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Investors and VC funds are coming to Split during the Get in the Ring competition in search of innovative projects!

Split Tech City

Split Tech City


This global competition of a unique format is being held in Split for the second time, thanks to the cooperation of the City of Split and the Faculty of Economics of the University of Split. Get in the Ring will take place on October 29th at the Hrvatski Dom hall in Split.

We remind you that the applications for the competition are still ongoing and are open until October 17th.
This competition is an ideal opportunity for innovative startups to internationalize their business and gain visibility. The City of Split has also provided a prize fund of HRK 300,000 in grants for this occasion.

Competitors will go through the process of preparation and verification, and the winners will be decided by an international jury whose members either lead or represent investment companies and funds with hundreds of millions of euros ready to invest in promising startups.

During the competition, startup founders will need to demonstrate how much their startup is potentially worth.

These include the assessment of problem severity and innovativeness of the solution, team’s capabilities, market size, sustainability of the selected business model, and several other characteristics.

The jury will be tasked with the selection of the best and most promising candidates through two selection rounds. These startups will secure financial support. The best among them will also secure their ticket to the global final of the Get in the Ring competition scheduled to take place next year. The role of the jury is not only to assess the quality of the applicants but also to offer guidance and advice to the applicants through one-on-one interviews and direct them in their further work, regardless of the outcome of the competition.

Similar to its previous edition, this year’s jury of the Get in the Ring competition consists of, along with the representatives of the City of Split, other experienced and well-known individuals who manage the investment capital of several hundred million euros.

Startup teams in developmental phases focused on innovative projects and business entities founded no more than five years ago can apply for Get in the Ring 2021. In case of receiving a grant, teams still in development must open a business entity based in Split.

During the competition week, preparations for the competition, conducted by experts from the Silicon Castles and Get in the Ring Foundation, will be organized for all competitors.

All details about the published public tender – the beneficiaries of support funds, conditions and criteria for awarding support, the list of documentation to be submitted for applying – can be found on the website of the City of Split and at spi.efst.hr/GITR.

The expert jury consists of:

  • Andreas Spechtler – Silicon Castles (Austria)
  • Noortje van Heijst – Unknown Group (The Netherlands)
  • Vedran Blagus – South Central Ventures (Croatia)
  • Darja Ogorodnik – Startup Wise Guys (Estonia)
  • Jan Debets – Business Angels Europe (Belgium)
  • Andrea Čordaš – Hellen’s Rock (Austria)
  • Edward Platt – Kavedon Capital (United Kingdom)
  • Ivana Čuljak – Invento Capital Partners (Croatia)
  • Pawel Bochniarz – ValueTech Seed Fund & MIT Enterprise Forum CEE (Poland)
  • Antonio Kuzmanić – Deputy Mayor of the City of Split
Andreas Spechtler (Silicon Castles)

Founder and CEO of Silicon Castles, Salzburg’s strategic business accelerator for licensing intellectual property companies and supporting the internationalization of business development. He has over thirty years of experience in management and development positions in the technology sector, communications, and entertainment industries. Through Silicon Castles, he invests in innovative companies and helps them expand into the global market. Silicon Castles operates a global network with access in Europe (Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, Barcelona, London, etc.), the United States (Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Boston, New York, etc.), and Asia (Tokyo, Beijing, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Mumbai, etc.).

Noortje van Heijst (Unknown Group)

As an Investment Manager at Unknown Group, a venture capital fund based in The Hague, she is responsible for analyzing the profitability of investing in startups, managing and structuring investments in startups, portfolio management, and managing a team of business analysts. Unknown Group is a venture capital fund aimed at startups at an early stage of development that also helps innovators in business development.

Vedran Blagus (South Central Ventures)

Investment Manager at South Central Ventures (SCV), the leading venture capital fund in Southeast Europe. Works on finding, inspecting, and advising portfolio companies. He is a member of the Board of Directors of two SCV portfolio companies. His focus and specialties within management consulting are market strategy, expansion, and process optimization. With offices in Belgrade, Zagreb, and Skopje, South Central Ventures (SCV), through the Enterprise Innovation Fund (ENIF), is focused on innovative companies in the Balkans. This 43 million euro fund is intended primarily for early-stage and growth investments.

Darja Ogorodnik (Startup Wise Guys)

Startup scout manager in charge of pre-selection of innovative startups for business acceleration at Startup Wise Guys. Startup Wise Guys is a Scandinavian business accelerator focused on mentoring, business development, and investing in early-stage startups in the areas of B2B, IT, financial technology, cyber technology, and sustainability.

Jan Debets (Business Angels Europe)

As Operational Director of Business Angels Europe, he is responsible for planning, implementing, and managing investments in capital projects. Business Angels Europe brings together and represents more than 250 networks of business angels in Europe to foster networking and strengthen the European ecosystem.

Andrea Čordaš (Hellen’s Rock)

Partner and startup consultant at Hellen’s Rock, a venture capital investment management company. She has extensive experience in business development and management of key partnerships and has worked with investors, founders, and directors on initiating technology companies and on transforming the organizations themselves.

Edward Platt (Kavedon Capital)

Chief Operating Officer and member of the founding team of Kavedon Capital, a venture capital fund focused on startups in the field of sustainability and circular economy. He has over thirty years of experience in investment management and has gained expertise through various management positions throughout his career. In addition to investment management, he actively advises and assists startups in their development. Kavedon Capital was launched to financially encourage startups that create solutions in the areas of sustainability, waste management, circular economy, and climate resilience.

Ivana Čuljak (Invento Capital Partners)

She has more than ten years of experience in coaching and mentoring, start-up incubation, creating and implementing innovation support programs. As the manager of the Technology Park Zagreb, she led daily mentoring programs for more than 90 startups and was responsible for the development of the largest high-tech incubator in Zagreb. She has worked on the implementation of more than 100 innovation projects in the Croatian Agency for Small Business, Innovation and Investment (HAMAG – BICRO). She is now the Chief Operating Officer of Invento Capital Partners (INVENTO) – an innovation fund specializing in fostering innovation in the Western Balkans region.

Pawel Bochniarz (ValueTech Seed Fund & MIT Enterprise Forum CEE)

Director of the ValueTech Seed Fund, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage startups with a focus on innovative solutions in the energy and industrial manufacturing sectors. He is also the president of the MIT Enterprise Forum CEE, one of the largest acceleration programs in Central and Eastern Europe focused on deep tech startups. He was previously a director at PwC, a strategic advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland, and a co-founder of the Coalition for Polish Innovation.

Antonio Kuzmanić (Deputy Mayor of the City of Split)

Master of Economics with many years of successful experience in private entrepreneurship, guest lecturer at the Faculty of Economics in Split. He is currently the Deputy Mayor of the City of Split. He started his business career at Deloitte & Touche as a financial auditor. He continued his career at Splitska banka where he worked as an IS auditor for 11 years. He was the leader of several different projects, including the head of the bank-merging migration project, and the director of IT infrastructure. He is a former member of the Supervisory Board of Hajduk and now a member of the Hajduk Community as a representative of the City.


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