From Fun to Global Market: Croatian Company Pixblasters Gaining Traction

Lauren Simmonds

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Sergej Novosel Vuckovic writes on the 10th of November, 2019, with over twenty years of professional experience working on the development of advanced electronic systems, as well as a good dose of enthusiasm and ”zeal” for putting together what they personally care about and love, these two colleagues and friends from Zagreb, Goran Fiolić and Gordan Galić, launched the startup Pixblasters.

This Croatian startup’s aim is to create and manufacture an innovative RGB LED controller, an electrical device that would enable both professionals and amateurs, and even those without any experience and knowledge of electronics, to create large video screens using so-called addressable LED strips.

They formulated their desire into a project and launched it on the Crowd Supply web platform, intended for the group financing of (technology) projects. The crowdfunding campaign started about a month ago and has already raised about 6,000 US dollars out of a target of 18,000 dollars in this round that ends in twelve days. Why did they decide to make such a bold move, both in terms of production ideas and in raising capital? Who are the real minds behind Pixblasters?

”We’re a ”maker” duo with experience in significantly more complex projects executed for the global market. Today, when the startup culture and entrepreneurship that are lagging behind here when compared to Western countries are justifiably promoted, we may be a slightly different team that embarked on a project primarily out of fun and curiosity.

After completing the prototype, which surprised us both with its attractiveness and at the urging of our friends and colleagues, we decided to launch a project with the aim of producing a professional electronic controller that would be commercially interesting. We like to do things that interest us. It can be a small electronic dust detector or several hundred pounds a heavy machine with electronically controlled pneumatic and electric motor subsystems,” explains Galić on his own and Fiolić’s behalf.

They knew just what they were talking about when it comes to LED screens and their experiences stretching twenty years, and the story of Pixblasters was born.

“It really is a true anecdote. We were both thinking of building such screens at the time, but it was an undertaking that went beyond the capabilities of most self-builders. A minimum of 3 LEDs are required for one pixel (dot on the screen) of LED screens: red, green and blue. While red and green diodes were relatively inexpensive at the time we’re talking about, the blue ones cost about 40 kuna  per piece due to their specific construction.

The purchase price of diodes for a display with a resolution of 120×50 pixels, like the display from our campaign, costed around 300,000 kuna, without the cost of purchasing other electronic parts. We’ve concluded that as technology advances, such a device today has to cost significantly less and must be accessible to everyone. Indeed, our calculation has shown that LED screens of this resolution could be built today at 100 times less cost,” explains Gordan.

This pair of Zagreb techno ”makers” point out that the Pixblasters device is fully prepared and adapted for batch production, which is, after all, their ultimate goal. However, they emphasise that their LED controller is not a finished consumer product, but a device that just allows for the construction of large and attractive LED screens.

“The first series will be produced in Slovenia because of our previous business connections.

When thinking about Croatia, the manufacturing capabilities and capacities of Croatian electronic device manufacturing companies have grown significantly in recent years. I think they are also unduly underrated. Until a few years ago, it would have been relatively difficult to produce a Pixblasters controller complexity device in Croatia, but today it’s possible and we plan to work on it,” Galić reveals.

They are aware that for the needs of the big market, they should also have larger sources of funding, for example, from competitions from ministries or indeed from private sponsors, but for now, Pixblasters is being promoted as a DIY solution.

The advantage of their controllers, they describe, is that they would, with maximum cost-effectiveness, deliver the most important features of LED screens: simple content generation, attractive video display, remote application management and large dimensions.

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