Today 10 Croatian startups invaded Google Campus to present their projects in front of a number of London-based investors: from developer focused CodeAnywhere to electric car maker Rimac Automobili. The goal: to show what the ever growing Croatian startups ecosystem can offer the global market and investors that want to help startups go global. The Croatian Startup Showcase in London has been organized by the UKTI, the British Embassy in Zagreb, your own Netocratic, the Zagreb Entrepreneurship Incubator and the Croatian agencies BICRO and HAMAG!
Enough Talk, More Croatian Startups
The showcase is a part of an even bigger visit by the startups and the organizers to Tech City London, the UK’s planned European center of technological entrepreneurship. The actual showcase took place on the 3rd floor of the Google Campus in London, right above Seedcamp’s office.
Founder Aleksandar Smiljanić started the showcase off with his DRM-building startup SmartRM. The startup lets you protect files and keep control even after the file has been sent. So if you want someone to be able to open a file only 3 times, or not be able to print it.
Mate Rimac presented his company Rimac Automobili, the electric car maker that has build the Concept One, an electric supercar. Rimac Automobili develops and produces not only “hypercars” but also high performance drivetrain systems and other vehicles.
Bernie, Want to Fund Rimac Automobili?
Rimac said that the company is now focused on in-house R&D which enables them to develop vehicles for a fraction of the industry-standard costs. When asked if he ever asked Bernie Ecclestone, the President of Formula One, for funding – Rimac answered that he hasn’t and thinks that many Croats have tried but wouldn’t have anything against getting his support. Bernie, are you reading this?
Once is creating a platform for the most detailed football performance analysis data in the world that can be seen through their football app for the iPhone and iPad. Several clubs from a number of continents already use Once in their internal analysis and Once wants to sign up 300 clubs in the next couple of months. Their revenue is currently at 8.000,00 Euros a month, with trainers and managers using Once for preparation as well as providing the media with more content.
PhotoPay from Europe to India & China
Founder of the first independent Croatian ISP Damir Sabol presented his new startup PhotoPay, a system to scan paper bills and pay them easily. When asked what future PhotoPay has with electronic bills on the rise, Sabol confirmed that they do support electronic bills and are working towards innovating in the area even more. However, he stressed that while direct debit might be big in developed countries such as Germany, it still makes up for a billion paper bills a year – something that PhotoPay is the ideal solution to handle.
Investors also suggested India and China as potential markets. While Sabol thinks those markets are interesting, PhotoPay is focusing on Europe where it knows the local markets – for now.
Sidekickr TV, a second screen app in development, developed by the authors of the very successful Wall of Tweets solution for Twitter walls, used not only at DAVOS but also the first presidential debate of the past US elections. Vibor Cipan, CEO of UX Passion, has pitched Sidekickr for the 3rd time, after WebFest in Budva and Geeks on a Plane Zagreb. The pitch went very well, with Vibor making a point of emphasizing their experience in developing innovative UIs.
EyeKnow is a new Croatia startup that lets advertisers target drivers based on the language that they speak, by analyzing their license plates. The content of LCD screens by the side of the road can then be changed and adjusted to the drivers. EyeKnow also fopes to tackle an even bigger challenge, recognizing the car passenger’s age and gender to focus the ads even more.
Mash.me‘s Vedran Škarica presented the team’s Kinect-based web application for real time motion capture and green-screen effects. Basically, how to use 3D models at home – creating effects that Avatar and Lord of the Rings introduces to the common movie goer. The biggest advantage is that the system is tailored for casual users and doesn’t require any expert skills, something the founders, the Škarica brothers, had to have when doing their client work. The pitch got a good laugh from the investors thanks to some key, interesting slides. When asked about distribution, Vedran said that they are going to focus on Machinamists and gamers.
Trillenium‘s Hrvoje Prpić pitched their 3D platform for retailers, starting with talking about founding HG Spot, a Croatian Best Buy. Prpić said that the new trend of an ever increasing ecommerce market is making traditional retailers think once again about how they can compete. Trillenium’s advantage is giving “the real experience of shopping” – according to Prpić. Prpić shared that they are looking for a an investment of 2.5 million Euros for 30 percent of the company for commercializing the product.
Growth at 17 Percent
Code Anywhere‘s Ivan Burazin presented the app tailored to developers that has gained more than 100,000 users in its short development. Burazin described Code Anywhere as “Google Docs” for developers, Ivo Špigel’s comment being that Ivan can move anywhere because he can… code anywhere. Burazin shared that they are increasing the base of paid users by 17 percent per month.
Bojan Pečnik flew in to London from a meeting in Turkey and boy – was his pitch good 🙂 Hypersphere is a very specific startup that is building an unmanned aerial vehicle and their mission statement is that they are creaing a new generation of remote-sensing servies.
With a room of around 30 guests from London, both journalists and investors, the Croatian startups were joined by the Croatian press following the project: the business magazine Lider, Croatian daily newspaper Jutarnji list and HRT- Croatian national television. The showcase went quite well with the biggest benefit being a new found confidence of the Croatian startups to present their projects to an international audience. An investment manager present at the event told me he thought he might leave before the end but stayed for the whole showcase, showing that the Croatian startup scene might be more interesting than even the local community thinks.