Zagreb Connect: The City of Zagreb awarded EUR 70,000 to the best Startup Factory teams


The seventh Zagreb Connect startup conference was held in Zagreb’s innovation centre ZICER. The program took place live, while the viewers watched it virtually.

Through Zagreb Connect, the challenges of technology transfer and how science has become an indispensable part of startup culture were discussed. They also talked about the great successes of Croatian startups in these uncertain times. In the first panel, dr. sc. David Matthew Smith, director of the Ruđer Bošković Institute, Petra Karanikić, Head of the Office for Technology Transfer at the University of Rijeka, prof. dr. sc. Miljenko Šimpraga, Vice-Rector for Innovation, Technology Transfer and Communications, University of Zagreb and dr. sc. Damjan Miklić, co-founder and director, RoMb Technologies shared their experiences on technology transfer.

Startup Factory is the first publicly funded pre-acceleration program launched five years ago by the City of Zagreb and ZICER innovation centre in order to help young teams and startups to develop their ideas and launch them on the market. So far, 75 teams have successfully completed the program, and the best have been awarded with more than 3.5 million Kunas for development. 18 teams participated in the fifth generation of Startup Factory. They have been working intensively on the development of their technological products for the past 8 weeks. For this, ZICER provided them with support through a dense schedule of excellent lectures and mentoring of top domestic and foreign experts. For five best teams of the fifth Startup Factory generation, a grant of HRK 550,000 (approximately EUR70,000) was provided, which was distributed in such a way that four teams won HRK 100,000 each, and the overall winner HRK 150,000.


The best on Zagreb Connect was the team of Oil Gels – a team of scientists from the Ruđer Bošković Institute who developed liquid oil gelators. They are thus revolutionizing the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries.

Nataša Šijaković Vujičić, the leader of the winning team, said during the acceptance ceremony: “I would like to thank ZICER for this comprehensive education in which we have participated for the past eight weeks. I think we can all be happy because we are fully educated to enter entrepreneurial waters”.

Frane Šesnić, director of ZICER, pointed out live: “In these extremely difficult circumstances, we managed to organize this finale. I would like to thank everyone who participated in this program and all those who contributed their knowledge in the implementation of the Startup Factory program. I want to tell everyone who has not received the funds now, and who expected it, not to give up. Don’t be discouraged! All of these ideas have great potential. I am sure that the knowledge from Startup Factory will be useful to you. Today we have seen the tremendous progress you have made through the program. You all have a great future ahead of you. Good luck!”

Nera Pavić, an envoy of the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, said when handing over the checks: “Congratulations everyone! We are sure that this 550,000 Kunas went to the right hands. I want to tell all the teams that did not win this time, not to give up and to continue working and developing. We are still here for you”.

Besides Oil Gels, other winners are: Iron Bull Tanks, a startup for the development of remote-controlled replicas of legendary tanks in world history, with the operational capabilities of real tanks, for the purpose of staging tank battles.
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