Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Croatian TheGepek Platform Allows Anyone to Become "Deliveryman on the Way"

July the 14th, 2021 - The Croatian TheGepek platform (TheBoot/Trunk) allows quite literally anyone to become a ''deliveryman on the way'', and the coronavirus pandemic is the one ''to thank'' for its creation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, over recent years, Croatia has experienced the expansion of various courier services, and the coronavirus crisis has raised this micrologistics to an even higher level. Today, delivery is organised within deadlines that are measured in hours or even minutes. Their added value came to light during the height of the pandemic when many people weren't leaving their homes and still needed to send and receive items, whether they be store supplies, food or even medicine.

However, the main disadvantage of these services is that they are mainly related to large cities, and the rest of Croatia, especially smaller settlements and villages, are left in the hands of Croatian Post and large suppliers whose delivery deadlines are often measured in days as opposed to mere minutes.

Noticing this issue, the Croatian TheGepek platform was launched last year, based on the principle that almost anyone can be a delivery person who can accept or deliver a package to a location they're already travelling to, for which they will, of course, receive a fee.

TheGepek, started by a brother and sister, Dario and Carla Ferreri, and subsequently joined by entrepreneur Kristijan Skarica who specialises in the development of startups, has entered into cooperation with the Croatian IT champion, Vodnjan's remarkable Infobip.

As Carla Ferreri explains, she sees joining the InfoBip Startup Tribe programme as the beginning of a fruitful and long-lasting collaboration for both participants.

“We're a small company which is only just developing its business, but we're growing and currently have about 2,000 customers. It's known what Infobip represents in Croatia and the world today, and our attachment to them through the Startup Tribe is a great thing in itself. Infobip announced competition for startups that they'd like to help, so we applied and soon they told us that we'd entered the programme and asked what we needed and wanted so that they could help us as much as possible. As they develop communication technology that is very important to us for expanding our delivery business, we've agreed that they make several of our programmes and tools available to us, free of charge,'' says Carla Ferreri.

She added that Infobip, through the Startup Tribe programme, has provided them with its own network of partners, investors and all other contacts, and therefore they expect that this will greatly help them in developing their business.

"Of course, this is a win-win situation, because with the growth and internationalisation of the business, we'll have the need to increase our use of Infobip's tools, so in this way we're developing rapidly, and Infobip is creating new customers and markets," noted Carla Ferreri.

The Croatian TheGepek platform was created back during the very height of the coronavirus pandemic last year when little was known, chaos reigned and all the shortcomings of the existing courier services came racing to the forefront.

"We came up with the idea one afternoon when it was necessary to deliver a package, some medicine, from Zagreb to the vicinity of Zadar quite urgently. The delivery deadline option we were given, from the post office to the distribution houses, was on average four days because there was a weekend ahead of us, that was just unacceptable to us. We solved our problem that day according to the principle of calling a friend, and the very next day the idea of ​​developing TheGepek was born,'' explained Carla Ferreri.

The Croatian TheGepek platform is based on the sharing economy, the so-called a carpooling cost-sharing model with the possibility of package sending flexibility that the current package distribution market doesn't yet offer. As it is based on a large number of non-professional vendors, the platform also has security options specific to similar systems and rating systems. TheGepek plans to include virtual currencies in its business in the coming period, but more will be known at the end of the month.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Former Rimac Engineer Tino Sturlic Builds Electric Solar Boat

July the 12th, 2021 - Former Mate Rimac engineer Tino Sturlic has mixed his obvious innovative nature with the desire to protect the environment, creating no less than a solar electric boat.

As Morski writes, Tino Sturlic from Zagreb is a former employee of Rimac Automobili and recently finished work on his boat, and the key modifications were the installation of solar panels and electric motors, writes rep.hr.

He bought the boat as a joint venture with his brother and sister two years ago, but he wasn't satisfied with the ''vibrations'' of the old Tomos 4 pente, so he immediately sent the boat to Zapresic, where he has a workshop. A lengthy restoration followed, followed by the design of the battery. The owner of Torp, who is also a former employee of Rimac Automobili, helped him out in his task.

He also installed a Battery Management System originally developed for an electric scooter that allows for the monitoring of battery status via mobile phone apps, as well as other data such as consumption and charging via solar panels.

The battery with a capacity of 110 Ah and a voltage of 48V can also be charged via a socket, but for shorter and occasional use of the boat it is enough to use tilting solar panels, which can be rotated laterally to make better use of solar energy depending on the sun's strength and position. In the strongest sunny conditions, they produce 500W of electricity per hour, while the boat at a speed of 3.2 knots per hour (5.9 km/h) consumes about 1kW. The range of the boat with a full battery at that speed is almost 16 nautical miles, and charging while driving increases this by up to 30 percent.

A necessary part of Tino Sturlic's system is the charging controller, which can be removed from the front of the ship together with the battery. It was developed by the Croatian company Infoton and then fully adapted to the aforementioned battery. In rare situations when the battery needs to be carried on the mains, it can be pulled out and taken away so that it doesn't have to bring electricity into the boat.

Unfortunately, the weakest link in the system was the old electric motor that was once used in Koncar's forklift and which still needs to be fitted with cooling to prevent overheating that occurs after an hour of sailing.

Tino Sturlic's unusual and impressive project worked for itself, but the interest and reactions of the public were positive, so it is possible that one day everything will result in a business project. The above example shows that the added value brought by innovative companies such as Rimac Automobili and the knowledge and experience gained by employees can one day see them start up their own new innovative companies. It's worth mentioning that Tino Sturlic was praised by his former employer, Mate Rimac, and he proudly pointed out that Tino, as well as some other former employees, had all started their own businesses, but not all of them have gone public yet.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Croatian Koncar Succeeds in Asia with Job Contract in Japan

July the 12th, 2021 - The Croatian Koncar company, which is very well known on a global scale for its expertise and high quality work, has succeeded on the Asian market as Japanese jobs are contracted.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the Croatian Koncar - Generators and Engines (GIM), owned by its parent company Koncar - Elektroindustrija, made a very significant step forward onto the challenging Asian market back in mid-May.

Following two entire years of continuous bidding and a tough negotiation process, the Croatian Koncar company earned a large contract over in Japan for the first time in its history. In this regard, the company, one of the components of the Koncar Group, pointed out that the delivery of the signed contract includes "the design, production and supervision during the installation of three generators for two different small hydropower plants."

The first phase of the project will be completed with the successful commissioning of a 5.2 MVA synchronous generator (240 min-1) at Shin Sakagami SHPP, they explained, while the second stage will be completed when the 5.2 MVA (240 min-1) synchronous generator is put into operation, followed by an asynchronous generator with a nominal power of 0.546 MW (366 min-1) at SHE Utsubo.

This is a contract that is a continuation of the Croatian Koncar company's highly successful cooperation with an Austrian turbine manufacturer, and over the next three years the two companies should justify the trust placed in them by Japanese consultants with their work. However, given the fact that this is the first time that Japanese investors have chosen a turbine manufacturer based in Europe, Koncar GIM will not only work hard to introduce itself, but is also expected to be a pioneer in opening the market to other European manufacturers.

This market is widely known for being very demanding, and the company got involved in a challenging project precisely due to typically demanding Japanese consultants and sky high expectations. The Austrian partner and the customer have recognised the competencies and capabilities of the Croatian Koncar, which are harder and harder to find, and decided they were by far the best choice for this kind of solution.

It also turns out that Japan is one of the markets in this segment that puts quality, technical solution and good communication in the first place, above all else. After the first contract on the Japanese market, Koncar could expect many other similar projects in the future, as well as more in various other areas of business. It's worth noting that the share of exports in total revenues from the sales of Koncar Group products and services with references to 130 world markets in the first quarter of this year reached 67 percent, and the most significant exports were realized in Germany, Sweden, the UAE and Austria.

Two thirds of the the Croatian Koncar company's total exports go to the EU market, which again speaks of the quality of their products and the solutions that they successfully offer in this also very demanding market. Koncar GIM has 375 hydropower plants built and revitalised across the world - individual products are adapted to customer requirements and form a niche market for the company's business, and 700 generators are produced and revitalised. Their business results are based on their own product development and production, cooperation with other companies operating under the wider Koncar umbrella, as well as numerous scientific institutions.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Ruđer Bošković Institute Scientists: New Findings Regarding Isomers in Stereochemistry

July 8, 2021 - Ruđer Bošković Institute scientists made progress in stereochemistry that focuses on describing the order of atoms in three-dimensional space and compounds of equal molecular formulas.

While Ivo Andrić's Nobel Prize in literature is debatable whether it serves the national pride of Croatia, Serbia, or Bosnia and Herzegovina, the two Nobel prizes that are unquestionably for Croatians to brag about come from chemistry.

Croatian chemist Vladimir Prelog won the Nobel Prize in 1975 for his work in organic stereochemistry.

As the Ruđer Bošković Institute reported this week, Ph.D. candidate Natalija Pantalon Juraj and dr. Srećko Kirin provided new descriptions of isomers (focused on metal complexes), and their work is published in a prestigious Coordination Chemistry Reviews [IF2020: 22.3] journal, titled „Inorganic stereochemistry: Geometric isomerism in bis-tridentate ligand complexes“.

„The basis of the research was the analysis of structure from crystallographic database“, added IRB.

IRB explained in a press release that stereochemistry is focused on describing the order of atoms in three-dimensional space and compounds of equal molecular formulas, but that differ in the spatial order of atom placements are called isomers.

Prelog took an interest in organic stereochemistry (organic, being interested in compounds with carbon), and while organic stereochemistry has good ways of synthesizing the preferred isomers, the same isn't the case for inorganic (non-carbon compounds) chemistry.

While it is unclear if this work will be awarded and recognized among the international scientific community as much as Prelog's contribution, Pantalon Juraj and Kirin made some progress in advancing inorganic stereochemistry.

„Analysis of data presented in this paper shows trends in coordination properties of various ligands (ligand being an ion or molecule 'functional group' that binds to a central atom to form a coordination complex), thus answering the question of which ligand to choose and design a system to get a wanted isomer“, says IRB regarding the relevance of the research.

The detailed analysis also revealed stereochemical preferences that vary on various factors, and these findings are important for developing new functional coordinating complexes and also new selective catalizators to speed up the reactions.

This research was funded thanks to the Croatian Science Foundation as part of the project „Minimal Artificial Ensims“ (IP-2014-09-1461 and DOK-2015-10-2072), and "CAT Pharma" (KK.01.1.1.04.0013).

Learn more about Croatian inventions & discoveries: from Tesla to Rimac on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

Croatian Surf n Fries Opening in New European Locations: Croatia and UK

July the 8th, 2021 - The Croatian Surf n Fries company, which has since expanded to numerous locations across the Republic of Croatia, Europe and the rest of the world, is set to open its doors in more locations across the country and in the United Kingdom.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although a good part of the total of 54 locations in the world where the Croatian Surf n Fries fast food chain franchises operate couldn't even be opened due to the measures put in place owing to the pandemic, Andrija Colak's project has far from gone stagnant.

In the meantime, a mobile facility has been opened on the island of Rab, a fixed store is being opened in Osijek, and a contract has been signed for opening a location in Brighton, UK, and it will be the Croatian Surf n Fries' first fixed location in the UK, Colak revealed on Tuesday.

"Throughout the pandemic, the number of franchises didn't fall, but there was no significant growth, and the biggest challenge is that due to the closures and lockdowns we couldn't realise the contract we had at bars at stadiums in France and the UK, which was signed almost a year ago," said Colak.

As is already known, back in September 2020, a contract was signed with the company Rapid Retail, and Croatian Surf n Fries food was set to be eaten at famous European stadiums, from Old Trafford in Manchester to the Stade de France, the French national stadium in Paris.

As the pandemic has so far banned gatherings in stadiums, the deal sadly hasn't come to fruition. Meanwhile, the Croatian Surf n Fries team is still developing its innovation of a machine that throws fresh french fries out into a cardboard box. So far, the only vending machine of the sort has been installed in Plodine in Rijeka.

"In addition to all of the above, we're working on the transformation of the menu, we're strengthening our chicken segment, which is increasingly popular in the fast food business, with the stagnation of beef. In addition, we're expanding the menu from "snack" to "full menu", introducing breakfast, while our focus is still on quality ingredients and local suppliers. We're also working on the introduction of retail products in the offer such as crisps, which will do well on the back of the already well-known brand of our fries,'' pointed out Andrija Colak.

For more, follow our business section.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

International Ethnology and Folklore Society Conference: Croatian Scientists on Homelessness in Croatia

July 1, 2021 - Research of Croatian Scientists on homelessness in Croatia was presented in June at the 15th edition of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) conference.

Cooperation and comparative scientific studies between the Swiss and Croatians were already evident this year at the European Conference For Social Work Research (ECSWR).

As Total Croatia News previously reported, Dr. Lynette Šikić Mićanović participated in ECSWR representing Croatian scientific authors Suzana Sakić and Paula Greiner, with whom as a team, participated in a joint research project called "Exploring Homelessness and Pathways to Social Inclusion: A Comparative Study of Contexts and Challenges in Swiss and Croatian Cities (No. IZHRZO_180631/1), co-lead by the Swiss science team.

Back in June, as Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute informed, both Mićanović and Greiner participated in the 15th edition of the International Society for Ethnology and Folklore (SIEF) conference titled “Breaking the rules? Power, Participation, and Transgression". The conference was held online at the University of Helsinki, Finland, from June 19- 26. Both Šikić Mićanović and Greiner attended a panel called 'Res08a: Breaking Spatial Rules - Micro-practices of resistance and refusal against dominant forms of territoriality I', to present their work „Homelessness and social exclusion: the negotiation of public spaces“.

„Their paper explores how homeless people who live in or use public urban spaces (in the absence of their own private spaces) break its rules and convert it into their (private) spheres for different activities related to work, leisure, and/or personal needs such as sleep/rest and hygiene“, explained the Ivo Pilar Social Research Institute.

Just like for the ECSWR, the Institute added that their work presented on SIEF is part of a project “Exploring Homelessness and Pathways to Social Inclusion: A Comparative Study of Contexts and Challenges in Swiss and Croatian Cities” (No. IZHRZO_180631/1). Once again, it was financed within the Croatian-Swiss Research Program of the Croatian Science Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation with funds obtained from the Swiss-Croatian Cooperation Program.

As SIEF explains on its official website, SIEF is a „pluridisciplinary organization centered in the twin fields of ethnology and folklore (E&F) in their various denominations, within the larger family of anthropological and cultural-historical disciplines.“

„SIEF is eclectic and open-minded, promiscuous in its disciplinary relations while keeping faith with its founding values and vision. Global in its origins, today SIEF operates within an institutional context that is concentrated in but not limited to Europe," explains their website.

They add how their principal mission is to gather scholars to provide platforms for critical debate, networking, and exchange, as well as for building infrastructures for intellectual cooperation, publishing and promoting scientific work related to ethnology, folklore, and neighboring disciplines.

Learn more about Croatia: location, facts, economy, and more on our TC page.

For more about science in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Croatian Olive Growers Win Medals in New York, 2000 Kuna Customs Fee Awaits

July the 1st, 2021 - Croatian olive growers and their produce are praised worldwide and are no stranger to a medal or ten. After recently winning yet more recognition and awards in New York, now around 2000 kuna in customs fees need to be paid in order for them to enter Croatia.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian olive growers have been wildly successful with their produce, and nobody in Croatia really seems to care all that much about the level of promotion this provides the country that relies so heavily on foreign visitors. A little over one month ago, on the world's largest stage, NYIOOC 2021 in New York, Croatian olive growers "picked up" medals by winning 4th place, just behind the likes of Spain, Italy and Greece.

Nobody can stop writing about them - how could they not when a small country like Croatia participating in the world's production of olive oil with only 0.3 percent, takes the top place in terms of oil quality, reports agroklub.

"It happened because Dalmatians joined the Istrian olive growers in this great competition. The Istrians have confirmed their reputation, and the Dalmatians have proven that they have quality to offer as well,'' commented Dr. Ivica Vlatkovic, who once again won gold medals. Croatian olive growers won 66 gold and 20 silver medals in total.

The typically Croatian and utterly absurd customs clearance charges...

Aware of the fact that by participating in a kind of world championship and receiving the highest awards, they have contributed to Croatia entering the very top of the world in the quality of olive oils, they expect (greater) understanding from the state authorities. Unfortunately, the state authorities in Croatia aren't well known for their understanding, or much else in that regard.

Because, as Zlatko Buric said, the man who united the Solta olive growers and together with them managed to protect the Golden Solta oil at the European Union level, unfortunately there isn't much that can make Croatia an economically successful country. ''We've once again proved that we are at the bottom in terms of organisation,'' reported the aforementioned portal.

"Instead of the Prime Minister or the President contacting us and publicly praising us, giving us some sort of reward for our great success, they want to be parasitic by collecting customs duties on trophies which have been properly obtained and are well-deserved," said Buric and other Croatian olive oil producers and growers.

For each statuette and medal, if something doesn't change in the meantime, almost 2,000 kuna will need to be paid. Olive growers are afraid that they will have to pay VAT, so now they are trying everything in order to be able to prove the meaninglessness and even the illegality of this levy individually with some sort of joint action. Some have already contacted Minister Marija Vuckovic, who "called customs and promised that everything would be settled'', but we're yet to see if that occurs.

For more, follow our dedicated Made in Croatia section.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

Croatian Dok-Ing Presents Robotic System for Military and Civilian Use

July the 1st, 2021 - The Croatian Dok-Ing company has presented the world's very first robotic system for both military and civilian use, putting Croatia on the map when it comes to robotics and other innovative technologies once again.

Robotics might not be among the first things one would associate Croatia with, but the country has come on leaps and bounds in this regard over recent years, with robotics even entering the school system in some areas. This has allowed Croatian children to have the opportunity to learn about the skills likely needed for the future as technology changes rapidly and on a global scale.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the Croatian Dok-Ing company, which has been a global leader in the production of autonomous vehicles for demining, mining and firefighting for three decades now, recently presented its new project - Komodo.

As Vjekoslav Majetic, the founder of the Croatian Dok-Ing company pointed out, Komodo is the synthesis of all previous knowledge and technology of this company in one single product.

Komodo is a ''tank'' that can be used in all kinds of extreme conditions, whether they be war conditions or civilian ones, anywhere where it has become too dangerous for people to be present unless absolutely necessary. The Croatian Dok-ing's new robot is modular and can be adapted to various missions, from extinguishing fires in a chemical or nuclear environment through to sampling and analysis, to weapons and combat operations as a classic combat vehicle or tank.

Komodo, which has a hybrid diesel-electric drive, should be in series production by the year 2023. The price will stand at an eye-watering 5-10 million euros, depending on the equipment and orders, and Majetic says that they could deliver about 100 of these impressive Croatian machines a year.

For more on Croatian innovation and the companies behind it, make sure to follow Made in Croatia.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Croatian Dream Factory Creates Personalised Children's Books

June the 29th, 2021 - Croatian Dream Factory (Tvornica snova) is busy creating personalised children's books, a move they want to expand on a global scale with.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marta Duic writes, the Croatian Dream Factory is an unusual publisher that makes storytelling unforgettable through innovative technology. The business story of Andrijana Majstorovic and Goran Galetic began back in 2011, when no one in the market of Croatia or the immediate region was engaged in personalised children's publishing.

The first title they came up with was "Planet of the Dwarves", the first picture book in Croatia made with 3D illustrations. In addition to ten permanent employees, a number of external collaborators worked on the project, from designers to illustrators and programmers.

In 2020, they generated impressive revenue of 3.34 million kuna, which is growth of more than 25 percent when compared to the previous year, and their personalised picture book is "How did I come into the world?" became the first book of every fifth baby born in Croatia.

"Our plans are very ambitious, just like they have been ever since day one. In December this year, we're going to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Croatian Dream Factory. When we moved, literally from the garage, we never dreamed that we'd manage to gather a team of 25 people to create stories that now empower children and connect families and that our books would be the best-selling children's books in Croatia.

For the next ten years, we've set ourselves the goal of having a global presence by 2030. We don’t want to be just one of the players in this market of personalised children’s books that is in strong development, but as pioneers of that industry, people who have the know-how. By 2030, we see ourselves as global leaders in the sale and production of personalised children's books,'' says Goran Galetic, one of the initiators of the Croatian Dream Factory company.

As they point out, from the very beginning of the business they encountered numerous challenges, and for the first time they got stuck when they were looking for a partner in Croatia with equipment and machines who could print a book ''on demand'', which the personalised picture book required. They decided to start the project from their own workshop, bought bookbinding machines, prepared the first titles for sale, and then invested in a webshop.

A few years later, digital printing became much more accessible, and the development of the IT industry and new technologies created more new opportunities for the development of Dream Factory.

Back in 2015, Kristijan Vrbanic, an electrical engineer, joined the team, with whom they started the realisation of a new webshop with a software solution in the background. The idea was an interactive webshop, and thanks to this software solution, today a customer creates their own book in the ordering process.

“This year was marked by a complete redesign of the webshop, on which we've been working for the last year and in which we've invested over 350,000 kuna. We generate annual sales revenue of more than 3.3 million kuna, which we consider a very good result, given that we sell a very specific product. We have only nine items on offer and the majority of our income is related to sales concluded here on the Croatian market,'' explains Galetic.

In addition to Croatian, Dream Factory markets its products on the German and Austrian markets through the Fabelfeder brand, in Poland through the Magiczne pioro brand, and in Serbia through the Dream Workshop brand. Their plan is to expand to all European markets, as well as those of the US and Canada over the next two years.

“We're constantly investing in the development and improvement of the webshop and in the creation of new personalised books. There are currently three new books being made that will go on sale during 2022.

In the last two years alone, we've invested more than 750,000 kuna in the improvement of the webshop, the development of new personalisation functionalities, the development of new titles and redesign of existing ones, which represents strong capital for further business development and expansion into new markets,'' concluded Galetic.

For more, follow Made in Croatia.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Split Airport Reconstruction Project Receives Croatian Cemex Award

June the 26th, 2021 - The Split Airport reconstruction project has received the Croatian Cemex construction award, among other praiseworthy projects from both Dalmatia and Kvarner.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, the Split Airport reconstruction and extension of the passenger terminal, the Castua Pentagon office building from Kastav and the New City Stairs from Ploce are the winners of this year's Cemex Construction Award in the Republic of Croatia.

The three winners of the local pre-competition will represent Croatia's construction achievements over the last three years at the global Cemex Architecture Award, which is to be held this November in Mexico.

After a one-year break due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the 30th Cemex Building Award will be held this year, and the Croatian representatives will participate in it for the 12th time. The most successful Croatian architectural and construction achievements, such as the Split Airport reconstruction project, will compete in two main categories, the category of Infrastructure Buildings and the category of Public and Commercial Buildings.

While the Republic of Croatia has its representative in the competition for special awards, those for sustainable construction and special social value.

"The first impression that passengers get about any destination is its airport, and the new building of Split Airport is very transparent and designed in such a way that from every point of view, it is associated with flight. Every space that the passengers pass through offers them a new type of experience, a new moment that they can look at, photograph or comment on, with constant and uninterrupted contact with the local environment - with the sea, Trogir, Kastela, Split and in the background with Kozjak.

This introduces passengers in the best possible way to what awaits them when they arrive in the heart of Dalmatia,'' said Ivan Vulic, one of the authors of the architectural solution of the passenger terminal of Split Airport.

For more, follow our lifestyle section.

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