The Serbian Startup Scene: Our Pick of 5
The Belgrade-based social gaming startup Nordeus has caused quite a stir since its founding in 2010. Its real-time multiplayer football-management game for Facebook “Top Eleven” currently counts more than 5 million Monthly Active Users (MAU) and 2 million daily users on Web, Android and iOS devices. With these stats making it the most played online sports game in the world, it is beating serious competition from the likes of EA’s FIFA Superstars and other challengers. Spurred by the slogan “Unified Gaming Experience”, the self-funded Nordeus team prides itself with successfully blending different platforms to enable interaction between players. The founders Branko Milutinović, Ivan Stojisavljević and Milan Jovović – previously of the Microsoft Development Center in Copenhagen – have led the game-development company on a rollercoaster ride of international success in its short history. To date, Nordeus has been voted Best Gaming Start-Up in 2011 at the Europas Awards and also got the People’s Choice Award for Best Startup at the 2012 London Web Summit. As if that weren’t enough, Nordeus started hosting its own annual gaming hackathon in 2011, and in 2012 was voted Best Employer in Serbia and the region. To all gaming aficionados: they’re currently hiring.
For all who have yet to discover the city that some call the Berlin of the East – how about a free interactive smartphone app, no roaming costs, preloaded offline maps and audio guides? In short, a means to “change the way you explore Belgrade”. Launched in 2012 by Nikola Tomović and Uroš Stojković, Belgrade Genie was already named Top Member App by the Austria Telekom Group for the month of June earlier this year. Offering a diverse range of content and more than 500 POIs, the app tells you what’s hot and what’s not (and, perhaps more importantly, what’s open and what’s closed) in the Serbian capital’s fast-changing culinary, events, and nightlife scenes. But what really sets this app apart are the audio tours – effectively allowing you to enjoy sightseeing for free. Thefun “Shake-to-Start” feature allows users to listen to one of the 11 currently available audio stories covering important Belgrade sites which form part of walking tours. Belgrade Genie is presently available for Android, and should soon appear on the Apple App store for iPhone users.
Previously known as Bestappz, Appidemia is a new social platform for app discovery launched in 2012 by Igor Šalindrija. It helps users navigate today’s increasingly saturated smartphone app market – it is a jungle out there. Exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this year in San Francisco, Appidemia was one of 100 selected startups to showcase at the prestigious conference’s Startup Alley. Yet, to go live, this self-termed “social planet” startup will create a space where like-minded app enthusiasts can “explore, discover, share & talk about great apps” – and generally combat the app epidemic.
Hold your horses, this may seem a somewhat unusual pick. One of 20 select teams at Seedcamp Budapest in October 2012 and a finalist in the regional WebFest.me Start-Up Competition, VetCloud is a unique new platform set on “introducing the cloud to the animal health care industry”. Currently in private beta with early adopters, the Niš-based startup is targeting veterinary professionals in Serbia and the USA – and, when it comes to the latter, tapping into huge market potential. Recognising that “pet-parents” are increasingly demanding when it comes to securing first-rate care for their pets, VetCloud founders Ivan Vesić, Mirza Sejdinović, and Milan Đorđević recognise a demand in providing vets with a complete online medical history of their patients. The services to be offered will range from mobile notifications and analytics to smart inventory and lab reports. An open beta launch is planned for December 2012.
Founded in Novi Sad in 2012 and a participant in this year’s Seedcamp Zagreb, this young startup aims at disrupting the saturated online events management space. Relying on a unique combo of WordPress themes, a WordPress plug-in and an iPhone app, Tickera offers a streamlined events promotion and ticket-sale service. A finalist at the Webit Congress 2012 StartUp Challenge, Tickera seeks to differentiate itself from competitor giants like Amiando and Eventbrite by not charging commission on individual ticket sales, instead allowing users to choose from two one-off payment options; either 149 US dollars for a single domain license, or 249 for unlimited use. Co-founder Siniša Komlenić says that Tickera not only offers users a significant savings potential this way, but also leaves them full control of the sale and ticket issuance process. Reflecting on what it means to be active in the startup scene of a country still in transition, Siniša thinks there is some way to go before the right infrastructure is in place to allow the ecosystem to truly flourish; but as far as the local talent pool goes, the potential is immense.