The Croatian startup ecosystem finally has its official startup association – CRO Startup. Despite the many successful entrepreneurs and businesses in the country, until now, Croatia was the only EU member state that did not have a dedicated startup association.
Initiated by CISEx, the Croatian Association of Software Exporters, important stakeholders of the Croatian startup community gathered and launched the first umbrella national startup association, CRO Startup, reported the Croatian Poslovni Dnevnik.
The new CRO Startup Association will assist with improving and growing the Croatian startup ecosystem. Some of the key areas and the focus of the association, according to Netokracija, would be:
- Removing regulatory barriers – simplifying administrative processes for opening and closing of companies, the easier decision of shares, tax incentives for investors, etc.
- Pooling resources and knowledge – creating a single platform that brings together all resources needed by startups in one place.
- Strengthening the startup community – connecting founders, helping them exchange knowledge.
- International positioning – mapping the diverse and dynamic startup scene and experiences, promotion to foreign audiences and investors.
The Executive Board of the newly formed association is comprised by well-established entrepreneurs from Croatia:
- Maja Brkljačić from AlgebraLAB
- Mario Frančešević from CISEx/SeekandHit
- Darko Jovišić from Robotiq.ai
- Srđan Kovačević from Orqa
- Nikola Pavešić from Infobip
- Božidar Pavlović from Jackie Agency
- Marijana Šarolić Robić from Odvjetnički ured MSR as the VP
- Hajdi Ćenan from airt as the President.
“None of the existing associations (in Croatia) is focused exclusively on startups, nor does it include startups from all areas and industries,” said Hajdi Ćenan, President and member of the executive board of the newly founded CRO Startup association.
Croatia is developing quite well in terms of successful startups. The small European country already has two unicorns – Infopib and Rimac Automobili. The Croatian AI Association, CRO AI, is also supporting the development of more projects in this field. A recent report listed the Croatian FinTech startup Oradian as a soonicorn that is to be expected to become the third company in the country valued at more than $1 billion by the end of 2022.
Another major success story from the Croatian startup ecosystem in the past year is the development of the STEM startup CircuitMess. The Croatian startup received a global license from the American entertainment giant Warner Bros for the development of its STEM toy “the Batmobile”. The startup attracted e-commerce giant Amazon as a partner as well.
As mentioned above, the AI field in Croatia is growing rapidly. The Croatian startup Mindsmiths was the winner of the global “Top of AI startups Award” provided by the Alliance for Responsible AI.
“The Croatian startup scene is experiencing a kind of momentum. In less than two years, we have become a country with two unicorns (Infobip and Rimac cars), we are witnessing a large number of startups that are stringing ‘overnight’ successes and the almost daily emergence of new startups. However, everyone works and succeeds not because of the supportive environment in Croatia, but in spite of it. The goal of the EU is to position itself as a driving force for startups so that we can reach America and Asia. That is why we concluded that Croatian startups deserve such an association,” added Hajdi Ćenan.
A thriving startup ecosystem indeed needs its own association to help it grow and develop. You can find more interesting news and success stories from the Croatian startup ecosystem here.