BestInvest: Croatia is five times better than the CEE region average in attracting private equity and venture capital investments
27 June 2023
The Croatian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (CVCA) organised the third annual BestInvest Croatia conference on 27th June 2023 in Hotel Westin, Zagreb. BestInvest.hr award conference promotes Croatian success stories, companies that have received private equity and venture capital financing, with a positive impact on the economic growth, long-term sustainability and positive transformation of the Croatian economy.
In the category the Founder of the Year 2022, the award was won by Nikolina Lauc, co-founder and CEO of GlycanAge, and Investor of the Year 2022 is Provectus Capital Partners. The award for Private equity investment of the Year 2022 was also given to Provectus Capital Partners for the investment in Arithera Special Hospital. The Later-stage Venture Capital Investment of the Year 2022 went to Rimac Group. The Early-stage Venture Capital Investment of the Year 2022 was awarded to Fil Rouge Capital for their investment in Native Teams, and the Fundraising of the Year 2022 went to Provectus Capital Partners.
“When private equity and venture capital investments are viewed in the context of a share of total GDP, Croatia attracted 0.650% of its GDP in private equity and venture capital investments in the last year. Croatia is the only Central and Eastern European (CEE) country besides Estonia whose 2022 private equity and venture capital investments as % of GDP exceeded the European average of 0.638%. All other CEE countries are far below that average, as the CEE average for attracting private equity and venture capital investment is 0.131% of GDP for 2022. Croatia is, therefore, five times better than the regional average (CEE) and slightly better than the European average, which is rare in other economic indicators.” – said Mirna Marovic, President of CVCA.
“Croatia, on the wings of the success of Infobip, Rimac, Photomath, Fonoa and many other successful scaleup and unicorn business stories, supported by private equity and venture capital investments, has the opportunity to transform its economy. This positive transformation – embodied in the BestInvest.hr slogan: “Support the Best & Transform the Rest” is based on three pillars: high tech, high skills, and high wage! For a small country like us, it is the only way to achieve long-term and sustainable growth.” – said Mirna Marovic, President of CVCA.
At this year’s BestInvest, we also had the opportunity to welcome the State Secretary Zrinka Raguž from the Ministry of Regional Development and EU Funds, who officially opened the BestInvest conference on behalf of Minister Erlic.
The main keynote presentation was given by Hrvoje Cuvalo, President of the Management Board, Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), in which he emphasised the crucial role of HBOR in contributing to the development of the private equity and venture capital markets.
“HBOR has profiled itself as the central institution for developing Croatia’s equity and quasi-equity market. For the creation of new venture capital funds and their investment in the initiation, growth and development of Croatian companies, along with HBOR and EIF, the presence of other institutional investors is necessary, as well as private investors, because only with them in synergy can we achieve significant growth.“- said Hrvoje Cuvalo, President of the Management Board of the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR), at BestInvest.
Victoria Zinchuk, Regional Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) presented regional support to private equity and venture capital ecosystems provided by the EBRD.
Other speakers with the keynote presentations were Nikolina Lauc (GlycanAge), who gave a presentation on the topic “Can we stop or even restore biological aging in order to live a longer and healthier life?”, Dubravko Babic (Eridan Communications Inc.) talked about technology startups in Silicon Valley, Dominik Dolenec (Emona Capital), presented his London-based views on global scaling up opportunities for CEE companies, and Ivo Bozic (Raiffeisen Bank International AG), who discussed opportunities for the venture debt and other debt financings for startups/scaleups.
The panel of private equity investors was attended by investors who collectively manage over 4 billion euros, namely Marko Galic (Provectus Capital Partners), Krešimir Gjenero (Mezzanine Partners), Tomislav Tomljenovic (Enterprise Investors), Aleksandar Dragicevic (Mid Europa) and Mateo Zokalj (BlackPeak Capital), and the panel was moderated by Vladimir Nisevic (Poslovni dnevnik).
Miryana Joksovic (Arcion Labs), Matija Nakic (Farseer), Edo Mujkic (BiteMe Nutrition) and Marin Bek (Ascalia) participated in the Founder’s panel, and the panel was moderated by Bernard Ivezic (Jutarnji List).
Two Fireside Chats were also held, where Goran Deak (TDA), Julien Coustaury (Fil Rouge Capital) and Pierre Matek (Feelsgood Capital), and moderator Mirna Marovic (CVCA), discussed the path from local funding to the global influence of TDA. The second Fireside Chat was on the topic of the global success of the Museum of Illusions, where Teo Sirola, president of the Museum of Illusions, shared his thoughts in a conversation with Mirna Marovic (CVCA).
The expert jury for the selection and awarding of BestInvest awards consisted of eminent experts from the business community who presented the awards to this year’s laureates (in alphabetical order): Hajdi Cenan (CRO StartUP), Ivana Gazic (ZSE), Marijana Ivanov (Faculty of Economics/Croatian Exporters), Bernard Ivezić (Jutarnji list), Andrej Knez (Bloomberg Adria), Zeljko Krizmanic (Bird Incubator), Leo Mršić (Algebra), Vladimir Nisevic (Poslovni dnevnik), Tamara Perko (HUB), Morena Plejic (Progress Market ZSE), Miodrag Sajatovic (Lider), Goran Saravnja (HGK), Hrvoje Serdarusic, Velimir Srica (Faculty of Economics) and Filip Stipancic (Lean Startup Croatia).