Friday, 23 July 2021

HUBBAZIA - A Business Incubator in Opatija for Tourism Startups Open for Applicants Until August 5, 2021

July 23, 2021 - Opatija is known to be Croatia's "cradle of tourism", hence, it's no wonder that it became home to HUBBAZIA - a centre for creativity and innovation in tourism. This business incubator, co-financed by the European Union, is now accepting applications from start-up companies that have original, sustainable, and creative ideas to further boost tourism entrepreneurship in Opatija. Applications are open until August 5, 2021! 

One of the most important (if not the most important) economic branches in Croatia is tourism and through HUBBAZIA, the City of Opatija encourages and attracts young startup companies to open and create new sustainable business ideas to further enhance the development of tourism in the city by providing full management training and mentoring, fully-equipped co-working space for brainstorming and lastly, venture capital financing. Joining HUBBAZIA is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to help increase their company's efficiency while significantly reducing looming business risks.

In return, through this project, the City of Opatija hopes to attract more foreign and domestic investors, regional economic and social development growth, and a more fulfilling relationship between the city's small to medium enterprises and the local community's needs. With HUBBAZIA amounting to a total value of HRK 2,543,985.25 (EUR 338,850.47), thanks to the European Regional Development Fund, the project will serve as big assistance to youth who are striving in launching their own businesses and will ensure the growth of Opatija's tourism industry.

Conditions for application 

The City of Opatija, together with PAR Business School, welcomes young entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas and business models related to tourism AS LONG AS the business entities are not older than 3 years. The program will have 5 project cycles, meaning, it will have 5 generations of participants. The deadline for the application for its 1st cycle will be on 05.08.2021 at 12:00. The workshops and mentorships will begin on 16.08.2021 and will be held in the newly renovated and modernly equipped Villa Antonia. If interested, CLICK HERE for the application link.

What to expect?

After the submission of all applications closes, HUBBAZIA will conduct the selection phase which usually lasts for 1 month. If your business manages to get through, you will enter the mentoring and education phase which lasts for 4 months along with 25 hours of workshops each month. Here, your company will be mentored by experts in business, finance, marketing, sales, web design, investment, and product development to help you shape and enhance your business ideas. Next is the final consultation/construction phase, where you will be given a month to finalise your business construction model. The whole cycle culminates on Demo Day when participants get to present their ideas to the public and attract investors. 

Attendees will be entitled to have free co-working space, internet, meeting room, consumables for training, counseling, and mentoring, presentation on HUBBAZIA websites and social networks, and minimized initial fixed costs. Most importantly, HUBBAZIA will be a space for like-minded individuals to brainstorm and network their business with other entrepreneurs and to gain a wider range of business information and contacts - a definite and exciting once-in-a-lifetime chance!

For more details on HUBBAZIA, CLICK HERE.

To learn more about Business, follow TCN's dedicated page.

CLICK HERE for more about Croatia.


Thursday, 27 May 2021

Summer Business School: A Chance for Entrepreneurs at Step-Ri Science-Technology Park

May 27, 2021 - This June, a five-day Summer Business School organized by Step-Ri Science-Technology Park and the American Embassy in Croatia makes Rijeka the place for entrepreneurs.

Science parks, research parks or technology parks or less intriguingly known as innovation centers, are a purpose-built cluster of office spaces, labs, workrooms, and meeting areas designed to support research and development in science and tech, says Bidwells, one of the UK's most reputable property consultancy companies. Common infrastructures worldwide and in Europe, the biggest city in Kvarner, Rijeka, is no exception in having one.

Step-Ri is a science-technology park, part of the University in Rijeka, and a place where science and economy meet to encourage entrepreneurship based on knowledge and new technologies.

„As one of the leading institutions in Croatia when it comes to entrepreneurship, Step Ri brings the newest knowledge in innovation and management from around the world through interesting education and business consulting. With our knowledge and experience, singlehandedly and with the help of the international network of partners and friends, we create projects and specialized programs to encourage entrepreneurship initiatives for both employed and unemployed, students, and the scientific community. With new services, business models, personal and organizational competencies, we make already successful entrepreneurs more competitive“, says Step-Ri's official website.
One example of such initiatives is the upcoming Summer Business Camp which will take place from June 23-27. And what's more interesting, this five-day program is brought to Step-Ri in collaboration with the American Embassy in Croatia.

„Summer Business Camp brings teams from all Croatia that want to improve or refine their business ideas and solutions through exercises, lectures, and individual coaching, “says Step Ri, promising extraordinary mentoring from successful entrepreneurs and investors.

This year, special attention will be given to the gaming startups, but other industries are also welcome. Regardless of whether you are already an entrepreneur or just aspiring to be one, you are welcome to apply if you have a developed business idea or a functional prototype.

Learning how to bulletproof your idea, experienced entrepreneur as a mentor, a chance to hear directly from investors what are they looking for and how to deliver it, valuable feedback and honest thoughts to accelerate your project, creating new opportunities, meeting other people in the business, and a having a good time- are some of the promises by Step-Ri for those who apply.

But, it would be best if you hurried, as June 6 is very close, and that's the deadline to beat. At least ten teams will be selected after a committee of experts evaluates project applications. Bed and breakfast accommodation for up to two team members, lunch at the venue, local bus tickets for getting to the venue, and a commemorative T-shirt await for those who are selected. And once in, a panel of venture capitalists, business angels, and business people will award the best with Apple iPad Pro (1st prize), Apple iPad Air 4 (2nd prize), and Apple iPad 8 (3rd prize).

Pieces of technologies such as the aforementioned above can certainly come in handy to entrepreneurs, but what about money? The actual finance for your projects?
„Many teams in the past received funding from participating investors and judges. However, nobody but you can answer that! Come and pitch your idea and see how far it will take you!“concludes Step-Ri regarding finance possibilities to turn your vision into a reality.

Learn more about Rijeka on our TC page.

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

Monday, 8 February 2021

Croatian Bellabeat Leaf Urban Named the Best Smart Jewelry in the World

February 8, 2021 – In a recent test of smart jewelry available on the market, conducted by Business Insider, the Croatian Bellabeat Leaf Urban pendant was named the best smart jewelry, and Bellabeat's Leaf Chakra the best smart bracelet in the world.

As Jutarnji list reports, smart jewelry from one of the first and most successful Croatian startups, the company Bellabeat, was rated the best in the world in the Business Insider survey. They rated Bellabeat’s Leaf Urban pendant as the best smart jewelry in the world, as well as Bellabeat's Leaf Chakra as the best smart bracelet in the world.

The startup of Croatian mathematician Sandro Mur and Slovenian artist Urška Sršen, which became a subsidiary of Five River Group, has been breaking into the market again for the last three years and is succeeding.

Fitness tracker as a work of art

In recent years, Bellabeat has been written about mostly in the context of downsizing and business problems. However, three years ago, they got a new investment, as much as 14 million dollars, started attracting new staff, and now they have received the first major confirmation of their progress in product development.

So far, they have sold two million of their products, and their main market is the US.

Bellabeat states that Leaf Urban, also their best-selling product, is a perfect blend of technology and modern design. They have shown that smart jewelry does not have to be ugly or super masculine to be highly technically useful.

"This piece of smart jewelry in the shape of a leaf turns a fitness tracker into a work of art. It can be worn as a bracelet, necklace or brooch, does not disturb the user with an additional screen, its battery lasts up to 6 months and can monitor your activity, stress level, hydration, menstrual cycle, meditation, and sleep. It connects wirelessly to a mobile app," they point out.

Eight million people use their app

All ideas for Bellabeat's products came from their creative director Urška Sršen. In a recent interview for Jutarnji list, she said that she has been battling autoimmune diseases since she was a child and that she has learned to control them by managing her lifestyle with enough exercise, proper nutrition, enough sleep, and stress reduction.

“I realized that technology can be a great tool that can help raise awareness of your own lifestyle and hone healthy habits. That's how Bellabeat came to be. Most of the tools that were on the market until then were not so much adapted to women, i.e., users who are not so much focused exclusively on fitness, but on their lifestyle in general," said Sršen, who once ended up on Forbes' prestigious "30 under 30" list.


Bellabeat Leaf Urban

The smart water bottle Spring, which enables automatic hydration monitoring, is also in their offer, as well as the Time smartwatch and the new Ivy collection, similar to Leaf, which has additional functions for measuring heart rate and cardio coherence.

In addition to hardware, Bellabeat is increasingly working on its software, which is used by about eight million people. Their app offers more and more personalized content, such as tips related to women’s health and beauty, diet recipes, training plan, guided meditations etc.

Testing and collecting data

This Croatian startup has developed an algorithm that can predict stress resistance on any given day. They claim that if you say that you did not sleep well or that you did not exercise, the algorithm itself will predict that you may be more susceptible to stress that day.

Bellabeat's young team develops this content in collaboration with top wellness instructors. Also, when developing all their products and contents, they consult with medical experts and they test and verify everything.

"I think that in the future, technology will be an increasing factor and contributor to the wellness industry's progress. We want to be a ‘data company’. Technology is our tool, but data is our greatest treasure. Based on that, we can further improve our services, but also work on the development of the wellness market in general," concludes Sršen.

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

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Croatia to USA and Back: Marin Bek Reflects on Success

Marin Bek, electrical engineer and co-founder of Ascalia and Kraken Systems, reflects on his life and success for Generacija NOW, a Hrvatski telekom project, in the form of a recent letter to his younger self. After graduating from FER (University of Zagreb, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing), he moved to America and found a job there, but eventually returned to Čakovec, Croatia. Today, at age 33, he runs two very successful companies.

When he was a kid in elementary school, he was dismantling TVs and burning things. And it was obvious to everyone that he wouldn’t study history but something STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). He often went cycling with his mom, and while they rode together, she tried to figure out what he wanted to do with his life. He entered eighth grade and he told her that he wanted to be a programmer and work in California. Then he completed his degree in electrical engineering and computer science and lived in California for a while. After a few years, he returned from America to Čakovec, Croatia and started an IT company and later a tech startup there. It might have seemed like an odd path to his peers, but he knew that he had made the right decision because it is not important where you work in IT, but the kind of work you do.

Computer Whiz

Everyone in elementary school was interested in technology, but when he chose a high school, he encountered prejudice for the first time. He didn’t want to enroll in high school and chose the technical middle school in Čakovec instead, and since that school was not at its best, his former professors slandered him. They also summoned his mom to school and recommended that she take him out of technical school and enroll him in high school. And then his cousin Siniša, who had graduated from FER and the technical school in Varaždin, advised Marin’s mother to allow Marin to study what he wanted. Fortunately, she understood and gave him that choice.

The technical middle school was too easy for him. He was 16 years old, and advanced to the second level. Everything went smoothly, even though he wasn’t learning anything, and that's how it remained until he enrolled in FER. However, he found math so difficult there that he nearly lost a year and almost dropped out of college; but he advanced (barely). It took him some time to get used to the fact that things were not as simple as they were in high school, and he would have to study harder.

Working Full-time in College

He started working full time at Bosch during his second semester of college so that he could stay in Zagreb. He skipped typical student life and extended his studies to six and a half years. After working at Bosch for a few years, he had had enough of small programming jobs and he quit. Then he started working for the Austrian company AVL, and stayed there until leaving for America.

In the summer before his third year of college, he took a bus from Zadar to Čakovec. Among the documentaries shown during the bus ride was one about underwater robots exploring the Titanic. Seeing this encouraged him to enroll in a seminar on electrical engineering and the design of autonomous robots. He enjoyed this seminar and his professors persuaded him to switch from computers to electronics.


Autonomous Underwater Diver

He remained at AVL and his seminar paper turned into a graduate thesis. Then he made his own autonomous underwater diver, which was like a small underwater drone. Shortly before graduation, FER gave a lecture on startups, which still seemed like an abstract term back then. After that lecture, he spoke to the lecturer and Vladimir de Franceschi, a startup lawyer who worked in Silicon Valley, and told them about his autonomous diver. The lawyer like what he heard and suggested that he apply for the Startup Accelerator Program at the US-based Founder Institute in Zagreb, and later helped him with his startup in San Francisco.

After graduation he continued working at AVL. He wanted to enroll in the Founder Institute's American Startup Accelerator Program but needed an investment of 3000 HRK, which he didn’t have. His grandmother had a stroke and he helped pay for her care. Then his mother became ill and he looked after her as well. After discussing options with friends, his cousin Siniša lent him the money which was a major turning point. In Zagreb, he became familiar with the startup culture through the accelerator program.


From Croatia to San Francisco

One afternoon in Čakovec in the winter of 2012, he cut off part of his thumb above the bone while splitting firewood for his mother. They saved his thumb and the three months of sick leave turned out to be a positive thing. During his time at home he realized that it was better to work alone than in an office, and started thinking about moving to San Francisco. He founded his first startup while still in Zagreb, and soon found a job online at the Nextuser startup so that he could pay rent, food and finance his own project. Many of his peers warned him of the risk of quitting a job at a well-off Austrian company to launch a startup with someone that he had met on the Internet, but he believed it would pay off in the end.

He enjoyed San Francisco, and like everyone else, he juggled several jobs while developing his startup. It was entirely commonplace there to be sitting in a cafe and have a waiter share an idea for a startup. He tried to get involved with marine technology and underwater drones but couldn’t obtain financing. Six and a half years later, he realizes that his idea was ahead of its time, and making it happen would have been extraordinarily expensive.

His project eventually failed, and he ran out of money, but quickly connected with people who would play a key role in his future. At Nextuser he had advanced from IT developer to CTO, and became involved with finding investors, which enhanced his knowledge and pool of acquaintances. However, he wanted to return to Croatia for his mom's sake and didn’t want to get stuck in America forever. In 2013, he and his friend and colleague Dean Strbad launched an IT company called Kraken Systems which dealt with big data in Čakovec. For a while he lived on the Čakovec-San Francisco route. After two and a half years, he left Silicon Valley and returned to Croatia.

Return to Croatia

When he set up Kraken Systems in Čakovec, his critics thought it strange that he had not chosen Zagreb. But his reasons were based on logic: Dean, who is also from Čakovec, worked alongside him. He also set up a home office so that he would not have to rent a space. Besides, he wanted to be closer to his mom because she was ill and needed his help. And, he didn’t allow himself to be influenced by peer pressure, because he had been shaped by American business culture, and knew that the location of his firm was completely irrelevant.

He didn’t plan on working with Croatian clients anyway, and it didn't matter to anyone in America whether the company is in Zagreb, Čakovec or Varaždin because they’d probably never heard of any of those cities. Also, in America, he never experienced prejudice regarding where he worked or where he came from. San Francisco is a melting pot, which is a positive aspect of life there. People arrive from all over the world and come from many different backgrounds.

However, after three and a half years, he decided to move the business to a more central location. His mother’s health didn't improve, and he moved to Zadar, where it became apparent that he would never return to Čakovec. As he continued to add staff; he decided to rent offices in Zagreb. However, he kept an office in Čakovec, where three people are currently working.

Kraken Systems is a now a company with close to 1 million EUR in revenue and they work with clients like Carrefour, Nestlé, Ferrer and Forbes. Four years after Kraken Systems began operations, he launched Ascalia, another tech startup, and now has over 20 employees in both companies.

He found investors from Canada and Croatia and his new startup focuses on industry and helping factories to modernize. They use the benefits of technology to reduce environmental impact and overall costs while optimizing operations. He created software and devices which allow industrial machines, made from 1979 to the present, to connect to the Internet. This allows clients to run a smart factory without a major investment. He has continued to develop this company, which is active in London, Paris and Germany. Everywhere except Croatia.

These days he travels all over the world: one day he’s in Paris, the next day in Munich or London. He also travels through America, Europe and China for work.


Advice to Young Entrepreneurs

His advice to young entrepreneurs? Don’t hesitate to take risks and follow your instincts without overthinking things. There will be tough times and obstacles, but be persistent and don't give up. Unfortunately, he no longer has any close relatives: mom, dad, or grandparents, so he doesn’t rule out living abroad again. Seven years ago, he was raising money for gas in Čakovec, and he never dreamed of achieving such success in his early thirties. He has no idea what his forties will bring. We’ll have to wait and see.

About Generacija NOW

Generacija NOW is a donor-sponsored program implemented by Hrvatski Telekom in partnership with the Institut za razvoj i inovativnost mladih (Institute for Youth Development and Innovation). In four years, more than HRK 4 million has been invested in preparing young people for jobs of the future, and the program works with more than 300 educational institutions across Croatia.

With the documentary “Generacija inspiracija” (Inspiration Generation), as well as a series of activities within the donation program, Hrvatski Telekom emphasizes the importance of investing in better education for all school age groups – so that they can successfully navigate life without missing out on opportunities provided by the latest technological advances. The importance of destroying preconceptions and prejudices must not be forgotten. And one of the more common preconceptions is that businesses cannot be started in smaller environments.

For more information on Croatian entrepreneurs and business in Croatia, follow our Business page here or our Made in Croatia page here.

Monday, 29 July 2019

Old-Fashioned Port Authorities Won't Stop Croatian Start-Up PortHop

PortHop, the new start-up venture by Andrija Čolak, the entrepreneur behind the Surf'n'Fries franchise, could become the next big thing on the international nautical market, and is sometimes dubbed "the nautical", but it seems that their negotiations with the port authorities in Croatia are worse than fighting the windmills. Or, better yet, fighting the buoys, Ana Kostanić writes for Netokracija.

Imagine going on your vacation without any idea where you'll be staying: you just start going from one street to another, knocking on doors, and hope you'll find something available and acceptable. Instead of doing your research a month or so in advance in peace, you waste time finding the accommodation that way. Luckily, when it comes to boarding, those times are long gone, but when it comes to docking your boat in the Adriatic - that's exactly how things still work today!

There's no way for a boat to know if they'll be able to get a berth before they actually arrive at the marina, port or a holder of a concession with the buoys for rent. There are no reservations, and all of them operate at the "first come - first served" principle. If you're too late, you're out of luck - you either need to find another marina, or spend the night anchored somewhere. That wasn't that big of a deal when there weren't that many boats, but today every nautical tourist is aware that this is a problem. One of those people is Andrija Čolak, known for his Surf'n'Fries franchise and Kisha umbrellas, so he developed the PortHop application. First promoted at the Netokracija's event in 2016, the official apps appeared in 2017 but not much has been heard since. Now, in 2019, Andrija has announced that the app is finally making the "real launch", with improved interface and features.

New features include additional information, like the closest gas stations, restaurants and the most appealing coves of the Adriatic, in addition to a large number of listed berths. All of that lead over 10,000 users to download the application, and the number of reservations made through it is growing every day. The nautical tourists want to use this service, but when it comes to the other side of the equation (those who provide the berths), things are, quite unsurprisingly, quite different. They have not readily accepted the basics of the so-called sharing economy. Mr. Čolak explains that it takes a lot of work, time, energy and patience to convince them to agree to a new, but a greatly improved method of booking and functioning of the reservations for the transfer berths.

The situation is even worse with port authorities, who don't even want to negotiate their way of operating. Port authorities say that they only have the concessions, that the counties are the ones making such strategic decisions, and counties say that they should talk to the port authorities, in classic Croatian style of doing business. The basis for such behavior is, Mr. Čolak says, the inertia and lack of responsibility and the will to improve the nautical tourism and bring it somewhat closer to the 21st century. He adds that the Ministry should make the first step and shake things up, so that projects such as PortHop would be allowed to do their part of the task.

Ana Kostanić from Netokracija requested comments from some of the port authorities but is yet to receive an answer. But, not much in terms of an explanation is to be given. This is, Andrija says, a classic case of negligence over something that is administered by the state, while the private concessioners or marinas embrace anything that will increase the number of their clients or bigger income.

Croatia is missing the opportunity with nautical tourism, and that's a widely known fact. The plans in 2009 said that it will bring up to 14 billion kuna in income before 2019, but we're nowhere near one billion kuna currently. In 2018, the number of vessels at the ports was 3.8% smaller than in 2017, and it's quite obvious that 2019 will probably be even worse. The nautical tourism in Croatia accounts for just 1% of the overall tourist income, which is sad on its own, and additionally sad if we know that nautical tourists spend 40% more than an average tourist.

PortHop is not the only service hoping to partially change that and bring Croatian nautical tourism into the digital era, there's also Marinebook, and there are many global attempts at the market. Unfortunately, the process is going quite slowly. Mr. Čolak says that their product has certain unique selling points, such as the differences in the part of the system devoted to the users. They have a special loyalty program for several segments, including the charter companies. They also want to offer some of the truly useful stuff that won't bring them any money - such as the most beautiful coves of the Adriatic. One of the challenges is including the safety data regarding the situation at the sea bottom in the app, which is something that exists in the analog form but needs to be digitized for such applications. The providers of the berths have varied rules and procedures (for instance, when you can make a booking for the next day), so each of them has to be put in the app.

Although Andrija has already taken his startup to the foreign market, PortHop is significantly different. First foreign market for them was Germany, which happened organically for them. In Germany, the marinas are smaller and more traditional than in Croatia, but those are all challenges that can be solved. If they succeed in Germany, they plan to go global, which means they would need new investors, Andrija confirms. They're currently negotiating a 3 to 6 million dollar investment, which would help them finalise the process. They see the biggest potential in the markets in Greece, the Carribean, Spain, France...

So, the current situation with the port authorities is not helping to create an original Croatian export product. And it's important to add that services such as PortHop can increase the trust between the parties in the transaction and make payments easier. That's just one of the advantages of using modern digital systems. One of the disadvantages it that such systems would help eradicate the "grey economy" in the field. Currently, Andrija says, that it's not rare to see the people working the berths try to extort the potential users. One application (or even many of them) could help stop that problem, but it's just the matter of who will be the responsible person to say "Let's fix this problem!"

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Zagreb Software Company Launches Application for Global Hotel Chains

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 21st of May, 2019, the Zagreb software company Ingemark and the RoomOrders startup, launched by Croats despite having been registered in America, created the first application (app) for ordering food from hotels to hotel rooms and started to conquer the many challenges of the huge global market. They began with the development of this application at the end of 2017, and back then, as a pilot project, they first tested it out at the Hilton Hotel in Boston.

According to them, they will launch RoomOrders at the Hilton Sydney hotel, and then in Belgrade's Hilton in Serbia by the end of the month. The application's software, in which 2 million euro has so far been invested was started by the Zagreb-based company Ingemark, which has been in existence since as far back as 1990, and as of 2006, it has specialised in software development by order.

Funds for the application's development have also been withdrawn from EU funds. In the list of references are big clients such as Agrokor, Adris, HT... One of the most significant cooperations was, as they say, one in the Middle East where clients developed a platform that distributed multimedia content, and soon their latest project, ZorroTines, a regional music platform, will see the light of day right here on the Croatian market. Right now, it seems that this Zagreb company's RoomOrders app is going to go very far indeed.

As Eugene Brčić Jones, the marketing and sales manager at RoomOrders revealed, last week at the International Hotel Technology Forum in Zagreb, the company negotiated with numerous hotel industry leaders about integrating their products.

"We've intrigued the leading world chains and deepened the existing relationships, about which we're certain will bring us to the position of ''disrupter'' of the in-room dining segment within the hotel industry," Brčić Jones said, adding that he believes that in several years, it will be present in a number of world hotels which boast 4 and 5 stars.

"With the help of the RoomOrders application, guests in hotels can order food to their rooms in a few clicks and not in the ''old fashioned'' way. In addition to it having a faster mode, hotels can embark on this project without any large investments," explained Ingemark's director Jurica Mikulić, adding that the application has managed to receive some excellent initial customer reviews and financial results for the hotel. Hilton in Boston has increased its average order value by as much as thirty percent.

''We offer a simple solution that not only increases revenue, but promotes hotels through user-generated content and facilitates analytics. The greatest benefit is that this solution can be implemented without disturbances to the processes involved, and it provides almost instantaneous results,'' Brčić Jones added.

The author of the application, Haris Dizdarević, explained that the creation of RoomOrders was triggered by the current rather obsolete ways of ordering and the obvious need for faster selection and the changing of the menu that guests want in the room.

"We realised we should digitise the offer and thus expand it. The simple idea has become a complex but a successful project," said Dizdarević, explaining that the positive signal was the fact that hotel guests continue to use the application after the first time of using it, and for several days in a row. Although they acknowledge that the Croatian market is not really a priority, they're still negotiating with several Croatian hotels in Dubrovnik and with Maistra, Blue Lagoon (Plava Laguna) and Liburna, and that soon, the application will be launched in Sheraton, part of the huge global Marriott hotel chain.

Otherwise, RoomOrders was introduced DoubleTree by Hilton in Zagreb a few months ago, but then it was a modified version of the app.

"With the new application or system, the guest can, as soon as he is given the room after booking, in advance, even when travelling, immediately choose a range of dishes and orders so that it's ready and waiting in the room upon their arrival. The guest doesn't need to order it from the hotel room, they can do it in advance and choose from a simple and flexible application where all the photos, descriptions and the prices of the food and drinks in the hotel's offer are,'' they explain from hotel Sheraton where this new type of offer and service will be on offer by the end of May, which will, as they say, bring about improvements.

"The application also enables sharing of guest experience on the platform, real-time appraisal of food and services so that the hotel can almost react at the same time to all guests' comments and adapt to the current wishes and preferences of the guest," they added from Sheraton.

"We're sure that at some point there will be some competitors in this segment on the market, but we believe that we're strong and already ahead of them all. We're focusing on the development of this product which we want to make perfect. Along with marketing, the analytic component is the most important, to be more concrete, the analysis of the reactions, comments and the number of orders, so, the entire internal process. We hope to conclude this year with good results and continue to expand successfully,'' Brčić Jones concluded.

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


Click here for the original article by Lucija Spiljak for Poslovni Dnevnik

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Zagreb Startup's Mundus Project - Australians Want Croatian Product

This Croatian startup from Zagreb is a real mix of classical and virtual mobile games, but also has an educational mission.

As Ivan Tominac/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 28th of April, 2019, today, virtual games have replaced classic ones like ''Čovječe ne ljuti se'' (Ludo) or ''Monopoly'', but when classically associated with a digital game, you end up with a smart social game - Mundus.

A passionate love for technology is shared by three students from Zagreb. They all came together two years ago, and their project is Mundus. Social games are undervalued today, these guys agree, and although industry experts might say that their project isn't in demand in this day and age, the fact is that they entered the startup world directly from their school desks and are learning in parallel with the development of the project.

"We had to combine what was unknown knowledge to us back then. But given the fact that we love to learn and to develop technology, it wasn't difficult for us,'' stated of Mundus's members, Filip Hercig, who was the one to kick off the project initially.

The idea for Mundus was quite spontaneous back at the end of 2015 when Hercig, who is now in charge of business development, showcased the very first concept of this clever game during a competition for young technicians and young entrepreneurs. The name changed several times - at the earliest stage it was called ''Zabavan put Hrvatske'' (A fun journey of Croatia) and then ''Svijet na dlanu'' (The world in your palm), before taking on its current name.

"In the summer of 2017, when we came to the CROZ company to develop our ideas, we decided to shorten its name from Svijet na dlanu down to just Svijet, but as it didn't sound good, we decided to translate into Latin, and that's how Mundus began,'' said Filip Hercig.

It seems that Mundus isn't just your regular type of game, and the focus of the project today is on the application of this technology within the scope of formal education. It's actually an educational system, and the game is just one of the solutions the Mundus team is working on. A mobile device acts as a kind of gaming agent, where players choose the theme for the game and launch a quiz, and everything else is played on the game's board, like with classic games before the Internet age.

Things became much more serious for this Croatian startup back in September of last year, when they won the Good Game Liftoff startup competition.

"They chose us as the best startup and besides giving us their trust, they also gave us 100,000 kuna. We can't forget to mention the Good Game Global company that actually organised the competition and raised all the funds for that prize,'' added Hercig.

After winning the Good Game Liftoff, this Croatian startup managed to secure numerous collaborations, is currently working with 48 schools across the Republic of Croatia, and interest in the game has stretched far beyond the borders of the country, and even beyond the borders of the EU and the European continent.

"There's interest on the Australian and New Zealand market, specifically in the education sector. We're currently conducting tests that are a prerequisite for serious moves in these markets,'' said Hercig. Mundus is actually still a non-profit organisation, explained Hercig, and in 2019, it should turn into a real company.

"We're oriented towards cooperating with educational institutions, but of course we're not closing the door to purchase options for private users. We've got potential there tool, and in order to best explore the mass market, we plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign in September 2019,'' concluded Mundus' Filip Hercig.

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


Click here for the original article by Ivan Tominac for Poslovni Dnevnik

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

What is it like to Work in One of the Top Croatian Startups?

Although the Croatian economic situation isn't the most promising one in the world and you’ll encounter and many young people are leaving the country in search of better future, not everything is as bad as the news might suggest.

Croatia is full of young, driven, educated and ambitious individuals who want to create something for themselves in their own country by founding startups.

On a very long list of successful Croatian startups, TalentLyft, is a name you should remember. It was recently recognised as the best Croatian startup by Global Startup Awards. EU-Startups, the leading online publication with a focus on startups in Europe, has also found TalentLyft to be the most promising Croatian startup you should look out for in 2019 and beyond.

Founded in 2015 in Zagreb by two developers, Mario Buntić and Nikola Biondić, TalentLyft is a startup that developed a recruiting software that modernises and simplifies the recruiting process, in other words, it is a recruiting tool that helps companies find, attract and hire the best talent. It offers both recruitment and marketing solutions to attract the best candidates, and an applicant tracking system to solve post-application problems such as effective candidate communication, a database with all the applicants and their profiles, candidate assessment kits and scorecards, and interview scheduling all in one place.

Today, TalentLyft boasts thirteen full time employees and is currently located at Technopark (venue for startups at Velesajam).

In a brief interview with Total Croatia News, they revealed that startup life in Croatia isn't easy. There are many barriers to overcome in order to enter the market and start a business, starting from bureaucratic conundrums to finding capital investors, which is difficult to do in this environment. There is not much support for small firms and startups, so you’re very much on your own. Instead of focusing on new, promising sectors such as IT, the Croatian Government still invests in outdated industries.

Times and job markets are changing, and so should their investments.

‘’There's always a solid chance that your product will fail,'' they say. The startup life is risky, challenging and uncertain and requires a lot of hard work, devotion, persistence and compromise. However, despite, or exactly because of that, working in a startup offers a unique chance for personal and professional skill development and career advancement. When you are a small startup, you need to deliver a game changing solution and product in order to compete with the big guys. The only way to do that is by having all of your employees constantly learn new things, experiment and innovate.

‘’Since TalentLyft is a small group, every employees’ opinion is important; changes are embraced rapidly making us more agile’’, they state.

They are also proud of the fact that they're working with latest technologies in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, emphasising the fact that their employees’ knowledge needs to be up to date and that you can lose good people if they’re stuck working with old technologies.

‘’Yes it’s the employees’ responsibility to keep learning, but it’s our responsibility to provide them with the tools necessary for that,'' they state from this Croatian startup.

They love the fact that they are a small team because it means there's a better connection: ‘’You know everyone by their name, you work hard together, you share your struggles and the laughs, and you get the chance to build something from the ground up.’’

The startup life is for those who embrace challenges, seek new ways of doing things, and question the status quo.

‘’When you manage to gather together a group of people like that, every day feels like an adventure and there is no challenge you can’t tackle in the end.’’

Let's hope we'll see more examples like this across Croatia in the near future.

Follow our dedicated business page for more information on Croatian startups, Croatian companies, products and services, and doing business and investing in Croatia.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

From Barcelona to Zagreb, Spanish Startup Employs 65 People

A successful Spanish startup which has spread to 105 cities in twenty countries in Europe, Africa, and Central and South America since 2015 has begin operations in no less than Zagreb.

As Marta Duic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 23rd of April, 2019, Glovo, a fast delivery application (app) which allows customers to purchase, receive and send any products within the city within less than 45 minutes, has started its operations in the Croatian capital city of Zagreb.

"For now, Glovo has employed seven people in the ''core'' team in Zagreb, eighteen in customer support and fifty delivery people. Therefore, a total of 65 people are in employed in this operation, we're only just beginning, and we're also still actively employing people. The expectations are high because we think that there's a lot of room for first-class fast delivery on the Croatian market and the inclusion of a large number of partners in the on-demand economy trend. People are now accustomed to having everything at their fingertips, quickly and easily accessible, and that's what we provide - products from the entire city delivered within 30 to 60 minutes to the end user,'' stated general manager for Glovo Croatia, Teo Širola.

This Spanish startup started back in 2015 in Barcelona, Spain, and has since expanded to 105 cities, ranging from Paris and Milan and Istanbul and Nairobi, in twenty countries across Europe, Africa, Central and South America. More than fifteen million orders from partners such as McDonald's, KFC, Starbucks, and the like have been delivered around the globe via Spain's Glovo app. They have more than three million users, 10,000 partners and work with a network that involves more than 30,000 couriers.

"The first reactions we've had have been positive. We still need to educate the market in terms of the service we provide and explain that what we do is exclusively delivery. Specifically, we deliver straight from the restaurant (or store) to the customer, effectively delivering the service as if the buyer picked up the food (or the item) themselves. This is different from the services that have been provided on our market so far, where more orders are delivered at the same time, so, let's say, the tastes and smells have been mixed, and the food that eventually comes to the customer's door is cold,'' noted Širola. Aside from doing deliveries by car, Glovo uses bicycles and scooters to squeeze through heavy city traffic faster, and offer a more ecologically aware delivery option.

"Zagreb is accelerating the transformation in the domain of fast delivery in Croatia, and our vision is to bring the practicality of technology closer to everyone," says Širola.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more. If it's just Zagreb you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow. If you're planning a trip to the Croatian capital, find out everything you need to know in a page by clicking here.


Click here for the original article by Marta Duic for Poslovni Dnevnik

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Croatian Startup and Entrepreneurship Discussion in Koprivnica

''The most important thing is to have a clear plan and a vision and to be persistent and never give up, because every good idea will find its way to a buyer,'' this was the message sent out to those thinking of becoming Croatian entrepreneurs.

As Ivan Tominac/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 18th of April, 2019, an event organised by Vecernji list and Poslovni dnevnik has the ultimate goal of which is the retention of young educated people in Croatia, and after Osijek, the event will move to Koprivnica, two continental Croatian regions which are often overlooked.

The event will include a tender for student development projects, round tables and forums entitled ''Future in Croatia'' which will be held across six Croatian cities in cooperation with six universities and a traveling exhibition to mark the the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Večernji list. In Koprivnica, the event will be held in cooperation with the North University on Tuesday at 10:00. Croatia's Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli will give his view of Croatia and available opportunities, and before that, the event will be bringing two stories from Koprivnica that prove that you definitely can succeed in Croatia.

Boris Poljak, the owner of the Pobis company, noted at the very beginning of the conversation that entrepreneurship is not easy but challenging as the market does indeed offer countless possibilities, but whether or not we're successful is down to nobody and nothing but us.

"Being an entrepreneur depends on the person, and not on the place he's in. If one has the will and the desire to be an entrepreneur, then he won't care whether he's doing it in Croatia, Austria, Germany, or elsewhere," Boris Poljak said. For success, it's important to abide by the established plan and rules of the game, ie, certain legal frameworks.

According to him, young people aren't going straight into business today, but instead, they're moving into ''entrepreneurial waters'' because they want to ensure a secure existence for themselves. "The statistics on the opening and the closing of companies is proof of this. Unfortunately, many people don't succeed, but there are many who do succeed and who achieve excellent results here, and more and more are doing so internationally. Running your own business today doesn't require that much capital," Poljak stated with a short and clear message that says that without a clear plan and vision there can be no success.

"You have to work really hard with young people, they're most often not prepared for work and have a lot of prejudices towards employers," emphasised Poljak, adding that in his company he recognised that with the effort and investment poured into young people, he was creating quality staff who could compete on the world market level. Young people are increasingly involved in entrepreneurial ventures, and as a result, there are numerous startups popping up all the time across Croatia, leading to more tenders and investments.

Codebox managed to stumble upon such a welcome fat, the core activity of this organisation is the creation of personalised software, web design, computer equipment maintenance, and processing and data transfer. Martin Kolarić and Filip Stojić began on this path through a startup tender, and today they can safely say that it was a great opportunity to gain new experiences, try out their knowledge and skills and also have some fun.

"For all those who want to be successful, our advice is to work on themselves and their knowledge. A great deal of information is available to all of us and we have the opportunity of continuous learning and training. Innovation and creativity are the most important competencies today, which is why we need to work on our own improvement, this is the only path to real success,'' concluded Martin Kolarić.

Make sure to follow our dedicated business page for much more.


Click here for the original article by Ivan Tominac for Poslovni Dnevnik

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