Yesterday, the fourth edition of the Zagreb Connect startup conference, organized by the City of Zagreb and the Croatian Business Angels Network (CRANE) was held at the Congress Center of the Zagreb Fair. The winner of the 2017 Zagreb Connect Start-up pitch competition is MAKERbuino which won a prize of 60 000kunas (€ 8,000)! MAKERbuino is a “do-it-yourself” electronic set, i.e. a box with electronic parts needed for creating your own retro game console.
“This Zagreb Connect award means a lot to me because of further investments in the development of MAKERbuino products, the expansion of production capacities and marketing,” commented the winning team’s director Albert Gajšak.
The conference was attended by more than 600 participants who got the chance to enjoy interesting discussions, lectures, mutual exchange of experiences and networking opportunities, with a great atmosphere during the pitch competition!
This year’s Zagreb Connect 2017 was opened by the introductory speech and encouraging words from Davorin Štetner, the president of CRANE: “Thirteen finalists who have been polishing their pitches yesterday are entering the hunt for prizes, but also for something much more important than prizes – the potential investments and contacts. I can mention one of the last year’s Zagreb Connect winning startups – Nanodiy – which, after a good performance, had secured two investments, set up a company and in less than a year made close to 2 million kunas in revenue, high profits, exports to 32 countries and is growing rapidly. All of this would not be possible without the business angels at the Zagreb Connect conference.”
The first thing I want to point out to startups and to those who want to become one, is to not be afraid to approach someone. Only in this hall today there are over 70 investors – from business angels to representatives of large VC funds. Everyone is constantly asking me how did I manage to get the rights to Formula 1, one of the biggest and most expensive sports in the world as a 29 year old? I made the first step and I was not afraid to go to London to Bernie Ecclestone and start the negotiations. And I succeeded! You just have to make the first step.
This is proof that everything is possible. The idea itself is 1% success – the remaining 99% of it includes perseverance, creativity, knowledge and persistence again. I am proud of a large number of quality members of CRANE, and I am even more proud of our secondary goal, which is to influence the change in the societal mentality and creating a a business friendly country. Over 30 million of kunas invested in mainly Croatian startups is saying a lot about our eternal optimism and the belief that things still change by taking small steps. But we need a sprint! “
“Zagreb Connect is a springboard for innovative people with great ideas that paves the road for a successful entrepreneurial future much easier and we are very proud that the fourth year in a row we gathered such a great number of young inovators.” said Milan Bandić, the mayor of Zagreb.
Also, Zagreb Connect hosted a number of great speakers and interesting lectures from Israeli guest Anat Avni-Papo, Ingrid Vanderveldt, the CEO of Empowering and Billion Women By 2020, Kalle Palling, the member of the Estonian Parliament, Julie Meyer, CEO of Ariadne Capitala in the United States, Nenad Bakić, STEM area expert and many others.
If you did not have the opportunity to attend the conference, look at the video below.
More information at: www.zagrebconnect.zagreb.hr