Croatian Smart Benches: Ivan Mrvoš Plans to Mark Territory in USA

Daniela Rogulj

Just last week we announced the Croatian ‘Smart Benches’ making their move to Scandinavia, and today, Ivan Mrvoš hopes to mark his territory in the United States. 

Ivan Mrvoš, the man behind one of Croatia’s most innovative products today, has recently signed an exclusive distributorship of the ‘Smart Benches’ to the Scandinavian market, with plans to deliver at least 250 this year. The young entrepreneur from Solin and the man behind the European hardware company ‘Include’, revealed to Dalmatinski Portal just why 2018 will indeed be the craziest year yet for the 22-year-old on January 29, 2018. 

“In the middle of the year, I intend to open a company in America, which will be 100% owned by our Croatian firm. If we decide to do so, I am expected to live three to six months in the United States until everything is in place. After that, I expect that we will get investment in our new US company,” said Mrvoš.

“A good part of Americans do not know where Croatia is, so they are hesitant to cooperate with us. One of our potential clients did not allow women to come to Croatia because they were convinced that there was still war here,” Ivan added.

The idea is that the benches will be produced in Solin for a US company, but they will be assembled in the United States – meaning they will boast the ‘Assembled in USA’ label. Mrvoš added that they have a good team (around 1000 people applied when they announced they were hiring), and 11 salespeople are in charge of looking for distributors in various markets, mostly telecoms or firms dealing with urban equipment. The ‘Smart Benches’, however, are not the only thing that Include will sell, and it will surely not be the only thing the team will develop.

“There is a system that recognizes your mobile phone when you save it in the charger, and it determines the fastest charging mode. But when a new cell phone appears, the chip does not recognize it. Now, we are developing a system that will ‘recognize’ a mobile phone that is not yet available, but may be on the market in 20 years, and will determine the fastest battery charging method. That is a product that we could sell independently of the benches. There is another one that we have already developed, and now we will protect it. It’s a controller needed to use solar energy to charge your mobile phone, and ours is 10 percent more efficient than anyone in the market. We’ll place that independently of the ‘Smart Bench’ for which we have developed it,” continued Mrvoš.

Mobile phone charging is just one of the possibilities of these benches, as they can also become advertising space. Since they have built-in sensors, they can recognize how often people pass by them, whether they are men or women, and how much they are used.

“The French company JCDecaux contacted us, and they are the world’s leading provider of urban and outdoor advertising and the largest outdoor advertising operator in Europe. I hope for a meeting and further cooperation. My goal is to work with the biggest, especially telecoms. News of who we are and our story got all the way to Nokia in Finland after our Hungarian partner tested our bench.”

Apart from displaying advertisements on the Steora screens, this “smart bench” may become interesting to institutions for another vision of Ivan’s…

“I would like to develop an algorithm that will notice the potential danger that occurs in the visible area of the bench and alarm the responsible service. We have placed 20 benches in the Albanian capital of Vlore, which are powered by the solar energy of cameras located on that promenade,” he added. 

It comes as no surprise that Mrvoš and his team, which today counts between 30 to 40 people, can compete with the world’s competition.

“Larger companies than us who deal with the production of urban equipment have fallen since last year – because, from the start of negotiations with a certain city to finally installing the product, it can take at least six months, which is a strain on the finances. We survived because we were willing to sacrifice, and in 2015, we all volunteered,” Mrvoš revealed, adding that there are still many ideas, and that Include will not be his only firm.

The Smart Bench story is only in its beginnings. 

Translated from Dalmatinski Portal


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