When Netokracija published the announcement for RockPaperStartups conference several weeks ago, one person was specially excited. That person is Goran Duskic, CEO and founder of WhoAPI, and the reason for excitement – his home town was going to host one of the biggest summer startup conferences in Europe.
Where it all begins
Instead of a traditional presentation, Goran opted for a fireside chat with our own Ivan Brezak Brkan. Firstly he thanked Ivan and Netokracija for bringing a startup conference to Rijeka and pointed out that just two years ago he was “tht guy in the audience” – reading tweets about investments and not having a startup.
That all changed some year and a half ago when he sold his previous business and used the money to bootstrap a new startup which focuses on getting the extensive domain data using the API. He teamed up with his previous colleague, Edi Budimilic and started the work on WhoAPI. After two years of hard work and more than $250,000 in funding, their startup is now one of the most respected and most known in this region.
500 Startups: How’s the experience?
For those of you who do not know, Dave McLure from 500 startups decided to invest in WhoAPI during the last year’s visit to Croatia as a part of Geeks On a Plane Tour where he brought 30+ foreign investors on the personal invitation from Croatia’s president itself, Ivo Josipovic.
Goran added that the advice and the knowledge they got out of the acceleration process is something truly unique which has no price. He continued by saying that access to funds is the biggest thing that differentiates Rijeka and Silicon Valley.
We were running out of money. I emailed Dave several times but he never responded. One day, I met him on the street and told him how the situation looks. He pulled out his iPhone, emailed couple of investors and in under 5 minutes we got the funds.
Duskic also pointed out that running a startup form Croatia could be a pricey commodity. The main reason for this are hefty taxes therefore it’s important to have a accountant who will handle this end of the business. He ended by saying that going abroad is a huge leap of faith but unless you try it, you will never know.