abilities, and the possibility to purchase through Amazon, directly via the app. In addition, Snapchat's camera enabled song recognition through Shazam, and new, more interesting camera applications were presented yesterday, this means that Giphy will be able to recognise real-world objects and include a convenient GIF to match, and Photomath will recognise maths problems and offer users a solution.

Croatia's Photomath application has already risen to extreme levels of popularity. Back in November, Netokracija exclusively wrote about the Croatian app's impressive 100 million downloads. In addition, founder Damir Sabol then announced that they received a six million dollar investment. This partnership with Snapchat, which, when announced at Snap's event for partners, received a special applause, and will surely help make these already impressive figures even higher.

As Damir Sabol, the founder and CEO of Photomath told Netokracija, this collaboration is well positioned for targeted users because Snapchat and Photomath have very customised user bases and naturally coincide.

Sabol: The basic features of Photomath will be available through Scan.

Among other things, Sabol revealed that only one part of the application's functionality will be integrated into Snapchat's Scan:

Only the basic features will be available on Snapchat - specifically, getting solutions for whatever is being scanned. For all of the other features, and mostly for step-by-step explanation, Photomath is there. Thus, Photomath's founder believes that such a cooperation will open the way for new users because Photomath isn't intended for offering only the ultimate solutions to mathematical tasks, but a higher educational value through the solving process, and this can only be achieved through the Photomath application itself.

When it comes to the number of users, Snapchat is still lagging behind Instagram, but CEO Evan Spiegel revealed, as TechCrunch writes, in the US, Snapchat reaches nearly 75 percent of all people between 13 and 34 years of age.

We reach 90 percent of people between the ages of 13 and 24, in essence, we reach more people of that age than Facebook and Instagram in the United States, the UK, France, Canada and Australia does.

This also proves Sabol's assertion that the target group matches them. However, on the sidelines, what Snapchat's greatest asset is the will of the user to explore the world of expanded reality, which is something other social network platforms have not yet achieved. In addition to being an inevitable source of customer entertainment, this is also a great opportunity for partners, and examples of collaboration were presented yesterday, such as those with Netflix, or with the well known GoFundMe platform, to share news of various charity campaigns.

Scan will allow us to scan everything around us in order to interact with objects and living creatures, whether it is banknotes, monuments, or our pets in expanded reality. Otherwise, Scan was created based on the startup of Scan.me.

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

 

Click here for the original article by Mia Biberovic for Netokracija

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Croatian Mobile Application Among the Top 10 in Germany for 2016

German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, in their annual review, has chosen Croatian mobile application Photomath among the top 10 applications of 2016.

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