Croatian Startups Looking for Opportunities in Africa

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New business opportunities for Croatian entrepreneurs.

New venture capital fund, supported by several technological entrepreneurs from South Africa and Europe and managed by Matija Rukavina, business angel who is the first investor in the Croatian startup Agrivi, offers to Croatian startups investments from 20,000 to more than 500,000 euros, reports on January 18, 2017.

Matija Rukavina, director of the 800 Ventures Fund, says that he is pleased with the initial interest of young Croatian technology companies. However, he stressed that, due to the very complex regulations, they do not act as a classic investment fund but rather as a network of investors. “In the first phase, we were contacted by ten startups from Croatia which are not only interested in the capital, but also in expanding to the African markets, and that is precisely the added value that we can offer them”, says Rukavina.

Matija Žulj, director and founder of Agrivi, says that he is happy that Rukavina was his first investor. “He recognized our vision, brought more investors who also invested in Agrivi, but also helped us with very good advice in early stage of development”, says Žulj. Rukavina points out that his advisory role in Agrivi and in expansion of its operations to Africa gave him the idea to create a network of investors who would invest in startups from Croatia and the rest of Southeast Europe. He adds that, in the meantime, he has invested in several Croatian startups, but with a more modest success than in Agrivi.

“For Croatian start-ups, two biggest problems are capital, especially in the range of 50,000 to 100,000 euros, and entry to large markets where they can scale their products. In this regards, South Africa is the right place for them”, says Rukavina. He adds that it is a country with nearly 60 million people, the official language is English, it is in the same time zone, and the competition is weaker than in the United Kingdom or the United States. “Even Uber came to South Africa before Croatia or Germany”, says Rukavina.

Majority of investors gathered in 800 Ventures Fund are owners or directors of companies from Europe and South Africa. They work mainly in technology companies and online businesses and have experience operating across Africa. Rukavina explains that, for this reason, they are aware of the market potential of Africa, as the second most populous continent. “Our sole focus is on technology companies which operate in African countries, and which work on software, B2B solutions and sharing economy”, says Rukavina.


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