Tech

9 investors, execs and founders discuss Zagreb’s startup potential – TechCrunch


Startups could not spring to thoughts when talking concerning the lovely nation of Croatia. Indeed, the nation is hottest as a vacationer vacation spot, and provided that tourism accounted for about 20% of its GDP in 2018, to an extent, its pre-pandemic focus was totally on rising its share of the worldwide tourism market.

But Croatia’s entrepreneurs haven’t been quiet: Startups like Infobip and Rimac are important native hero companies now, and the area can boast of high-quality expertise within the tech, automotive, manufacturing, and agtech areas. With solely two enterprise capital companies working within the capital of Zagreb, the startup scene continues to be younger, however the nation’s comparatively current EU membership has given it entry to a rising set of direct funding devices.

The present tax framework on capital good points tax (zero for those who maintain the shares for greater than two years) and a brand new ‘digital nomad’ visa are serving to to draw buyers and expertise to town, which can also be near a number of the finest seashores on this planet.

Access to contemporary, outdoors capital is all the time a catalyst for development, so to get an inside have a look at Zagreb’s fast-growing startup ecosystem, we spoke with 9 native founders, buyers and C-level executives.

According to the respondents, Zagreb’s strongest tech areas embrace HR options, automotive, fintech, cell gaming, IoT, insurtech, and AI. The metropolis’s angel investor scene isn’t very robust but, however that could possibly be attributed to the ecosystem’s youth.


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The metropolis has a wonderful work-life steadiness, and many of the expertise desires to remain there. “Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s easier to land remote jobs and stay in Zagreb, which will positively impact our ecosystem,” one of many buyers stated.

However, with competitors heating up, startups in search of bigger, critical funding will in all probability must look past the nation’s borders whereas making an attempt to retain their engineering expertise. Luckily, an rising variety of worldwide buyers are taking a look at Zagreb for his or her deal circulate pipeline.

Some prime Croatian startups embrace: Agrivi, Amodo, Ascalia, Bellabeat, Cognism, Degordian, Dok-Ing, Infobip, Mindsmiths, OptimoRoute, Oradian, Photomath, Repsly, ReversingLabs, ScoreAlarm, Sportening and AdScanner.

We surveyed:


Lucija Ilicic, CEO, PlatePay

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
Photomath, Sportening, and Mindsmiths.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
Mostly revenue-oriented.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
People would select to dwell and transfer right here through the pandemic. Some of them did, particularly having in thoughts that Croatia now has the digital nomad visa.

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. Investors, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on)
Investors: Fil Rouge Capital, Feelsgood, Zicer, Bird Incubator; Founders: Ivan Klarić, Damir Sabol, Mislav Malenica, Mate Riimac

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
The Croatian startup ecosystem actually grew throughout final 12 months and has large potential. I see it as an ideal place for digital nomads, house of some new unicorns and a European middle for AI options growth.

Can you advocate any corporations that ought to seem in our world Startup Battlefield competitors?
Sportening, Mindsmiths, and in fact, PlatePay.

 

Julien Coustaury, accomplice, Fil Rouge Capital

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strong in fintech, automotive, insurtech, and AI. We are excited that the entire ecosystem is rising robust with flagships comparable to Rimac, Optimoroute, Oradian, Infobeep, Agrivi, Tvbeat, Orqa, and Bellabeat, and our related funding companions with us and a brand new PE fund which have simply been creating. There is cash, expertise and we’ve unicorns in Croatia. Very few weaknesses in Croatia in the meanwhile, particularly with the present tax framework on capital good points (zero for those who maintain the shares for greater than two years) and the digital nomad visa. A large leap for the area!

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
Oradian, Lebesgue, Optimoroute, Gideon Brothers, Worcon, TVbeat, Orqa, Ascalia, Epoets Society, Hoss, Jade, Miret, My Valet, Sendbee, She’s Well, Spotsie, Taia, TDA, and Twire.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
The ecosystem nonetheless a bit small to speak concerning the vertical focus. [We have] two energetic funds: SC ventures and Fil Rouge Capital. FRC runs an accelerator program alongside the YC mannequin. The angel scene is a bit disappointing in the meanwhile with not a number of investments. Funderbeam [is] fairly energetic right here. The high quality and amount is wonderful in the meanwhile in Croatia, in all probability an element of the ecosystem being moderately younger.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
The present fiscal local weather makes it very enticing for individuals to relocate/keep in Zagreb, little question. One million individuals right here; proximity to probably the greatest seas on this planet — all of the components are right here to make it the beacon of the up and coming startup world!

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. Investors, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on)
FRC is unquestionably the primary participant in Zagreb; SC ventures, Funderbeam, Novak Law for legal professionals, Algebra University, ZICER, Hub 385, Step RI.

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
No doubt a key hub in Europe on par with Vienna.

Can you advocate any corporations that ought to seem in our world Startup Battlefield competitors?
Oradian, Lebesgue, Optimoroute, Gideon Brothers, Worcon, TVbeat, Orqa, Ascalia, Epoets Society, Hoss, Jade, Miret, My Balet, Sendbee, She’s properly, Spotsie, Taia, TDA, and Twire.

 

Josip Orsolic, CEO, Lilcodelab

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
IT, automotive, manufacturing, farming (totally different SaaS and IoT options).

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
Rimac Automobili, Microblink, Five, Nanobit, Agrivi.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
It’s a small circle of individuals and not a number of variety, though it’s getting higher. Many new younger profitable buyers emerged in the previous few years.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
They will keep, possibly go to the suburbs, however simply trying on the rental costs for residences/residences I don’t see any shift in individuals shifting outdoors of town.

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. Investors, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on)
Mate Rimac, Damir Sabol, Alan Sumina, Tomislav Car, Luka Abrus.

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
I imagine the tech scene goes to develop extra and extra. Many corporations from different nations are opening up engineering hubs in Zagreb. There is a number of expertise, persons are drawn to tech jobs; it’s closely coated by the media. Each success is well known and coated by the media, so there’s a feeling that tech corporations are being pushed, although there are different profitable corporations from different industries.

Can you advocate any corporations that ought to seem in our world Startup Battlefield competitors?
Agrivi, Parklio, Seek and Hit, Electrocoin, TestDome, Include.

Vedran Tolic, founder & CBO, Q company

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Strongest: Online betting, HR options, fintech, cell gaming, IoT.
Weakest: Gaming for critical platforms; AI options are nonetheless of their infancy.

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
PhotoMath, Agrivi, SofaScore, TalentLyft, Jenz, and Bellabeat.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
The scene is getting stronger, however for any critical funding, startups must look past our borders.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
Zagreb has a wonderful work-life steadiness, and many of the expertise need to keep right here. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s simpler to land distant jobs and keep in Zagreb, which is able to positively impression our ecosystem.

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. Investors, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on)
Founders: We have many charismatic founders who’re elevating consciousness round startups and entrepreneurship usually. They are reaching giant audiences and getting consideration from authorities, the schooling system and the general public.

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
Shifting from largely company work for international corporations to a extra product-oriented scene — particularly in AI and ML. Products will revolve round buyer and worker engagement, automation and prediction of processes that are immediately achieved by a big workforce.

Can you advocate any corporations that ought to seem in our world Startup Battlefield competitors?
Photomath, Agrivi, Bellabeat, Jenz

 

Bozidar Pavlovic, managing director, airt

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
AI, SaaS, electrical vehicles manufacturing, and software program growth usually.

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
Rimac Automobili, Nanobit, Infinum, Five, Agrivi, Aircash, Identyum, Airt, Mindsmiths, Electrocoin, Agency 04, Oradian, Microblink, Photomath, Agency Q, Revuto, Optimoroute, Amodo, Lemax, Ampnet, RobotiqAI, and Velebit AI.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
The scene is rising not too long ago — Zagreb is capital of Croatia, thus attracting capital and individuals. A current near-unicorn (Rimac, with heavy funding from Hyundai and Porsche) helped increase visibility for this vibrant ecosystem.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
Even earlier than the pandemic, Zagreb was very enticing for tech consultants worldwide as a consequence of its interesting worth of lodging, safety, consolation of dwelling and comparatively excessive salaries. I’m anticipating to see the plenty return after vaccination.

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. Investors, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on)
Davor Runje, Nikola Pavesic, Drazen Orescanin, Frane Sesnic, Tin Tezak, Ante Magzan, and Luka Sucic.

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
I see it blooming, largely as a consequence of upcoming adoption of EUR as a neighborhood forex.

Can you advocate any corporations that ought to seem in our world Startup Battlefield competitors?
Amodo, Agrivi, Photomath, Identyum.

 

Matej Zelic, COO, Spotsie

What business sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Oil and vitality, Industry 4.0. Most excited to be part of digital transformation within the old style industries.

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
Rimac, Agrivi, Oradian, Miret, SofaScore.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
The startup ecosystem in Croatia continues to be in early phases of growth. The funding scene (besides just a few enterprise angels) began a  few years in the past backed by EU with simply two VCs (FRC and SVC) with no strategic plan and focus.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
People will keep right here.

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. Investors, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on)
Fil Rouge Capital, South Central Ventures. Mate Rimac, Damir Sabol, Frane Sesnic

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
Because of micro-location, the digital nomad program, and IT expertise pool, Zagreb is on the way in which to changing into the No. 1 tech location in CEE and Europe.

Can you advocate any corporations that ought to seem in our world Startup Battlefield competitors?
Gideon Brothers, Spotsie.

 

Miroslav Kovac, CEO, Coffee Cloud

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
IoT, software program analytics, massive information, espresso business.

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
Agrivi, Repsly.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
Very poor startup ecosystem.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
Most of the final 12 months was in partial lockdown.

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. Investors, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on.)
Sasa Cvetojecic, Hrvoje Prpic, Fil Rouge Capital, Bird Incubator.

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
At the identical place.

 

Vedran Blagus, funding supervisor, South Central Ventures

Which sectors is your tech ecosystem robust in? What are you most excited by? What is it weak in?
Industry could be very agnostic. Most of them work in B2B or the enterprise house. They lack B2C data, development/growth plan and investor relations.

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
AdScanner, Agrivi, ReversingLabs, TalentLyft, Sportening, Codemap, Gideon Brothers.

What are the tech buyers like? What is the funding scene like in your metropolis? What’s their focus?
Two VCs working – Fil Rouge Capital (Pre-Seed, Seed, Series A – business agnostic; B2C and B2B) and South Central Ventures (Seed, Series A, B2B). In the previous six to 12 months, C-level executives from corporates began investing in startups in early phases (as much as EUR 200k), however maintain their investments beneath the radar.

With the shift to distant working through the COVID-19 pandemic, will individuals keep in your metropolis, transfer out, or will others transfer in?
I imagine that it’s going to keep the identical as it’s. Development/operations in Zagreb, growth to different European cities by opening workplaces there.

Who are the important thing startup individuals in your metropolis? (e.g. buyers, founders, legal professionals, designers, and so on)
Founders – Matija Zulj, Marin Curkovic, Mate Rimac, Marin Saric, Alan Sumina, Matija Kopic.
Investors – Luka Sucic, Stevica Kuharski, Vedran Blagus.
Lawyers – Marijana Sarolic Robic.
Media – Ivan Brezak Brkan, Bernard Ivezic.

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
Founders who exited corporations they’ve been constructing for the previous 10 years will discovered new corporations and/or put money into early stage startups. More worldwide buyers taking a look at Zagreb for pipeline/investments.

 

Daniel Stefanic, investor

Which are essentially the most fascinating startups in your metropolis?
Infobip, Rimac appear to be hottest ones in Croatia.

Where do you see your metropolis’s tech scene in 5 years?
There’s some extremely sensible individuals concerned in STEM in Croatia – world class. They simply want higher pathways to commercialisation and entry to capital.

Source Link – techcrunch.com

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