South Central Ventures Invests in Sentinel for Development of IoT for Ships

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South Central Ventures invested a million euros in the Croatian company ”Sentinel” for the development of IoT for ships.

On a global scale, there are more than 30 million recreational boats registered today, and their owners and boat rental companies still have limited insight into the status and management of their vessels. Sentinel, a company from Vodnjan, wants to change this with its ‘internet of things’ solution, now backed by a million euro investment by South Central Ventures (SCV), reports Netokracija on October 4, 2017. 

This is ENIF’s (Enterprise Innovation Fund) third investment in a Croatian company after Agriva and Bulba, and the investment, which includes funds from private investor Matej Tomažin, is intended for further growth in Europe, where almost 30,000 ships are sold each year, which follows a global a market growth trend of 8% per annum, as well as spreading to the US market.


Sentinel’s goal is to provide recreational boats what they lack – connectivity and ‘brains’. Although there is an increasing trend of connectivity such as for homes and road vehicles, there is a lack of technology that would enable vessel monitoring, especially when they aren’t being used, and more efficient management. The Sentinel comes as a solution – both for the maintenance of ships for private owners and for logistical problems for boat rental companies by storing data online and allowing it to be accessed remotely.

This software and hardware project enables monitoring of each ship’s location (fleet monitoring), status (battery, etc.) and usage information (visits to gas stations, approximate arrival time, dangerous zones). It promises to reduce maintenance costs and increase ship safety while reducing the risk of bad weather or defective equipment by collecting large amounts of data and analyzing it.

Croatia’s best IoT startup


The company was founded in Vodnjan in 2013, after which it expanded to Zagreb, and currently, has partners from all over the world. Hardware components needed to collect data are produced both internally and with the assistance of partners in Taiwan, China and the US.

“Distribution, hardware development and implementation are done internally, while installation is done in collaboration with partner companies along the Croatian coast. The functional and technical specifications of the software, as well as the development itself, are done internally, but also in cooperation with partners (charities, insurance companies, telecoms, travel agencies, etc.) from Croatia and neighbouring countries. South Central Ventures delivers the necessary fuel for further expansion of the team and supports our growth strategy at an aggressive pace. The challenge of connecting each boat at sea is a constant and crucial factor in achieving a “smart ship”. We are recognized as charter specialists and we will continue to focus on that industry, but we will also make stronger moves towards the private customers market”, said Marko Pihlar, the CEO of Sentinel.

Also, in 2016, the project was proclaimed the best IoT startup in Croatia at the CES Awards, and in the first year of its operations, it recorded an income of 1 million kunas.

The key to investment – a professional team, product and its market potential


As one of the main reasons for the investment, SCV highlights the team consisting of experts – CEO Marko Pihlar and Gregor Pipan, who are also co-founders of XLAB, a think tank for cloud computing, artificial intelligence expert Pedro Kostelec who is the CTO, and Matic Herman, a hardware expert. Of course, there is the product itself, which has so far shown great potential in the market with even greater potential for further development of additional services and expansion to new markets, says Jure Mikuž, the main partner in South Central Ventures.

To learn more about the Sentinel company and what it offers, visit their official website and follow them on Facebook.


Translated from

Photos: Sentinel Facebook



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