Croatian Startup Investments Reach Over Billion Kuna in 3 Months

Lauren Simmonds

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As Bernard Ivezic/Novac writes, In the first quarter of 2021, Croatian startup investments reached more than one billion kuna in total, as was stated in the analysis of

Although the figure stands at more than 170 million US dollars, it isn’t a total amount because the value of some major transactions hasn’t yet been made public. Some examples of figures that aren’t yet known include the numbers behind Ispsos’ purchase of the most successful Croatian marketing startup, DotMetrics, Infobip’s acquisition of Shift, as well as the value of M + Group’s investment in the domestic startup Bulb. The latter is speculated to be at the level of seven million euros.

Frane Sesnic, the director of ZICER, says that it was only a matter of time before the achievements of the Croatian startup scene would come to light.

”All of those results come after long and persistent investments, knowledge, time and money, and these aren’t merely overnight successes. This is just the beginning of a new stage of Croatian entrepreneurship based on knowledge, which is proving to be successful and globally competitive,” he stated.

The largest startup investment in the first quarter was of course Porsche’s 70m-euro investment in Rimac Automobili. The market value of Mate Rimac’s company has since jumped to a massive 978.5 million US dollars and it is certain that by the end of the year it will achieve its so-called unicorn valuation, ie a market value of more than a billion US dollars.

The second largest of the Croatian startup investments in the first quarter of 2021 was the 250 million kuna exit of one of the largest mobile application manufacturers in Croatia, Zagreb’s Five. It was taken over by the British company Endava and is the second largest startup exit in Croatia so far, just behind Nanobit.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

In third place is Photomath’s 23 million US dollar investment round. A VC fund from no less than the Silicon Valley, Menlo Ventures, has invested in the startup, which was started by Damir Sabol and which boasted that its artificial intelligence is used by a million people a day. The Croatian-British startup Cognism is the fourth largest investment in the quarter, it received 12.5 million dollars from Swisscom Ventures, the VC fund of the largest telecom of the same name in Switzerland.

It’s worth mentioning that Cognism, which has developed a cloud system that allows companies to use Internet technologies to improve sales and marketing, is one of the fastest growing companies in the investment portfolio of South Central Ventures.

Vedran Blagus, an investment manager at South Central Ventures, says that given the fact that startups have been building their story globally for more than a decade now, it isn’t unusual to see their apparent “overnight success” now.

”If we go back only a year or two, activities on the Croatian startup or technology scene were sporadic, at least in terms of their size and the amount of investments and acquisitions which took place, now they’ve placed Croatia on the map for large foreign investors and partnerships in terms of acquisitions and investments,” said Blagus.

Green technologies

It is also worth mentioning that M12, Microsoft’s VC fund, invested 12.5 million dollars in Memgraph, a Croatian startup with whose technology another Facebook can be created.

Of the Croatian startup investments that exceed eye-watering amounts, there is also the investment of 10 million kuna received by the Osijek startup Orqa from the Hungarian fund Day One Capital, as well as smaller investments in various startups. The startup ecosystem in Croatia has become richer for the BIRD Incubator, the first to specialise in artificial intelligence startups. SPOCK, the incubator of the largest technological faculty in Croatia, Zagreb’s FER, was reactivated, and ZICER, the largest startup hub in our country, showed the results of as many as eight local green startups.

In addition, the American analytical company ABI Research named Gideon Brothers the fifth most successful manufacturer of autonomous robots for the transfer of cargo in the world, and the largest VC fund in Croatia, Fil Rouge Capital, was named the second most active such fund in Central and Eastern Europe.

For more on Croatian startup investments and domestic companies, make sure to follow Made in Croatia.


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