Croatian SeaCras Among 16 Startups to Pitch in Brussels for Investment

Lauren Simmonds

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As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Croatian SeaCras startup has made its way into the competition of 1000 startups to the finals of the elite BlueInvest 2022 programme, which will take place in Brussels on March the 28th, 2022. It is the only Croatian startup in the field of the blue economy that was selected to join the group of sixteen startups at BlueInvest Day 2022, where they will pitch for a significant investment.

Today, coastal waters are the areas where the most extensive activities of the blue economy take place and are placed under the greatest anthropogenic stress. In order to meet the ambitious criteria set by the European Commission (EC) under the Water Framework Directive and the European Green Plan, scalable, low-carbon digital solutions that monitor water and sea quality are needed.

Such a solution was developed by the Croatian SeaCras startup, alumni of ZICER’s Startup Factory acceleration programme.

Economic development and the conservation of marine ecosystems

The Croatian SeaCras startup is one of the winners of Startup Factory 2021, and for the past year, this young team of scientists has been enjoying success after success. The latest among them is entering the finals of the prestigious BlueInvest 2022 programme, which will once again bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, corporations and all important stakeholders in the blue economy sector in the Belgian and EU capital of Brussels.

The blue economy places great emphasis on sustainability in terms of balancing economic development and conserving marine ecosystems. Aquaculture, tourism, maritime transport, wastewater discharge and biodiversity are just some of the segments involved.

From Startup Factory to BlueInvest Day

“After Startup Factory, we joined BlueInvest Readiness Assistance, a programme established by the European Commission to further develop the blue economy. It is an exclusive mentoring programme for startups and high-potential projects that have innovative and sustainable solutions for the blue economy. SeaCras’ ​​analysis of satellite data plays a key role in the blue economy thanks to the possibilities provided by the high spatio-temporal monitoring of coastal sea quality. The fact that we entered the programme of the sixth cycle of BlueInvest as the only project from Croatia is a huge success. Given that each company had its own individual mentor, we had no insight into the quality or dynamics of the work of any of the other teams. At the end of the programme, we delivered the achieved key goals. This was followed by an evaluation of the goals and business plan by the PricewaterhouseCoopers team leading the BlueInvest programme,” explained Tomislav Stolar, the co-owner and marketing director of the Croatian SeaCras startup.

They were selected among an elite group consisting of sixteen companies in the field of blue economy and the four best companies in Europe in the field of Ocean Observation.

“We also received an invitation to participate in the BlueInvest Day 2022, which is being held in Brussels in front of the most relevant private investors and representatives of European investment funds specific to the blue economy. In the shortlist for the sixteen companies that received the invitation for BlueInvest Day 2022, there were over 200 companies, and in the wider circle there were over 1000 of them! If we put modesty to the side, this is an unprecedented success for a Croatian company in the field of blue economy,” Stolar pointed out.

An impressive win at Startup Factory 2020

It has been a little over one year since the Croatian SeaCras startup received 100,000 kuna in the finals of ZICER’s Startup Factory 2020 as one of the winning teams.

“Startup Factory meant a lot to us for several reasons. Through participating in the programme, we gained more know-how and raised awareness of what’s needed to achieve a successful startup story. Considering that we were one of the winners, the SeaCras brand gained recognition across the Republic of Croatia. In addition to that, with financial support, we’ve developed a SeaCras development strategy,” said Stolar.

Successful projects are backed by successful teams of people. The SeaCras team consists of experts, namely Dr. Mario Spadina, Dr. Stipe Lukin, M.Sc. chem. Tomislav Stolar, M.Sc. psych. Drazen Nikolic and mag. oec. Davor Blazencic.

A vision of the future and a message for the wider Croatian tourism sector

“We have the opportunity to secure a large investment and we certainly don’t intend to miss out on it. In addition, we recently signed the first commercial contracts on the Adriatic, starting with Mljet National Park, and we look forward to providing top services. We’re receiving very positive reactions and feedback from all sides and we’re in contact with several other clients,” noted Stolar, pointing out that the motivation of the Croatian SeaCras startup is to be an example of the implementation of the European Green Plan in Croatia.

“Within the digital and green transition and sustainable development in the Republic of Croatia, SeaCras offers added value that has great potential for the Croatian tourism sector. For example, data show that highlighting the excellent quality of the sea brings a 5 percent increase in the number of guests,” Stolar stated.

They say that in five years, they will see themselves in the role of market leaders in their market segment and intend to do business across all Mediterranean countries.

For more, check out Made in Croatia.


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