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women in vc and startup ecosystem in cee by vestbee
24 August 2022·14 min read

Katarzyna Groszkowska

Editor, Vestbee

Top Women From VC and Startup Ecosystem In Croatia

We continue exploring the CEE VC and startup ecosystem, looking for the most inspiring and influential female market players across the region. As we have already discovered key figures from Slovenia, Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary it’s time to stop by Croatia!

So, without further ado let’s meet the Top 25  Women from the Croatian VC and Startup Ecosystem!

Renata Brkic

Managing Partner, Feelsgood Capital

Renata Brkić is a serial entrepreneur with a broad business experience under her belt. She has worked as a Project Officer Emergency Programmes for UNICEF, co-founded Professor Balthazar, a social impact enterprise based on the unique socially responsible cartoon character, and is also a qualified angel investor and Project Partner at BAIF - a Croatian Business Angels Impact Fund. Moreover, she is passionate about impact investing and strongly devoted to fostering innovative solutions with social impact - Renata currently holds a Managing Partner position at Feelsgood Capital, a Social Impact Investment Fund, that she also co-founded. She also won a TBAA award for the best social impact investment in South East Europe. 

Tereza Kulic, Co-founder & CFO
Vivian Lukšić, Co-founder & COO

GetByBus 

Tereza Kulic is a co-founder and CFO of GetByBus and Vivian Lukšić is its another co-founder and COO. GetByBus is a Croatian-based company and a strong market player in the Croatian tech and travel startup ecosystem. It is a bus ticket booking platform and meta-search engine for bus tickets, that operates in more than 40 European countries and is one of the most advanced cloud-based platforms for the coach industry. 

Dragana Lipovac

Founder, HUBBIG

Dragana Lipovac has a vast business experience in industries such as exporting, logistics or supply chain management. She was a Sales Manager in Croatia for a warehousing, logistics & supply chain company CWT Globelink and she is a 2021 Fellow at the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative - the U.S. Department of State's flagship program for emerging entrepreneurs from Europe. In 2017 she founded HUBBIG, a logistics company for cargo transporters, and she currently operates as its CEO. Dragana’s business venture won many awards, including the Best Newcomer award at Central European Startup Awards. She seeks to transform the logistics industry in South-East Europe and recognizes how crucial of a role it plays in making transportation more eco-friendly and sustainable. 

Lili Rodić

CEO, Ador

Lili Rodić has been present on the Croatian web business scene for many years and has actively contributed to its development by organizing the first Girl Geek Dinner in Croatia, promoting the IT industry through Fight Club events, and co-founding WECroatia - an association of Croatian Women Entrepreneurs. In 1996 she founded Ador, a first Croatian web solution company, and she currently operates as its CEO as well as a consultant at EBRD. 

Ivana Matic

Founder, Women in Adria

Ivana Matic has a big business background - she started off her career in PWC, IB Grant Thornton and Deloitte and later moved on to starting her own business - Women in Adria. It's a media brand, a website, a network, and a community that enriches the lives of women in the Adria region. She actively contributes to the promotion of entrepreneurship in the region by connecting business women through online platforms, networking, offering mentoring, strategic partnerships, and other initiatives. 

Ivana Zuber

Co-Founder & CEO, Zoyya

Ivana Zuber has 15 years of experience as an engineer, manager, and executive. She started her career by working as Software Developer & Scrum Master at Rathmann and later moved towards marketing, product management and developer work. She was an Executive Director at Counterparty Foundation and she founded and headed the Engineering at B2B SaaS application - Tiimis. Having sold this company, she moved on to lead Engineering in Buffer, where she spent 4 years and helped scale the company to 22 million ARR. In 2021 she co-founded another company -  Zoyya - the online service marketplace for service providers with an appointment-based business model. Currently, she is not only a CEO at Zoyya but also a VP of Engineering at Medal.tv - the world's largest game clipping platform. 

Carla Ferreri

CEO, TheGepek

Carla Ferreri is the CEO and a Co-founder of TheGepek, a carpooling service for packages,  with 15 years of experience in managing regional and international teams with a focus on business growth and innovations. TheGepek is a startup that taps into the sharing economy to ensure same-day deliveries. It has an established presence in Croatia and is expanding into other European markets. 

Tihana Petricevic

Co-founder & CEO, Silver technologies

Tihana Petricevic has a broad experience in the business and healthcare industry. She founded an early-stage healthcare startup Studio Rebus, developing connected technologies to address the effects of stress on brain health and performance. What’s more, in 2019 she co-founded yet another business venture from the health industry - Silver technologies, where she currently holds a CEO position. It was selected as one of the top 8 healthcare startups in the Health Venture Lab Acceleration program run by GE Healthcare in 2019.  Silver technologies develops easy-to-use consumer technology products and services designed to improve the lives of seniors such as the Silver monitor smartwatch, a biometric mobile data, and voice communications device, that works in combination with the Silver monitor web application and allows remote monitoring of a wide scope of data (HR, blood pressure, SPO2, activity, geo-location, fall detection) in real-time. 

Dragana Gucanin

Business Coach and Mentor 

Dragana Gucanin is a business leader with more than 10 years of experience. She co-founded and held a CEO position of CODECACAO, building web projects. Later she moved on to found and manage operations of yet another company in the gaming industry -  CR4ZY. In 2019 she became the CEO of Recolor, a coloring app for adults. Nowadays, she uses her expertise and industry knowledge to coach and train others as a Gallup Strengths Coach and a Mentor at the BIRD incubator. 

Ana Bognar & Sonja Žigić

Fil Rouge Capital

Fil Rouge Capital is a VC fund that invests in entrepreneurs, startups, and scale-up companies as well as runs an Acceleration program. Its mission is to develop the Croatian entrepreneurial ecosystem. Sonja Žigić is an Accelerator Program & Marketing Director at Fil Rouge Capital, with a previous experience as a social media manager, and Ana Bognar is an Operations Director at the Fund. 

 Mirna Marović

Managing Director, VentureXchange

Mirna Marovic has more than 25 years of experience in the finance industry and has gained expertise in the areas of direct investment incentives for Croatia and South-East Europe (SEE), sustainability leadership, corporate responsibility, climate change, and strategy for environmental, social and governance (ESG) engagement. In her career, she has combined high-profile consultancy work with academia - lecturing students at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management. She founded VentureXchange and currently holds a position of Managing Director at this boutique consulting firm, specializing in producing Bespoke Research for clients as well as Project Consultancy and Investors’ Support.  

Marija Boskovic Batarelo

Founder & CEO, Parser compliance

Marija Boskovic Batarelo has a background in Law and Technology and her field of expertise is the interaction between these two fields  - she has experience finding compliance solutions to face legal challenges of employing emerging technologies. She is a GDPR mentor in the Zagreb-based BIRD incubator and a Vice President of the Croatian Compliance Association, which promotes compliance, resolves issues of common interest to the profession, and gathers experts in ethics and compliance. In 2019 she founded and became the CEO of Parser Compliance, a company that helps others to understand the business and tech side of compliance and to simplify its complex digital context. 

Lucija Iličić

Founder & CEO, Plate Play

Lucija Iličić is an organizational psychologist and business development-oriented professional with more than 5 years of experience in end-to-end online sales activities. After working in psychology, she decided to focus on SaaS sales and business development activities in IT, helping teams all over the world to analyze and develop their business ideas. In 2020, she founded and became a CEO of an innovative fintech startup Plate Pay - an online payment platform allowing for automatic payments for any drive-in and drive-through services. 

Sanja Buterin

Marketing Director, Gideon

Sanja Buterin is a marketing strategy professional with many years of experience in the industry. Throughout her career, she worked in marketing management in different industries in B2C and B2B companies - such as FMCG, tourism, automotive, finance, telecommunications, robotics, and SaaS/IT. She is currently working as a Marketing Director in Zagreb-based startup Gideon, which develops an AI-powered robot for various industrial applications. 

Matija Nakic 

Founder & CEO, Farseer

Matija Nakic is a manager in the software business with more than 10 years of experience in the IT industry. In her career, she assumed positions such as Head of Sales Operations in HT Eronet, Technical Consulting Manager at Infocumulus, and Vice President of Products for Zagreb-based Five. The accumulated business experience led her to eventually create her own company as she co-founded and became the CEO of Farseer - growing financial planning and analysis SaaS for global small and medium enterprises. 

Katarina Guja

Co-founder & CEO at Printee

After mastering Analysis and planning at FEB Zagreb and founding a student organization, Katarina worked at P&G for a year. Later she moved on to LEAP Summit, the largest conference created for young professionals and students in South East Europe. She co-founded Croatian startup Printee, online marketplace that bridges buyers and sellers, print companies, and delivery companies, and after that, she assumed the role of the Head Of Finance at HUKI, a project-based organization dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship and specializing in creative and innovative education for overcoming real-world challenges.

Tea Vrcic

Founder & CEO, Roster

Tea Vrcic is an accomplished player on the Croatian business scene, with 6 years of experience working in the software industry and a passion for startups. Before starting her own company, she hones her business development skills by working in different positions for software companies in the Spanish and Chilean markets. In 2019, she founded a well-known Croatian startup - Roster, which is an expense management software that helps SMEs save money and time with faster expense management. On top of that, in 2022 she also assumed the role of CCO of the neuromarketing startup Decoditive. It is an AI-powered neuromarketing analysis tool that allows its customers to test their services and products with real users and provide crucial feedback based on the testers' attention and their displayed emotions via facial coding and gaze tracking.

Daria Nemchonok

CEO & Co-founder, LeverUP

Daria Nemchonok is a Salesforce Marketing Cloud Solution Architect and CRM and marketing automation expert. She started off her career as a Project manager and quickly transitioned to salesforce ventures, becoming a cloud consultant, developer, and architect. In 2016 she co-founded and became the CEO of LeverUP - a Zagreb-based Salesforce Consulting Partner company. 

Katarina Miličević

CEO & Co-founder, think tourism

Katarina Miličević has been gathering her expertise in consulting and the touristic sector. She was an Expert Associate at the Croatian Institute for Tourism, a President at the Croatian Youth Hostel Association and a Senior Lecturer at the Zagreb School of Economics and Management. She is still working towards the development of the touristic industry, as an Assistant Professor for the European Master in Tourism Management and Head of Tourism Department at Edward Bernays University College in Zagreb. She is also a CEO and a co-founder of thinktourism - a startup dedicated to providing expert insights and solutions for more efficient decision-making in tourism.

Ana Pavicic

Founder & CEO, Frank Accelerator Ventures

Ana Pavicic is yet another Croatian female entrepreneur with an impressive resume. In her diversified career, she was, amongst other positions, a lecturer at the University of Zagreb and an Assistant Minister for Energy Efficiency at the Ministry of Construction and Physical Planning. In 2015, she co-founded her first company - Supracontrol - access control and operating conditions monitoring system for IT equipment enclosures and data centers. In 2015 she also co-founded and became the CEO of Frank Ventures - a business development consultancy firm. Moreover, she is a founder of entrepreneurial accelerator and Acceleration Boot Camps in Croatia and for many years she has been involved with European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency. She held many positions within EISMEA, the most recent one being an Expert Evaluator for EIC Accelerator - Horizon Europe. 

Hajdi Cenan

Co-founder and CEO, airt

Hajdi Cenan is an experienced and active Croatian entrepreneur with a passion for new technologies and innovative solutions. In the past, she has co-founded three companies - vHealth Lab, ZASTI and PWN Zagreb, where she currently holds the position of a Programming & Communication VP. She is a vice-president of the Croatian AI Association and in 2022 she became the president of CRO STARTUP, the Croatian startup ecosystem association that aims to develop and improve conditions for Croatian startups. What’s more, in 2019 she co-founded and became the CEO of yet another company - airt, which is a deep tech startup developing a deep learning platform to help companies predict their end customers’ behavior.

Irena Jerković

Co-founder, Improv3 

Irena Jerkovic is a name connected with two well-known, innovative Croatian startups - Improv3 and TalentLyft. She is a co-founder of Improv3 - a company that helps to improve management style, taking into consideration both goals of managers and the needs of employees, providing real-time employee surveys, feedback and more. Currently, she holds the position of Chief Product Officer at TalentLyft - an all-in-one Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and Recruitment Marketing platform that helps companies find, attract, select and hire the best talent.

Martina Lucic Canak

Co-founder, Equinox Vision

Martina Lucic Canak is an active woman in the Croatian business scene and an expert on travel and tourism businesses, as well as education, communication, and IT. She started off her career as a travel consultant and a managing director of a company in the touristic sector and then moved on to starting her own business venture - Magic4Club - a travel PR & travel branding agency, where she develops and nurtures travel and tourism brands as a CEO. In 2020 she was a part of the founding team of Equinox Vision, where she currently holds the position of Business Development Manager. This Zagreb-based startup is a platform for social-network-style publishing of augmented reality interactive virtual content on blockchain technology. She is also an ambassador at The Transformational Travel Council of Croatia. 

Silvija Renusa

Co-founder, B.GUARD

Silvija Renusa is a co-founder of Bulgaria-based startup B.GUARD, which develops a smart bicycle anti-theft system that combines high technology with resistance to theft attacks. Before that she was a Software developer at Zagreb’s APIS IT and currently she is working as a Senior Product Partnership Manager at Infobip, a global communications platform for businesses and developers
 

Related Posts: 

Top 25 Women From VC and Startup Ecosystem In Slovenia (by Aleksandra Wirth, Vestbee)

Top 25 Women From VC and Startup Ecosystem In Bulgaria (by Aleksandra Wirth, Vestbee)

Top Women From VC and Startup Ecosystem In Hungary (by Aleksandra Wirth, Vestbee)
 

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