Valent Sinković Invests in Croatian Highlander Brand

Lauren Simmonds

croatian highlander brand
Zeljko Hladika/PIXSELL

March the 25th, 2024 – The Croatian Highlander brand, a concept which has spread around the world, has been invested in by no less than Croatian Olympic gold medal winner Valent Sinković.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Domagoj Puljizovic writes, the Croatian Highlander brand has become globally known for organising mountain adventures around the world. It has recently had a new investor. Gold-medal-winning Olympic rower Valent Sinković joined the company of American Spartan Race and former economy minister – Ivan Vrdoljak.

“We’re currently the number one hiking event in the world. We’re present on 20 different markets, including six new ones starting this year. Those are the markets of Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Mexico, Costa Rica and France,” Highlander’s executive director Jurica Barać, (who is otherwise a Slavonian who earned the nickname “Osijek Highlander” because of his love for mountains) revealed.

While sitting in his glass-enclosed office on the seventh floor of a building on Selska Street, his view is straight over to Medvedgrad, where he wants to move the company’s headquarters so that he can ride his bike up Zagreb’s famous mountain for work. The exact amount of Valent Sinković’s investment hasn’t yet been made public knowledge.

“It isn’t some sort of ‘high level’ race, it’s more of a gathering, it has a very friendly dimension to it. In principle, I think that everyone needs to engage in much more recreation in nature. I plan to participate in the Croatian Highlander event, probably in autumn, because I’m currently busy preparing for the Olympic Games in Paris,” said the investor.

The Croatian Highlander brand just keeps on branching out

In addition to six new markets, the Croatian Highlander brand has expanded its range of services and introduced one-day hiking opportunities. “It’s something new alongside what we already offer. People don’t have to sleep in a tent if they choose to do a single day hike. We want them to come and get a taste for it. For this reason, we’ve been developing an event at Medvednica for two years. We also introduced 100 miles (160 kilometres), for the more hardcore team in America,” explained Barać.

The company has around 15 employees based in Croatia, and another 15 external associates outside the country, in America, England and the United Emirates.

“We’ve about seven people in America where we use the resources of our investor Spartan Race. A big step for us will be Saudi Arabia, where we plan to hold our first event this year, and two more are coming there next year. We plan to open a company there as well as the overall development of hiking in Saudi Arabia. We managed to get Australia, and this year we’re attacking Asia. We still lack that market and South America, but when we manage that, the Croatian Highlander brand will be present across all continents.

We already have contacts in South Korea, Japan and China. We always find local organisers and develop a team from them. I think that the East will be much more challenging for us than America because there’s a completely different culture, way of living and way of doing business there,” explained the executive director of Highlander.

Although they are present globally, they want to keep the core of their business right here at home in Croatia. “We’re once again in an investment cycle so that we can employ even more people. We’re going to stay here in Croatia and develop the team here. We want to be present in 50 markets”, Highlander’s director emphasised. Mountaineers and enthusiasts completely devoted to nature actually make up only 20 percent of Highlander’s clients, and the rest are business people and those who want to take care of their health more.

More than 15 thousand enthusiasts

“More than 15,000 interested people have gone on the Croatian Highlander brand’s hikes so far. We noticed that people are somewhat tired of going to fitness centres and the gym. They’re sick using the same old exercise equipment every day in a stuffy space. They want change.

More and more, people have started going out into nature and running marathons, which is a great combination of taking care of both the mind and body – you get to spend time in the fresh air and sensitise yourself with nature. In the end, people need an extra challenge in life, they want to get stronger. It isn’t remotely easy to walk 100 kilometres up a mountain, but when you overcome such a challenge, you do become a stronger person. You want to push your limits and beat yourself,” Jurica Barać concluded.


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