Last week was one of the best weeks in my life, hands down. Why? First of all, thanks to Stevica Kuharski (you can read interview with him here) I was invited to come to Vis for free for a week. I asked what’s the catch? He said I have to do what I love, help startups and act as a mentor. I had absolutely no problem with that, and after talking with my investor (who was also coming as a mentor) and my partner (Edi, the other WhoAPI co-founder) I was on my way.

However, I wouldn’t be on my way if the whole camp wasn’t funded by the U.S. embassy! Now if that wasn’t cool I don’t know what is… Also, most of the images and video used here are from U.S. embassy’s in Zagreb facebook page.

Goran Duskic

Goran Duskic

On startupcamp Vis there were 22 startups, and top 3 already got coverage. Just to show you the quality of ideas and startups there I decided to interview co-founders of my three favorite startups there. Some may think why focus on the losers? Well here’s where they are wrong. I see them as winners. They were winners because they showed up on Vis, they were winners because they made profound progress from first pitch on day 1 to last pitch on day 3. And in my eyes, they are winners because they show passion and commitment to do what it takes to succeed. Perhaps there are projects at later stage or with better ideas. This doesn’t matter because these people are ready for overnight success, they are willing to work overnight. They will finish their projects, and if necessary find better ideas.

I published their answers in alphabetic order – I love them equally and if I was an investor I would do some serious due diligence in order to give them seed funding. This post is for them, and I am hoping to help them once again!

Oh yea, it’s ON, Croatia’s got startups!

Goran: Stevica, you an Saša Cvetojević from Croatian angel network were the two conspirators in the master plan called Startup Camp Vis. Can you tell my readears how did you get to this idea, and what was the crucial turning point when you realized that this is actually going to happen?

This idea crossed my mind while we were in Barcelona. Four of us, Sasa, Damir Sabol and Marjan Zitnik were living for 6 days together, which looked like a camp. Then I’ve realized that having a camp for startups would be blast. Participating a panel organized by US Embassy, I’ve expressed this idea to audience. Sita from US Embassy asked few questions and approached me after the panel asking “Were you serious about that camp?”. I’ve sad that I was. “OK, we’d like to pay for it”, she concluded.

Goran: You played a key role in organising the event, to which I personally thank you. I really think we made a difference. Can you tell me what was the most rewarding thing you saw in Startup Camp Vis. Obviously we all had to bail out from our offices to make this happen.

The most rewarding thing was seeing students changing their pitches and presentations. They have made tremendous progress during just two days. I still feel warm around my heart thinking of it.

Stevica Kuharski

Stevica Kuharski

Goran: Do you think that camps like this can make a real difference in the croatian economy, and what needs to happen on larger scale for this camps to occur more often?

Yes, in the long run it could make a difference. Pitched projects now need to grow more and to mature. Only then they will be able to attract foreign investors. For sure we would need more serious young entrepreneurs to have camps more often, not just in Croatia, but in the whole region as well.

Goran: In your oppinion, what was the thing that was missing? More mentors, more time, better ideas, more keyotes, something else? Can this be provided in perhaps next camp?

We’ve missed one more day. For the next camp we’ll squeeze it in and provide students lectures about dilution of ownership, how to create their pitches and basics of investments.

Allmyconferences.com

Goran: What makes your startup so special and why do you think you were invited to come to
Seedcamp, and this week’s Startup Camp on Vis? What exactly does your startup do, and tell us a
little bit about your team (age, background, qualities, etc)?

Ilona Spajic and Matea Torcic

Ilona Spajic and Matea Torcic

What makes us special are basically two things- firstly the team whose energy is unstoppable, and secondly the idea behind it. These two made us pass to the competition part in Vis, work all day and night there (literally) and get much more than we’ve expected (and we expected A LOT).

Our idea is to connect organizers of all kinds of non-formal educational events and their prospect users (attendees) by their previously chosen criteria. The reality is they sometimes just can’t seem to find each other. We want to provide them an ultimate place to meet and make their search and life much easier.

Our team for now consists of us two, Matea (22) and Ilona (24), we’re specialized in Marketing, Business and Finance fields, however we are on the search for the development partner, equally enthusiastic in this as we are. We both come from entrepreneurial families and, therefore, have the insight of all processes needed for something to succeed. And that’s exactly what we have in mind with this project.

Goran: Whats the most valuable thing you got during the Startup Camp Vis? Do you think camps like
this should happen more often, and should perhaps the Croatian government fund such an event/
camp? In general, what can you say about the Startup Camp Vis?

The most important thing we’ve learned in Vis was that we ought to share, comment, ask, criticize and pitch our idea as much as possible. That’s different from the usual Croatian mindset, but you just can’t progress alone, in your room, holding jealously your idea to yourself. Startups need to be dynamic, flexible and fast. With that in mind, Startup Camp Vis was the best place to be this year.

Things like SCVis should most definitely happen more often, and it would be great if the Government would fund them, but somehow we think it will continue to depend on the enthusiastic and crazy people who do it out of the pure belief in young people and their ideas. They were the ones who made Camp flawlessly organized, filled with awesome energy and people.

It’s really a great thing in every sense of that word for them to do it and, without any cliché, make the world a bit better place.

Goran: Were you satisfied with my performance as a mentor, and have the other mentors deliver what
you expected of them? Did we lack some critical information to your startup, and what would that
information be?

Mentors on startupcamp Vis

Mentors on startupcamp Vis

You were a great mentor, to be honest, one of the toughest but with the constructive critics. It was great to listen to you because were/are a startup yourself. Therefore, you were the only one who gave us opinion with the startup perspective which was very valuable.

All the mentors gave us some great feedback that really helped us, not just for the future, but we literary implemented them right away. It was incredible how none of the teams said for Camp it was “Ok”, or “Good”, we were all thrilled. Time of our lives, really.

Goran: At what stage is your startup, and what are you currently looking for? Is it funding, development
guy, biz guy, mentor, or perhaps clients and partners?

We are merely at the beginning of our project, and the Camp was the best thing that could happen at this moment. Our next steps are to establish the first version of our web site, get the developer, collect some data and get our startup going. Obviously, since we are students with limited budget, it would be great to get funding, but to be honest, not as much for the money part as much as for the mentoring, feedback and partnering part.

Goran: What do you see as your advantage compared to Silicon valley startups, and what’s your next
step in achieving that? What’s your and your teams next step in general?

Well, we are geographically in Croatia which is so much cooler than Silicon Valley :)

There’s nowhere in the world so much (stupid) bureaucracy obstacles like here, but we like to see it as a challenge. Like we said, we have a great team to start, but we’ll have to expand it a bit more to optimize our resources, skills and technical knowledge.

As we said, we are just beginning the story we believe it’s going to be big. Our passion for non-formal education drives us to work long hours.

Like Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” And that’s exactly what we’re doing.

You can see allmyconferences.com presentation here.

Just a quick update, I hear the girls have a new name and a logo to replace allmyconferences.com 

Anctu.com
Goran: What makes your startup so special and why do you think you were invited to come to Seedcamp, and this week’s Startup Camp on Vis? What exactly does your startup do, and tell us a little bit about your team (age, background, qualities, etc)?

Marko Pavlovic

Marko Pavlovic


-Why is my startup so special? Well most of all, I think that we as a team make our startup special, not because we are some kind of a geniuses, but because we are very passionate about doing what we do.. simply „We are in love“ with the problem that our startup solves , its really breaking the limits once it comes to social media tools, gives users the ability to create their own environment and gives developers a „hotspot“ for building their social apps. Those are probably the reasons why we where invited on SeedCamp and Startup Camp on Vis.

Team is sustained of my coworker Goran Blazevic and me(Marko Pavlović).

We are building social media marketplace called Anctu. It’s an open platform for developers to have a place where they can build and sell their social apps for users, mostly community managers, so they can choose between a long range of social apps/tools that suits them and their business, this way they will be able to create their own working environment for managing and tracking their social media and finally do it all from one place; Anctu!

There are ton of social media services out there which are mostly broken,useless or even good but their are dying since its hard for them to profit, I think a lot of people will agree with me on that. We are not only trying to unite existing ones, but to create new ones and have it working in a harmony with users on a single platform!

Team is expanding rapidly since recently we met some people that share the same vision as we do. Goran is 5 years experienced frontend developer and graphic designer which comes from Đakovo, Croatia. He is 27 years old and just getting his bachelor’s degree at Electrical Engeenireing, very calm and hard working guy, we have a lot in common (we both love Anctu and rakija, that’s for sure!).

I am 20 years old PHP developer(4 of years exp.). Coming from Vinkovci, where I graduated from high school of economics and trade. I don’t know how I ended up there since I love coding & tech overall, from my 10. I started seriously with one unsuccessful Andriod app and ended up 4 years in freelance waters with dozens of web projects behind me. Curentlly studying on faculty of electrical engineering at Osijek, but I feel „one big“ dropout coming up since Anctu needs me here alot, but anyway I plan to finish it later on. At the moment I’m living at Osijek and Goran is moving here also.

Goran: Whats the most valuable thing you got during the Startup Camp Vis? Do you think camps like this should happen more often, and should perhaps the Croatian government fund such an event/camp? In general, what can you say about the Startup Camp Vis?

Most valuable thing I got from Startup Camp Vis is those great people I met there, for god sakes, we became one happy family and that’s awesome! I really felt the bound with all of them there, both teams and mentors! So much positivity, great working atmosphere and crazy fun-times! Startup Camp Vis made me believe in myself even more then I did! What a great experience, it should happen much more often. Croatian government should definitely fund it, especially since this explosion of innovativity is happening on Croatian ground, right?
Startup Camp Vis is connecting people with great ideas and helps them to improve, that’s something great!

Goran: Were you satisfied with my performance as a mentor, and have the other mentors deliver what you expected of them? Did we lack some critical information to your startup, and what would that information be?

You where amazing Goran and same I hear from others! You supported me, advised me, felt my passion and energy about my startup and most of all, you where bloody honest, not only to me but to everyone; that’s exactly how every mentor should be, good job! Every of you mentors where great, some of you had harder time to understand what my startup is actually about, since its pretty deep into social media and development world, but on the end you all got it even better then I expected. This is one thing that almost made me cry: After doing the final pitch, one older mentor came to me and said „I am 70 years old, its really hard for me to understand some tech and social media stuff, but you made me get it all in only 5mins, amazing job, amazing pitch!“. This was my StartupCamp Vis reward, 50 years older person telling me this words. Felt.Stuning! All of you showed interest in my startup, both inside agenda and outside, that’s great!

Goran: At what stage is your startup, and what are you currently looking for? Is it funding, development guy, biz guy, mentor, or perhaps clients and partners?

Anctu logo

Anctu logo


We are at „wrapping up“, we expect our first live beta to be out in a month or so. We are looking for people that have any of those skills and are interested in Anctu, we are looking for people who will share the same vision as we do. Mostly we lack „biz guy“ which would do the sales and keep business connections, but we are also open for all interested clients and partners!

We are looking for funding, but we will turn to that much more seriously once we get the product out, all trough, it would not hurt us if it happens at this point also.

Goran: What do you see as your advantage compared to Silicon valley startups, and what’s your next step in achieving that? What’s your and your teams next step in general?

Silicon Valley atmosphere is much more competitive, here we live in a high-friendly atmosphere, that’s one of the advantages being in smaller communities. For Anctu its just another great location with bunch of good startups, we are not intimidated by it. Our next step is to release the product and get first costumers in.

Get you’r preinvite for Anctu live beta at: www.anctu.com
You can download Anctu presentation here.

Squee.it

Goran: What makes your startup so special and why do you think you were invited to come to this week’s Startup Camp on Vis? What exactly does your startup do, and tell us a little bit about your team (age, background, qualities, etc)?

Ivan Ivankovis, Ivan Kapulica, Krunoslav Klaric

Ivan Ivankovis, Ivan Kapulica, Krunoslav Klaric

What makes us special? That is a hard one. We consider our self different, hmm. That is about it. We believe that we have a good project. That our application has what it takes to become popular not just in Croatia, but with broader public. Squee is a beautiful app that basically allows the user to discover, share and buy an independently developed gadgets directly from your iPhone. Today the Silicon Valley is going through Hardware Renaissance, due to the cheap 3D prototyping and new technologies a lot of small teams make incredible gadgets, they make a prototype in the US, Europe and then they ship it to China, India for “mass” production. A lot of those teams get funded trough www.kickstarter.com. Squee is basically a social hub (mcommerce) for all the gadget creators and lovers.

Squee iPhone app

Squee iPhone app

Ivan, he is a creative guy, designer (likes to brag with the Squee UX), at the moment he is a proud user of CodeAcademy, earning his badges, learning how to program and having a time of his life, also
he is our blogger. Most of our gadget reviews are coming from him. He is a proven entrepreneur. Ivan has successfully founded and runs the best and most beautiful espresso&wine bar and coffee house
in the city, in his words Rubirosa (the name of the place, named after Porfirio Ariza Rubirosa) is the perfect connection of pleasure and taste. Ivan has initially came up with the idea and now he strongly
believes that he is more cool than Mr. Cool himself, Steve McQueen.

Kruno, where to start with Kruno, hmmm. Lets say he is a adventures type of guy at least. Every one of us knows a guy like him. Example, when the waves are so high, and no one else is on the sea he is the first one to come with the idea to untie his sailing boat, pushing us to come with him. We believe he was brain washed by watching Thomas Crown Affairs and Indiana Jones movies just too many times. Also, he is our rock star marketing guy and strategist. As well, he is constantly harassing indie manufacturers to work with us and he is fiercely explaining to them what we are all about. Not that we are counting but we are pretty sure that he achieved seven restraining orders issued against him so far, talking about persistence :)). Kruno is also a consultant with additional self entrepreneurial
experience trough his whole life.

Squee logo

Squee logo

We have two Ivans in our team, not to be confused; the first one isn’t so in love with himself to write twice about his life :). The second Ivan is insanely focused, doesn’t sleep during day nor night, we still believe that he is a robot, or has a twin brother that we aren’t familiar with :). He is the Christopher Columbo of our team, always knows where we are going and in which direction. He deals with everyday problems and issues. Also he is contacting web portals and blogs around the world to develop mutual endorsement and he is spreading the good word. When other people are watching reruns of Two and a Half Men he is working hard as a community manager pushing info and sourcing gadgets. Ivan is working for 3 years now as a strategy consultant with a high number of successfully
executed projects.

Marin, he is our in house developer. Marin is developing our code and he is crazy good at it. Hence, he developed several iOS apps and successfully launched them. Few of his apps have a fan base of over 10.000 users. He is passionate about what he is doing and we are having a blast with him. The most important thing is that we utterly understand each other, when talking about women and wine
obviously.

Goran: What is the most valuable thing you got during the Startup Camp Vis? Do you think camps like this should happen more often, and should perhaps the Croatian government fund such an event/camp? In general, what can you say about the Startup Camp Vis?

The most valuable thing we got during the #scvis was the mentorship and all the networking with super creative and smart people. We definitely believe that camps like it should happen way more often. First thing on our mind when we came back in Zagreb was the feeling of emptiness, I cannot describe in words how much we wanted to wake up again in our apartment on Vis and start with the pitching, hustling and fast mentoring. We missed the entire crew, all the creative startup teams that became our friends and all the mentors. It is not expected from our government to fund such events, #scvis is something they cannot grasp or think off, and that is a shame.

Goran: Were you satisfied with my performance as a mentor, and have the other mentors deliver what you expected of them? Did we lack some critical information to your startup, and what would that information be?

Honestly, we will be forever grateful for all your help and all of your information and time you gave us. Your mentoring was incredibly helpful for us, thanks again for believing in our team and our project.

Goran: At what stage is your startup, and what are you currently looking for? Is it funding, development guy, biz guy, mentor, or perhaps clients and partners?

At the moment our startup is in seed stage. What do we mean by that? We are in a prototype phase and pushing hard to launch our app on the App store. We are looking for a in house developer and
funding.

Goran: What do you see as your advantage compared to Silicon Valley startups, and what’s your next step in achieving that? What’s your and your team’s next step in general?

Silicon Valley is full of large companies and great startups that are hunting for talented young people, so that is maybe the advantage compared to SV, here in Croatia you have a lot of talented people.
Hence, you can more easily gather a good team in the beginning. One big difference is the funding. Silicon Valley is fool of angel investors and VC-s, so startups in Silicon Valley can more easily get funded. Our next step is to push our application to MVP (minimum viable product) and launch it until the end of the year. Also, we are hoping to get funded.

You can download Squee presentation here.

Goran Duskic

Goran Duskic co-founded a game development team Generation Stars when he was a teenager, and he co-founded hosting and web develpoment company GEM Studio (which was sold in 2011). He co-founded tech startup WhoAPI and has 10+ experience in business development, online marketing strategy and PR.

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