BestInvest Croatia: Mate Rimac is a two-time laureate, and the Croatian franchise, Museum of Illusions, was awarded as a global hit
06 July 2022
The Croatian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (CVCA) organised the Croatian Annual PE&VC Investment Awards Conference, Bestinvest.hr. The conference was held on Wednesday, 6 July 2022, at hotel Westin, Zagreb. The annual awards were awarded for the best investments in fast-growing companies and startups, i.e. the best private equity and venture capital (PE&VC) investments in six categories.
Mate Rimac is a double BestInvest.hr awards laureate, having won two awards in the Founder of the Year and Venture Capital Investment of the Year. Provectus Capital Partners won the Investor of the Year award. Invera Equity Partners won the Private Equity Investment of the Year award for their investment in the Museum of Illusions. Blue Sea Capital won the Exit of the Year awards for exiting their investment in the Sesvete-based company Piramida to the leading Japanese corporation Nipro. Feelsgood Capital Partners won the Fundraising of the Year award for raising more than HRK 200 million for startups with a wider social influence.
“When we send a Whatsapp message, we use an app behind which, in a technological sense, is our Vodnjan giant Infobip, the first official Croatian unicorn valued at more than USD 1 billion. When we shop at a bakery, Minar or Pan-Pek, we shop in companies backed by private equity. When we use Bolt for transportation or Wolt for food delivery, we use services backed by venture capital. When we shop in stores – Studenca, Lonia or Tommy, we shop in companies owned by private equity. When we help kids solve math tests, we use the Photomath app funded by venture capital. When we watch the program “Nova TV”, we watch television owned by private equity. Obviously, it is impossible to give all the examples, but even just the ones I cited put things in a completely different perspective. Private equity and venture capital investments are all around us, but we all lack awareness of how important this industry is for the future of Croatia and the transformation of our economy”, explained Mirna Marovic, CVCA President.
Croatia has the opportunity to build a completely new economic ecosystem on the wings of the success of Rimac, Infobip, Gideon, Photomath and many other successful business stories driven by PE&VC investments. This new ecosystem is based on three pillars: high tech, high skills, and high wages! For a small country like us, this is the only way to achieve long-term and sustainable success – said Mirna Marovic, CVCA President.
Although the use of private equity and venture capital investments is still below the EU average in Croatia, in the last few years we have seen an extremely positive trend, and in three years, these investments have increased by more than 3 times – from 95 million euros in 2019 to 312 million euros in 2021. The Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) played the most crucial role in this – in the last three years they have enabled the creation of as many as five new funds, but they are aware that there is still a lot of work ahead of them. This is demonstrated by the research whose results they presented today, which was done with the support of the European Investment Bank (EIB).
“Research has shown that over the next four years, the venture capital investment market lacks financing of 111 million euros per year – EUR 89 million for private equity financing and EUR 22 million for venture capital financing. The development of the venture capital market is extremely important for the faster development of the Croatian economy and for increasing its competitiveness. That is why HBOR has also secured new funds from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) dedicated to investing in private equity funds in the amount of EUR 30 million, which we expect other investors to join. According to the experience so far, more than 5 euros of other investors have been invested in the funds on each euro invested by HBOR,” Tamara Perko, President of the Management Board of HBOR, said at BestInvest.
The event, which brings together investors “weighing” EUR 3.2 billion and the best Croatian entrepreneurs, was held for the second year in a row. The expert jury consisted of eminent experts from the business community: Velimir Srica (Faculty of Economics), Leo Mrsic (Algebra), Zeljko Krizmanic (Bird Incubator), Ognjan Despot (Funderbeam), Ivana Gazic (ZSE), Goran Saravnja (HGK), Morena Plejic (ZSE), Marijana Ivanov (Faculty of Economics), Hajdi Cenan (CRO StartUP, CroaAI), Hrvoje Serdarusic and Bernard Ivezic (Jutarnji list).