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How to move from Finland to Croatia with software and sauna in the suitcase?

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


Ilkka-Cristian Niemi

Ilkka-Cristian Niemi is a Finnish tech entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of Software Sauna, a software development company, who chose Croatia as a place to live and work. So, why “Software Sauna”?

“A sauna is a hot place, but at Software Sauna the heat is a synonym for teamwork, friendship, commitment, work-life balance, and zero hierarchy. We want to give everyone a chance to make an impact. Talented people should always be given responsibility and freedom.

Filming the Split Tech City podcast with Ilkka

During our podcast chat with him, we also talked about the reasons why he chose Croatia, the future of work, the lessons he learned while building Software Sauna, and advice he has for anyone attempting to do the same.

“I had been living in Poland for nine years. I fell in love with Croatia way back in 2013 when I first visited. During that time I have visited the country several times, not only the seaside but Zagreb, as well. There was an idea brewing about setting up a software development company, and after doing some market research, I knew Croatia would be the right place to move to and set up Software Sauna. From the start, I had a really good lawyer and accountant. I think that is fundamental in easing the process of starting your startup journey.”

Ilkka shares his story about life and work in Croatia with us

We also discussed the importance of community within a startup ecosystem and how helpful it was for him in setting up Software Sauna in Zagreb, as well as how helpful it will be now that they’re branching out to Split.

“Places where startups gather such as HUB385 in Zagreb or Split Tech City in Split are very important for young entrepreneurs. They were helpful on my startup journey, too.”

To find out everything else Ilkka shared with us over a cup of coffee, watch the podcast episode!


About author:

Nikolina Kukoč

Researching is woven into my DNA, but I am a musician at heart. Interested in too many things and always curious. Forever in love with Split and enchanted by people who teach me new things. When I am not creating content about Split's tech community, you will find me in singing rehearsals, somewhere in nature, in the theater, or with my head stuck in a book. I do my best to live by the verse from the opera "Fedora" by Umberto Giordano: "Love forbids you not to love."

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