Finnish Startup Director ”Surprised at Ease of Creating Startup in Croatia”

Lauren Simmonds

It’s not often you hear such a statement…

With all the intense negativity surrounding the business world in Croatia, it isn’t often you hear a statement praising the way things are being handled, especially by a foreigner coming from the incomparably more business minded, forward-thinking Northern Europe. Meet Softwaresauna, a comprehensive solution for web and mobile technology, and its Finnish director.

As Ana Maria Filipovic Grcic/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 10th of June, 2018, Softwaresauna, otherwise a Croatian-Finnish startup, launched in April this year. Its body is made up of its director and founder of IIkka-Cristian Niemi, a Fin who decided to up and move to Croatia this year, and developers Marko Bjelac and Goran Mržljak. Softwaresauna offers the market ”full stack software development”, which means complete solutions for both web and mobile technology.

In an interview for Poslovni Dnevnik, they announced the employment of fifteen new colleagues this year, and another fifty IT experts over the next two years, and they will all work together in order to provide the remote growth of this very young company located in one of the most famous development centres of the Croatian startup scene – HUB385, Trešnjevka. The name of the company was chosen because it evokes the sense of pleasure closely connected with the famous Finnish saunas, ie, with the balance of private and work life, and this is exactly the type of relationship they want to achieve with their future business partners.

“Our investor and partner is the leading Finnish software development company Reaktor, with whom our cooperation has come after many hours of elaborating upon the initial idea. As with every beginning, through work, research and smart planning with my longtime friend, I decided to start working in Croatia. Our clients come from Nordic countries and from several other foreign markets, and as far as our business is concerned, we’re planning to expand in the region,” said IIkka-Cristian Niemi.

He also pointed out that one of their goals is to become the best place to work because he thinks that only a satisfied programmer can make every customer happy. In Croatia, this job is said to have started without any problems. Part of the motivation to move here lies in the natural beauty with which Niemi was delighted back in 2013, meanwhile, he’s also become one of the biggest fans of Zagreb’s Medveščak Ice Hockey Club, which is not surprising as hockey is one of the most popular sports in his homeland of Finland.

“I’m really surprised by the ease with with which I managed to run the whole project. I’m particularly thrilled by the fact that most of the people I’ve met in the process of realising this business story understand and speak English, so there was no language barrier when performing bureaucratic procedures,” Niemi added. The startup community in Croatia is becoming more vital, he points out, and its growth is even more noticeable.

“I hope that the authorities will soon notice the importance of startups, and that they’ll facilitate the growth and development for entrepreneurs. In the first place, with tax and other reforms. In the same sense, it would be desirable for local companies to be more aware of, and devote themselves to the potential that money from European funds brings, because it seems to me that they don’t use that to the extent that they could and should. As for the experience of foreign startups, our owners cooperated with Finnish and Polish startups. What we’re trying to do here is to connect all the good things that came from these experiences with everything that is good in Croatia. All of the negative, in other words, ineffective factors on both sides, should be eliminated,” they state from Softwaresauna.

It seems that Croatia has become an interesting destination for Nordic capital and knowledge, and has become the focus of attention. Along those same lines, in addition to GDPR which entered into force on the 25th of May, the Swedish fintech startup Instantor also arrived, which the vice governor of the Croatian National Bank (HNB/CNB) Neven Barbaroša hailed as a true example of open banking (PSD2).


Click here for the original article by Ana Maria Filipovic Grcic for Poslovni Dnevnik


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