My Remote Year Series // Growing Industries in Croatia Post Independence

By Gemma Hughes

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After a whirlwind 3 months in Southeast Asia (revisit Gemma’s time in Phnom Penh here, it was time to embrace winter in Europe. Luckily the transition was relatively smooth as we were based in the coastal town of Split where our workspace overlooked the Adriatic Sea and temperatures were mild enough for morning bike rides or hikes and beautiful sunsets in the evening.

Croatia, with its starring role in Game of Thrones, beautiful Roman ruins and stunning landscapes that stretch across multiple national parks and beautiful coastlines, has recently become a huge global tourist hub. However, prior to Croatian Independence in 1995, tourism mostly existed for other Yugoslav countries Serbia, Slovenia for middle and eastern European tourists.

Before the 1990s, Croatia was ruled by the Communist party as part of Yugoslavia and the economy was organized as a mixture of planned socialist economy and a market socialist economy. During this time, production was particularly strong for the Croatian economy. Unfortunately, Croatia’s production industry has suffered during the transition from nationalized, state-run factories, to a free market and capitalism system where factories became privatized. Today there is a much smaller percentage of production and trade and tourism are gaining momentum.

One of the biggest problems for Croatia’s youth is unemployment and many look for options overseas. However, the startup scene is growing and have been gaining popularity, particularly with the younger population. Over the past couple years, several high-growth companies have started in Croatia with some raising seven-figure rounds. The central point for startup activities is in the capital, Zagreb.

Who are the established and up and coming tech companies in Croatia?

Bellabeat - products for that help women learn the science behind their bodies. They are Croatia’s first Y-Combinator alumni.
Axilis - Design and development agency.
Croteam - Video game developer.
IN2 - Largest Croatian IT company.
Repsly - Mobile CRM Software solution for field teams.
Farmeron - SaaS solution helping dairy farmers manage their cows.
Oradian - financial services solutions.

Co-working spaces

HUB385 - Biggest coworking space in Croatia. Located in Zagreb.
WIP - Remote Year coworking space in Split.
Impact Hub - Space and a community of entrepreneurs and social innovators in Zagreb.
Amosfera - Open Plan shared workspace in Split.
COIN Zadar - Space in Zadar that also offers resources for networking events.
CoCreative Coworking - Space in Split with an emphasis on creative professionals.

Startup Incubators/Accelerators

ZIP - The first incubator in Croatia. 4 month program with 24 educational workshops.
Founder Institute - Early stage startup accelerator. 4-month curriculum of weekly training courses and business-building assignments.
Core Incubator - offer angel funding and mentorship to startups in Southeastern Europe.
Impact Incubator - Focus on social innovation, ecology innovation, creative industries, high and new technologies.

Sources
Wikipedia - Economy of Croatia
Wikipedia - Split, Croatia
Tech.eu