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The 136th edition of the OpenCoffee Split meetup, held on November 25th at Smartspace, was the opportunity to hear first-hand the experiences and advice of Tomislav Grubišić, co-founder of the agencies Degordian and Bornfight.
The lecture entitled “How I became a venture builder” attracted many tech enthusiasts who enjoyed his business story.
“I started working with software and programming in 7th or 8th grade of elementary school and haven’t left the computer ever since!”
He started his first business ventures while still studying, and in 2009 he started his first company which he describes as “the company that made sense“.
It is known now as Degordian, whose name at the time was E-Studio, and which, in its very beginning, offered its clients the following services: setting up Facebook pages and writing Facebook statuses!
At that time, Tomislav explained, everything related to the use of social networks for business purposes was a “scary monster” that no one wanted to deal with.
They took advantage of the opportunity and started cooperating with media companies and other large clients. This has led them to the status of the largest domestic digital marketing agency, which currently employs around 130 people.
In addition to agency businesses, during the last 15 years, he also started successful tech companies such as Mediatoolkit. It was interesting to hear about all the changes in the market during the last 15 years or so from Tomislav’s entrepreneurial perspective.
Today, around 300 people are employed in companies whose development he participated in!
Tomislav also spoke about one of his more recent projects, one of which sparked a lot of debate in domestic tech circles.
We’re talking about the Tabu (Croatian word for “taboo“) platform. Used by 60% of people in the Croatian tech sector to enter their salaries every three months and thus gain an insight into the “delicate” issue of salary amounts in IT.
“Usually, company founders don’t like me because of that, but because of Tabu, we managed to increase people’s salaries by HRK 1 billion per year!”
When it comes to starting and developing any business, he pointed out that an excellent idea is by no means sufficient for success if it does not solve a real problem.
He also emphasized the importance of the different competencies of all the experts within a team.
Tomislav spoke very passionately about venture building or, in his own words, “the system that creates companies that are digital products”.
As he explained, a venture builder is a company that creates companies in the digital space. Outside of Croatian borders, we’ll often hear the term “startup studio” to describe such a company.
There are not many venture builder companies because they are much more complex than agency work, and they also need to have everything necessary to develop other digital businesses.
“The goal is to understand in as little time and with as little money as possible that something doesn’t make sense or – in case it does make sense – to achieve global success and exit in as little time and with as little money as possible.”
After Tomislav’s lecture, there was a flurry of questions from the audience. When they were answered, everyone got to enjoy a relaxed networking atmosphere at Smartspace.
Therefore, another OpenCoffee Split meetup was a success and makes us eagerly await the next one!
Photos: Julio Juraga