Tuesday, 29 November 2022

ETF Airways is First Croatian Company With Permission to Fly to USA

November the 29th, 2022 - The Croatian company ETF Airways, which was born during the pandemic, has become the first company registered in Croatia to be able to fly to the United States of America.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, following on from an excellent second summer flight season since its establishment, the Croatian charter carrier ETF Airways has become the very first Croatian airline to receive approval from the US Department of Transportation for flights to the USA, which will initially also open up the Caribbean market for them.

For next year, this company's main plan is additional growth, with an increase in the fleet from three to five Boeing 737-800 aircraft, which will depend on the dynamics of signing contracts for the next summer season, but things are looking very certain, Stjepan Bedic, the CEO of ETF Airways, revealed.

ETF Airways has transported 300 thousand passengers

As is already quite well known, ETF Airways was founded back during the global coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of last year by Croatian investors and bankers, investor Ratko Bajakic, economic analyst Velimir Sonje and banker Zdenko Adrovic, who is involved in the project through his own company - Korta. Among the founders are pilots Dragan Stefanovski and Marko Bankovic, a team of enthusiasts who have already collaborated with Bedic on several startup projects in the wider region, and spent a good part of their careers working for different foreign companies.

ETF Airways took to the skies last June and they aren't a liner company, they instead specialise in flights based on ACMI - aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance contracts, and this year they mostly flew on the Paris - Greece route, Bedic stated, adding that 2022's summer season was excellent - this company which has about 60 employees will end the year with a profit, but they aren't ready to reveal any of the more detailed figures yet. The potential for growth is significant, and it would be much greater if Croatia made it easier for staff to be employed, explained Bedic.

"In one single year, we flew between 5,500 and 6,000 hours at 150 airports, and transported around 300,000 passengers to different destinations. With two planes in Paris and one in Pristina, we also flew to destinations such as Svalbard, Greenland, and Reunion in the Indian Ocean. We operate on the EU's very competitive market, where there are hundreds of such companies, but there is also a lot of demand. Therefore, growth is planned, but currently the biggest challenge for us is the employment of pilots, because Croatia has a significantly higher cost of labour than some other EU menber states, with a much higher tax burden. Slovakia, Bulgaria, Ireland and other countries are therefore much more competitive than Croatia, which, with a different tax treatment for pilots, similar to seafarers, could have a much more developed aviation industry, i.e. more companies like us," explained Bedic, who believes that and the payment of benefited seniority is outdated and redundant.

Conquering the Caribbean market

ETF Airways is currently hiring cabin crew, and then it will look for more pilots, which will be additionally challenging because strong companies such as Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways are also in the process of hiring, and their impressive salaries cannot be compared to those offered by smaller companies such as ETF Airways. Although there are 60 employees employed directly by the company, that figure rises to 150 if external service providers in the entire ecosystem are added into the mix.

ETF Airways is entering the demanding American market through a joint venture company with a local French company, and their license to provide services across the pond in the USA will enable them to position themselves in the market of local flights to the Caribbean, as well as to popular American destinations such as Miami. There is a demand for their services there, and depending on the number of contracts signed during the winter for the next summer season, the acquisition of two new aircraft may also come to be. Namely, as Bedic pointed out, the situation on the market is still unstable in terms of last minute flight reservations, and ETF doesn't fly without signed contracts and deposits.

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

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Americans Investing in Brand New Zabok Medical Centre

November the 10th, 2022 - Americans are investing a huge sum of money in a brand new Zabok medical centre, but just how much of a role with the Croatian Health Insurance Fund (HZZO) play in it all?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, although many details about the establishment of the new Zabok medical centre, which will be a centre for the treatment of malignant diseases, have yet to be defined, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre's (UPMC) investment of about 15 million euros in Hrvatsko Zagorje is the first investment of this magnitude by foreign investors in Croatian healthcare.

The announcement about the investment that will be realised in cooperation with the General Hospital Zabok and the St. Catherine Special Hospital (Sv. Katarina), owned by Dragan Primorac, comes at a time when the state seems to have decided to strengthen cooperation between public and private healthcare.

This is further evidenced by the public support that the founders of the future Zabok medical centre received when signing the cooperation agreement from the government representatives, and support for such projects will also be given by the new legal regulations that will direct patients to private institutions in the country instead of urging them to seek treatment abroad, regardless of whether they have contracts with HZZO or not.

However, we have yet to see how many services from the new Zabok medical centre will actually be made available to Croatia's residents who are HZZO insured individuals. Namely, as confirmed by them, HZZO wasn't officially contacted regarding the possibility of contracting services with the future Centre for Oncology.

For the American investors, however, this is certainly an investment in health tourism, considering that they will be able to gain the market of Croatia's entire wider region, as well as the whole of Europe. It is also the largest American healthcare institution that employs 92,000 employees and 5,000 doctors, with a massive annual budget of 23 billion dollars.

There are a total of 40 hospitals within the UPMC chain, and in addition to over the USA, they are currently present in Italy, Ireland, China and Kazakhstan. As they claim from St. Catherine, this large investment will provide Croatian patients with diagnostic and therapeutic services completely equivalent to those in the USA, in accordance with the existing prices set by HZZO.

The new Zabok medical centre will be located on the premises of the Zabok General Hospital, which the hospital has been renting out to the St. Catherine Special Hospital since back in 2008. It spans 2,200 square metres. In addition, two linear accelerators will be built for radiation purposes, the location has already been defined, and permits need to be obtained for this. The plan is to complete the brand new medical centre in a period of about one year.

"This is primarily about a huge step forward in the transfer of the latest knowledge and technologies from the USA, the kind of which we can only dream of. When we talk to Croatian oncologists, they believe that in a few years, with the support of UPMC, Croatia could be at the very top of the EU in terms of oncology services," Jadranka Primorac, a member of the administrative council of the St. Catherine Special Hospital stated.

She added that this type of therapy and treatment, as well as state-of-the-art diagnostics in cooperation with UPMC, must be available to every Croatian resident. "It is the beginning and the end of everything. If you look at EC strategies, one of the key steps forward is to make this kind of therapy available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. Among other things, this is why we have HZZO,'' she explained.

Zabok is apparently now preparing negotiations with the state insurer, HZZO, which so far has not quite fulfilled all the efforts of private institutions to offer their services to the Institute's policyholders in greater numbers. One of the key obstacles was often the too low price of the services covered by HZZO, and since these are new services that didn't even exist within the Croatian healthcare system, those prices have yet to be established.

Negotiations with HZZO will certainly be one of the most important steps for future partners. Director of the Zabok General Hospital, Tihomir Vancina, pointed out that there are still a number of operational and technical matters to be resolved, from space to personnel engagement.

"We agreed in principle that we want to build the Zabok medical centre, and now we need to see how to implement it all," stated Vancina, who believes that everything can be done in the space of one year, especially considering that the investment has been under consideration for four years since the UPMC team was in Zabok for the first time. "This will be a huge step in improving the quality of the treatment on offer.

In the Zabok General Hospital, we have departments where our oncology patients can have part of the procedure, but for the rest they have to go to Zagreb, which will not be necessary in the future. The cancer survival rate in the USA is significantly higher than it is here in Croatia, precisely because of the available therapy that we're now bringing to the country. For the state, this is an ideal model, because it doesn't have to invest in space, equipment and personnel, it only has to pay for the services," concluded Vancina.

For more, make sure to keep up with our dedicated news section.


Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Famous American TV Host Jay Leno Thrilled With Rimac's Nevera

October the 4th, 2022 - American TV host, writer and comedian Jay Leno is clearly pleased with the amazing Nevera created by Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, famous American presenter Jay Leno well and truly threw himself into the waters of all things automotive just a few years ago. He has since grown a very successful YouTube channel called "Jay Leno's Garage" which is dedicated entirely to his passion and he recently tested out Mate Rimac's stunning Nevera.

Leno loved Rimac's remarkable car, the Nevera, and he was particularly impressed by the speed it can reach without much effort and the sheer ease of driving one feels when behind the Nevera's wheel. Leno said that Americans, especially many of those who have never even heard of the Republic of Croatia, will now hear about it and the incredibly intelligent people who built the strongest car in the entire world, as RTL Direkt reported.

"The Nevera's acceleration is impressive. It's linear,'' said Leno in the video in which he tested the Nevera, comparing it to the lack of ease of other electric vehicles and adding that he thinks that this, the latest of Rimac's astonishing supercars, is set to achieve great success on the demanding American market.

Livno-born Croatian entrepreneur and businessman Mate Rimac has often been compared to famous inventors and is frequently referred to as Europe's own Elon Musk. This doggedly determined creator started out with his love of cars from his garage, with not much knowledge or cash behind him.

He has since put Croatia, a country which had absolutely nothing to do with the automotive world whatsoever, very firmly on the map for all lovers of cars and connected it forever with Bugatti, showing that even the most unimaginable ventures can work out, even in a country which is still only just learning how to give entrepreneurs a fighting chance to succeed.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated Made in Croatia section.


Sunday, 11 September 2022

American Robin Purchases Croatian Company Flow and Form

September the 11th, 2022 - The American company Robin has purchased the Croatian company Flow and Form, which has its office in the City of Zagreb.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, after raising 30 million US dollars in investment capital, the American company Robin, which develops platforms for hybrid modes of operation, has acquired the Croatian company Flow and Form, which deals with software.

As announced by the American startup, the common goal of the acquisition of the Croatian company Flow and Form is to define what the future of work looks like and to build the world's best platform for hybrid work – Robin.

Flow and Form, which has an office in Zagreb, started operating back in 2017, and over the years since, it has proven to be one of the leading agencies with recent results in providing high-quality digital solutions for optimising living and working spaces. As the chief executive officer (CEO) of Flow and Forme, Marko Pavlovic, stated, the company's most important mission from the very beginning was to make every space a better place to live and work.

"In a partner, we were looking for someone for whom people are more important than the offices themselves, someone who wants to make the work experience easier for their users and employees. And we found that in Robin. Teamwork is needed to create a world where workplaces function better," said Pavlovic, adding that by joining forces with Robin, a team that shares their goals and values, they will ensure their faster adaptation to changes, keep up with the growing demand for hybrid ways of working and develop solutions that help leaders in their industries, making their offices places where their employees want to be and want to work.

The fact that the Croatian company Flow and Form is one of the leading companies in the real estate technology industry has been well and truly proven by the creation of more than a billion dollars in market value through the marketing of successful products for their clients. The company was included in the list of 50 fastest growing technology companies in Central and Eastern Europe according to Deloitte's 2021 list, and since back in 2014, Robin has enabled companies of all sizes to do their best work by building technology solutions that drive a better employee experience in the workplace.

Their platform allows employees to choose how and from where they work using real-time office maps and room, desk and equipment reservations, all while helping employers track office space utilisation, desk reservation statistics and more.

Support from Croatia

In July 2022, Robin raised a new round of investment (Series C) of a massive 30 million US dollars, which enabled them to expand internationally, increase the number of employees and deepen their strategic partnerships. Thanks to the cooperation with the Croatian company Flow and Form, Robin has successfully entered not only the Croatian market but that of the whole of Europe.

The Croatian company has stated that this is great news for the Croatian economy because it will now participate in the rapid growth of a top SaaS (Software as a Service) company, in a completely new industry on this market - workspace technology. Micah Remley, CEO of Robin, emphasised that their clients, especially here in Europe, will now have the support of their teams in the Republic of Croatia, which enables Robin to offer an even better experience using its product and build innovative solutions for its users.

"From the beginning, we were impressed by the amount of top quality talent and the technical abilities of the team in Croatia. Through this acquisition, we can see an opportunity not only for product development with experienced teams based in Zagreb, but also for supporting our European and global expansion from our Zagreb office," stated Remley.

Robin is otherwise headquartered across the pond in the American city of Boston and currently has over 200 employees, with clients from 80 countries on all six continents, including Toyota, Mailchimp, Fender and Peloton.

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

Friday, 19 August 2022

Enfeebled Brodosplit to Construct Expensive Vessel for Storylines

August the 19th, 2022 - The Brodosplit shipyard is continuing to face significant problems, but it seems that a saviour has come at the last moment in the form of a contract between the famous Dalmatian shipyard and the American Storylines company. Debeljak's troubled company will build the massive vessel, the estimated retail sales value of which stands at US $1.5B

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, Brodosplit is currently suffering the fate of both the Uljanik and 3 Maj shipyards in the form of attracting negative attention with press reports about the pre-bankruptcy process of its companies. Despite the fact that Brodosplit's employees had been sent home, it seems the company will now be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

The story that Brodosplit could participate in the construction of the first so-called residential cruise ship with 547 apartments is the absolute last thing anyone could have ever possibly expected in the current uncertain situation. It seems suspicious that the Americans would sign a contract to build a ship of that size and cost. While many raise their eyebrows in disbelief, it has come to light that this fantastic piece of news is indeed true. According to the press release provided by Storylines from Miami, the contract with Brodosplit has already been signed.

Brodosplit will build a 232.5-metre-long Narrative ship in the City of Split, which, according to the press release, will be the first fully ecologically sustainable ship, and should be delivered in 2025.

"We're delighted to be partnering with such a respected European shipyard that has a long history of building high-quality passenger ships," said Storylines CEO Alister Punton. According to him, the ship will provide its residents with the comfort of home. It differs from other cruisers in that it is intended for the complete life of residents at sea. It will also boast a post office, a school, a library, a hospital, a bank, swimming pools, business premises and about 20 different catering facilities. It will also be the largest wellness centre at sea in the world with its own gardens, farms and space for several types of sports and recreation on board.

For more than understandable reasons, Brodosplit has been very brief in its communication about the construction of the ship. Everything, they say, was said in the Storylines press release, which also includes Tomislav Debeljak's statement.

"We always enter into projects that bring about the development of the industry and the inclusion of new technologies. This ship is energy efficient, with two types of propulsion (diesel and liquefied gas) and will be optimised for the lowest possible emission of greenhouse gases," Debeljak said in his statement.

Their American partner, therefore, still believes that Brodosplit is a good choice for a partnership, and the second question to now keep in mind is how the Croatian Government will behave, given that Brodosplit needs an advance guarantee to get things moving.

For more, make sure to check out Made in Croatia.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

American Policeman Working in Split Praises Country's Safety

August the 4th, 2022 - An American policeman working in Split temporarily as part of an exchange of officers the Croatian police have been involved in for years now has praised the sheer safety of the country when compared to his homeland.

As Jutarnji list/SD writes, for the first time this summer season, a police officer from the United States was placed to work temporarily here in Croatia. 30-year-old Jacob Bradley, an American policeman working in Split has been participating in international police cooperation as part of the "Safe Tourist Destination 2022" project.

Jacob has been a police officer for the past eleven years across the pond in America, and during his time he has worked in the migration and drugs department, as well as with the local community, according to a report from Slobodna Dalmacija. In addition to gaining more work experience by coming here, his comparison of police work here in Croatia compared to the USA was particularly interesting.

''Here it's completely different. When I'm patrolling, I don't have a weapon, I don't need it at all. In America, I don't go out in public without a bulletproof vest and a weapon on me. Here I just talk to people, they shake hands with us, and people are generally really happy to see us. Over in America, we deal with more violence and armed conflicts, and here I haven't even heard of such a thing, let alone participated in such an intervention,'' admitted Jacob. Participating in the arrest of a person in Croatia also left a special impression on him.

''Here the police say to someone: 'You need to come with us' and he goes without any resistance. Of course, that doesn't happen with absolutely everyone, but just looking at such a situation was incredible for me. This is a very safe place, one of the places I'd definitely visit with my family,'' the American policeman working in Split said with a smile. He will spend a total of two weeks in the City of Split. He has primarily been helping break down the language barrier between visitors from America and the local population or the police.

''It is however much easier for me to talk to Americans and I very quickly come to a solution to whatever the problem might be and we reach an understanding of what led to it. We're here to be there, to promote the fact that we're here and that Split is a great place to visit. There were several interventions, and the cause of some of them was just a misunderstanding,'' said the police officer from the USA, emphasising that he enjoyed his time spent here and plans to return next year.

The representative of the US Embassy, ​​Amy Davison, emphasised that they are very pleased to have become part of the programme that has been going on for seventeen years now.

''Our participation this year is a continuation of 30 years of cooperation with this country, so this is a very nice way to crown such an anniversary. Jacob told me that he learned a lot here, that's why this experience is valuable for him and we're extremely glad that this cooperation has come about,'' said Davison, adding that the American police officer is grateful for the welcome he had and that he was very well received. Jacob can safely say that Split is his absolute favourite city in all of Croatia.

In addition to this American policeman working in Split, t's worth noting that there are currently 20 officers from ten different countries of the world working on the territory of the Split-Dalmatia County police department at this moment in time, writes Slobodna Dalmacija.

''For us, all their previous experiences are a confirmation that the project is well thought out and that it will be realised this year as well, in a way that gives us the optimum utilisation of what we have planned. They help us build, confirm and maintain the image of Croatia as a safe destination, and this is exactly the goal of this project,'' concluded Slobodan Marendic, head of the Split-Dalmatia police department.

For more, make sure to check out out dedicated lifestyle section.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

American Billionaire Investing in Croatian-Irish Startup Fonoa

July the 23rd, 2022 - The Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa is set to be richer following an investment from no less than an American billionaire linked to the likes of Snapchat and TikTok.

As Novac/Jutarnji/Bernard Ivezic writes, the Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa, which offers automated tax calculation services on a global level and has Spotify, Remote.com, Uber and Zoom as clients, has received a 60 million euro investment. This is one of the ten largest investments in a startup by Croatian founders so far. The success is all the greater, because this is Fonoa's second investment round in just six months. In the first, the company collected an impressive 20.5 million dollars.

The investment in the Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa has been led by Coatue, a VC fund started by American billionaire Philippe Laffont, who is among the first investors in TikTok's parent company Bytedance, followed by Snapchat and Spotify. He was joined by the largest European B2B institutional investor Dawn Capital and one of the most successful European VCs, Index Ventures, as well as OMERS Ventures, FJ Labs and Moving Capital.

The Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa was otherwise the first in the entire world to develop a cloud platform for the automation of tax calculations on a global level. This Croatian-Irish startup was started by the former leaders of Uber in Croatia - Davor Tremac, Filip Sturman and Ivan Ivankovic. Fonoa's platform allows companies to instantly, by connecting to their cloud platform, gain insight into the exact calculation of taxes in a certain country, and all this is done in real time.

Because of these possibilities, Fonoa promises its users not only speed, but also savings and an increase in the level of compliance with tax rules in a particular country.

Here in Croatia, for example, due to frequent changes in tax rules, as well as very complex tax legislation and accompanying regulations, it is often difficult for companies to enter the market. The Croatian market is small, and it is necessary to invest a lot in following these often cumbersome and frankly ridiculous regulations, so entering the market would not be profitable for some companies and thus would limit their market potential. In such cases, which are sadly commonplace, Fonoa becomes a useful tool.

Davor Tremac, the CEO and co-founder of Fonoa, says that they were helped by the fact that online shopping is booming and has been since the pandemic, so many of those who sell online are looking for the most efficient way to expand their businesses globally.

''Last year, we recorded a sevenfold increase in income. Since taxes are part of almost all online payment transactions, more and more companies are ready to switch to Fonoa's platform, and the value of online payment transactions is expected to reach 8.5 trillion dollars in 2022,'' says Tremac, explaining that with the development of their business, they noticed that a large number of companies wanting to reduce their operating costs and increase their levels of efficiency in the field of indirect tax management.

At the same time, they noticed that countries around the world were passing new regulations related to VAT, which leads to an increased demand for the tax compliance of companies. He emphasises that Fonoa provides the only tax software solution designed for use in the digital age.

''We make sure that companies pay the correct amount of taxes, that they're paid to the right place and at the right time, and they can devote themselves to their business. We're extremely glad that Coatue and other investors have supported our vision and are aware of the enormous opportunities that await us this year and in the coming years,'' says Tremac.

Lucas Swisher, a partner at Coatue Fund, says that regulatory compliance is essential for companies to expand internationally, and tax management, processing and filing are extremely complex processes.

''When we met Davor, Filip, Ivan and the rest of their team, we were taken aback by the simplicity and efficiency of Fonoa's platform, which turns an extremely complex process into something very simple and easily feasible. All of us at Coatue are excited to support Fonoa in scaling the platform and meeting the growing demand for solutions that enable tax compliance,'' says Swisher.

Hannah Seal, a partner at Index Ventures, says managing taxes is navigating the bureaucratic maze of a country and represents a real nightmare for anyone trying to build a business with customers around the world.

''The Croatian-Irish startup Fonoa makes it all very simple. Companies are aligned with existing regulations and don't have to deal with increasingly complex international taxes. This platform is an obvious choice for any digital company that operates outside the borders of its country,'' says Seal.

''We're really glad to be able to support the top team which make up Fonoa. I'm looking forward to working with Davor, Filip and Ivan to further attract outstanding talent and deliver technology to companies around the world,'' says Mutafchieva. Tremac says that in the next year to a year and a half, Fonoa plans to present some new products in its field of activities.

''In order to achieve this, over the last twelve months, the company has quintupled the number of employees to 140 people of 35 different nationalities in 20 countries around the world and this year it intends to close things with even more employees,'' concludes Tremac.

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

Monday, 11 July 2022

Museum of Illusions Moving Headquarters to Atlanta, USA

July the 11th, 2022 - The famous Zagreb attraction which draws crowds from all over each and every year, the Museum of Illusions, is set to move its headquarters across the pond to the USA.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Ana Blaskovic writes, the City of Zagreb's much loved Museum of Illusions, a Croatian creation that received an additional spring in its step in terms of global expansion with the entry of the venture capital fund Invera Equity Partners, is moving its headquarters across the Atlantic Ocean to the USA.

Although in the business of selling (optical) illusions according to a successful museum-style formula, according to which their network today consists of 37 museums across the world in 21 countries, business logic demands its own set of rules. They want to be perceived as a company and not merely a museum, which is why they're opening an office in Atlanta in order to achieve better valuations once the time comes for the exit of the aforementioned capital fund and the eventual payment of returns to its investors.

"We belong to the entertainment industry, the ''mid-way'' segment of the market that refers to attractions lasting up to two hours for which visitors are willing to pay between 20 and 70 US dollars, it's a concept quite similar to that of Madame Tussauds,'' illustrated Invera partner Slaven Kordic. Invera Equity Partners is otherwise currently the only venture capital fund present here on the Croatian market that sought its lucrative investment in the entertainment industry segment.

"Croatia could have many more such investments, there are homegrown ideas with similar potential when it comes to spreading to Western Europe and all the way over to the USA. We have five more target companies with whom we're talking about potential investment," Kordic revealed. How much they've actually invested in Metamorfosis, the company behind the project of the Museum of Illusions, since July 2021 - he didn't discuss.

It was the completion of that particular investment, which saw the capital fund acquire a majority share of 65 percent, that the venture capital fund industry recognised as the best private equity investment of the past year. It's worth mentioning that the competition was quite fierce because Provectus' investments in Keindl Sport, Adria Dental Group and the Aiva polyclinic, Prosperus' acquisition of Neos and Rohatyn's sale of Pet Network International, which includes Pet Centre, all competed for the title.

Despite the move of the Museum of Illusions' headquarters across the pond to Atlanta, the service centre, i.e. the "brain" of the operation, will remain at home in Croatia.

"Zagreb will be a global hub where people from all over the world will work with the ''know how'' of running a museum, creating exhibits and marketing, while the management functions will be moved to the USA," said Kordic. The head of the company since October has been American Jonathan Benjamin, a renowned manager from the USA who honed his experience in the development of the business of Altitude Trampoline Parks and Briggo Coffee, who, alongside the team in Atlanta, is focused on making strong step forward for the Museum of Illusions on the American market.

Unlike, for example, entrepreneur Mate Rimac, who fiercely branded all segments of his business (despite all expectations and bets) here at home in Croatia, where he was supported by strategic investors, Kordic says that the circumstances of venture capital funds are somewhat different, as there is a huge emphasis on ensuring eventual financial returns for investors.

"It's less important where they're from and who runs the business, the key is that the majority of employees will remain here in Croatia. We want to achieve a situation in which the company is perceived as American in order to achieve better returns one day when it comes to those payouts,'' explained Kordic. The perception of an "American" company in practice is very specific, the return could reach 15x EBITDA, while a Croatian company would have to count on far less than that.

The investment time horizon of Invera EP is five years or less, and this is the period in which the fund wants to transform the business by taking it to a higher and more secure level. Their ambitions are great, but so is the potential, according to investors, so the initial projections for the eventual investor exit have been corrected to a massive "200 million euros plus".

"We've already received two offers for sale from Europe, but we rejected them because we believe that there's a lot of great potential with investments and development,'' said Kordic, adding that they want to achieve this with strong names in management, among which are Teo Sirola at the head and Ivan Stipancic in charge of finances. Co-founder Roko Zivkovic, without whom the idea of ​​the Museum of Illusions and all of its accompanying optical illusions and puzzles around the world wouldn't even exist, is still within the company as an advisor to the Management Board.

Croatian wisdom

The largest investors in the fund are the European Investment Fund with 30 million euros, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with 10 million euros, and three domestic pension funds, Raiffeisen, Erste and PBZ CO, cumulatively supporting it with 14.5 million euros. Among the investors is also the Krsko Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Fund with 4.5 million euros, while partners Slaven Kordic and Kemal Sikiric and their employees invested another 1.5 million euros.

Receiving the award for the best private investment of the year, Roko Zivkovic said on Wednesday in Zagreb that when they started the Museum of Illusions project, they never dreamed that such an expansion of a project made entirely in Croatia could happen, pointing out that in addition to the 37 current locations of the museum around the world, another 12 locations are currently under construction.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Fit for a Queen: US Travel Channel Lists Nin Beach Among Most Beautiful

July the 3rd, 2022 - Croatian beaches are no strangers to magazines and portals listing them as among the most beautiful in the world, and while the Central Dalmatian island of Brac's well known Zlatni rat (Golden horn) beach is often getting the most limelight, one Nin beach, the Queen's beach (Kraljicina plaza) has caught the eye of the Americans.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, a very interesting old legend is tied to the name of the aforementioned Nin beach, given that the sheer beauty of this long beach attracted the wife of the first Croatian king Tomislav, Jelena. When the pair came to Nin, they spent many warm family moments on this Nin beach, where Jelena discovered the benefits of its healing mud.

The long stretch of beach and calm shallow waters are perfect for family trips with children and those who want to enjoy a more tropical atmosphere on a beach quite unlike those typically found along the rugged and dramatic Croatian coastline. There are amusement parks for children and restaurants and cafes nearby, so you don't have to go far to enjoy a coffee or lunch with a view of the Nin lagoon and of the imposing Velebit mountain range.

The only problem with this particular Nin beach will be the lack of shade on offer, but for those who want to take advantage of the long, hot summer days and replenish their vitamin D stocks, this will only go hand in hand with their plans. For everyone else, there are umbrellas and sunbeds which offer an escape from the harsh rays.

For those who love activities, the Nin wind is suitable for windsurfing, and you can rent pedal boats or enjoy flying kites.

Near this stunning Nin beach is the largest known locality of naturally occurring healing mud in all of Croatia.

The healing mud was used by tens of thousands of visitors on summer mornings, and it was also used way back during Roman times. Queen Jelena herself allegedly used it.

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

Monday, 13 June 2022

USA Swimming Team Training at Rijeka Kantrida Pools

June the 13th, 2022 - The USA swimming representation is preparing and training for the world championships at no less than the Rijeka Kantrida pools - and for the third time.

As Morski writes, the much loved Rijeka Kantrida pools, from where a gorgeous view of the Kvarner Bay can be seen, has caught the eye of the American swimming team, which arrived in Rijeka on the eve of the World Swimming Championships for their final preparations.

The USA national swimming team consists of 41 swimmers and 30 staff members, and preparations are underway at the Rijeka Kantrida Pools for the World Swimming Championships, which will be held in the Hungarian capital of Budapest from June the 8th to the 25th. The American national team chose the Rijeka Kantrida Pools for their preparations for the third time - they have already held their training camps in the City of Rijeka in both 2015 and 2017.

Olympic champions Ryan Murphey and Leah Smith, who are preparing at Rijeka's famous pools for the third time now, are also preparing for the World Championships. Ryan Murphey is one of the best backstroke swimmers in the world: he is a multiple-time Olympic winner (Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo in 2021) and a multiple winner of gold medals at world championships, while Leah Smtih is a multiple winner of Olympic and world medals.

''The Rijeka Kantrida Pools, the construction of which was completed ten years ago, were specifically planned with the aim of providing quality conditions for training and competitions of athletes, as well as the recreation of non professionals, and the location of the swimming pool complex near the Adriatic Sea makes it one of the most beautiful in the entire Mediterranean,'' Rijeka Mayor Marko Filipovic said at a press conference.

He stressed that the pool complex was primarily planned to provide quality conditions for people to play sport, swim and enjoy some recreation time, but also has its commercial note, especially in preparation for important international swimming competitions, which greatly contributes to the promotion of Rijeka and Croatia as a whole as tourist destinations.

In addition to the Americans, the Rijeka Kantrida Pools have so far been used by the national teams of Norway, Denmark and Austria, Japan, Estonia, Germany, Sweden, Latvia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom. In a recreational sense, the pools have been used by about 3.5 million users, or almost a thousand a day. The Singapore national team and the long-distance swimming team from Great Britain are also currently training in Rijeka. Rijeka as a city has continued to record some very good numbers in terms of water sports - in the first five months of this year, the city recorded 5% more reservations from different groups compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

For more, check out our sport section.

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