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, 2 February 2020

Croatian Software Developers Create More Advanced Programme Than Excel

There is an enormous amount of talent in this geographically small country. From the world of sport to medicine and science and beyond. The IT and tech sector has recently been experiencing somewhat of a boom in Croatia, with many great minds creating innovation. Croatian software developers are among those with some excellent ideas.

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 1st of February, 2020, the term financial planning used to be a synonym for a messy and chaotic system for Katarina, Luka, Mateja, Matija and Zrinko in all of their past jobs, in which most reports, they explained, would be created with a lot of manual data collection from many different systems and with delays of up to two months.

Based on the experience of all five of them, with a combination of that experience, knowledge in the fields of communication, IT and telecom, they decided to launch a system that allows small and medium-sized enterprises to easily plan and monitor operational and financial components in just a few clicks. This is the Farseer platform presented by, among sixteen other teams, at last year's Zicero's (Zagreb Innovation Centre) pre-accelerator programme - Startup Factory.

The whole idea of ​​Farseer was developed at Kod Biro, a software agency that develops mobile and web applications.

"The guiding principle was to facilitate the process of financial and operational planning and reporting while achieving transparency and saving employees time. Planning and reporting is a critical strategic business management activity, and in most companies, it's performed on a yearly or a quarterly basis, often using technologically outdated tools, with most of the time spent on data entry and organising inputs instead of strategic decisions and business modeling,'' explains platform co-founder Matija Nakic.

The system is intended for middle and senior management participating in the business planning process of an enterprise, and certain operational tasks can easily be given to any responsible person in the system, adds Katarina Trbara.

"We primarily target medium to large companies that, owing to their size and complexity, need structured business planning," notes Trbara. Furthermore, the system created by these Croatian software developers allows for the defining the structure and process of the plan in a mere few clicks, a significant improvement over Microsoft Excel.

Young innovators have incorporated Excel's strengths into their user interface, so they have cells, functions and a formula engine, but everything is subordinate to planning. Users receive planning tasks, administrators monitor the completion of the plan and at some point ''lock it'', after which the realisation of costs and revenues is monitored in real time," Nakic explains.

Among the major advantages of Farseer, the ''child'' of these Croatian software developers, are therefore significantly reduced time, the simplification of the process of creating plans and minimising manual tasks, which allows users to focus on strategy instead. According to Nakic, users can easily monitor the results achieved, compare them with the plan and simulate different business scenarios before making any important business decisions.

''We also touched on the general financial literacy of employees and managers in Croatian companies, which young innovators consider to be at an unenviable level. In larger companies with controlling departments, the situation is better, but planning is still seen as an administrative commitment ''done'' a couple of times a year, while global trends in this field promote so-called continuous planning, which involves a lot of operational planning and continued simulation. The planning process should be more collaborative and lean towards strategy and defining concrete ways of implementation," says Trbara.

The young team of Croatian software developers' desire is that planning with Farseer is something managers actually want to do, not something they have to do. In addition to implementing the system, they also offer planning and reporting consulting, as they point out that they want to help Croatian companies track global trends in this field. They continue to work with Zicer as part of their Startup Factory programme, they say, and have undergone an intensive education process, worked with top mentors and made valuable contacts, especially as young entrepreneurs seeking to improve their product and business skills.

Gaining additional experience, they completed the first version of Farseer, and the entire team is currently focused on selling and integrating Farseer with existing customer systems.

They received an incentive from HAMAG-BICRO to develop an innovative technical solution that will be used for the self-service integration of Farseer with ERP systems.

"Since companies abroad are more mature in the context of orderliness and automation, our primary focus will be on foreign markets, but we'll certainly continue to talk to regional companies and institutions, among which there are some bright examples," conclude Matija Nakic and Katarina Trbara.

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