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Split Founders: Mateo Perak

Nikolina Kukoč

Nikolina Kukoč


Another #FoundersFriday, another #SplitFounder! Meet Mateo Perak, the co-founder of Profico.

In his own words, he is an entrepreneur and an IT manager with a special interest in leadership who is defined by family, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and his love of travel and Asian cuisine.

According to him, Profico is not just a company, but a team of professionals and digital enthusiasts who easily create high value in the market and have great fun doing it! 🙂

He cannot imagine himself doing anything else, so, in an alternate reality, he would still be doing something related to entrepreneurship or Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He says he never pondered other options because he has been doing exactly what he wanted to do since his high school days.

So, let’s find out what Mateo has to say about what he does, what Profico is about, and all the other interesting things you could hear from a long-term entrepreneur!

How do you measure your own success?

“By the number of strong people I built. For me today, this is the most relevant metric that affects just about all other KPIs.”

What does your usual workday look like?

“I spend it as much as I can with the people in the company, with my core and broader team – helping them solve growing challenges, removing “friction” from the system, and helping them grow and be able to help others. I see it as the key task of my role.

The second part is related to the market and clients where I deal with business development and customer relations. As a co-founder and board member, I am also in charge of strategy. My day consists of countless meetings, conversations, calls, e-mails, etc.

And very often business trips, conferences, expos, and other activities like that. That is fun, albeit due to its high level of dynamic, sometimes a bit tiring part of what I do.”

What do you do when you’re not working?

“The most important parts of my life today are family and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I spend the rest of my time like any other entrepreneur: improving myself and the company.

I don’t have set working hours, and when I’m “at work” I don’t feel like I’m working. I usually say that I have almost no work experience, although I have been “employed” in my profession for almost 24 years.

When you do what you love, then you do not have a job.”

What makes you unique?

“I will quote others: the breadth and range of my interests. They say I am a solid composition of seemingly incompatible parts. I like that description!” 😀

What inspires you?

“The broader impact of my work on society and the environment. I love when more people can profit from working together, and I love contributing to that. I like to build strong people and relationships in my environment and be the one who pushes things forward.”

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own company?

“Just do it! Especially if you’re young enough. Just try and, even if you fail – it doesn’t matter. You will succeed from the second, third, or fifth attempt – it doesn’t matter.

Find something where you can bring value and cover the needs of the market and never give up.

Giving up doesn’t make sense, so just keep trying!”

Why is now the best time for Profico to exist?

“Because the global digitization trend has never been stronger. And we all know that we are just beginning the development of the digital world.

Everything digital that develops needs to be maintained and improved in the long run. The demand for various digital industries will continue to be an ever-growing trend, even when certain tasks are taken over by AI or robots.”

What is the most interesting thing about Profico?

“The high level of involvement of all team members in the broader context of the work we do. Over time, people in all positions go very deep into the business goals and strategic determinants of our organization, as well as the business goals of our clients.

They get all the information they need to get a bigger picture of the problem they are solving, and they understand their own purpose and meaning within the team and the company.”

What do you love about your team?

“Everything! It’s a team we’ve built in our own image. I love an honest, open, and intimate relationship that is based on the trust we have created with people who have been with us for a long time and who we teach to build that same relationship with the newer team members.

I also like the fact that, for years, we have been tearing down and bypassing obstacles and solving difficult problems together through good communication. Especially important to me is the desire for constant personal development that is accepted as the main challenge in work, as in life.”

What are your expectations when it comes to the people you work with?

“That they love what they do and are committed to continuous personal development and team goals, as well as the goals and the progress of the entire organization. Everything else comes along the way, with experience and hard work.”

What kind of people would you avoid working with?

“Selfish and distrustful. They don’t fit well into our team. Neither do those who try to achieve their goals through machinations and games.”

What is the only thing you would change about Profico?

“Myself. 😀

But that’s what I do every day – I force myself to constantly grow and change so that the company can grow too.”

What are you the proudest of when it comes to Profico?

“First and foremost, on the team and the culture we built. We are simply building a place where we want to work. And we are also very proud of the first generations of leaders who grew out of the company.”

What makes Profico unique?

“Its combination of a specific and yet very open culture, the areas of expertise we deal with, and the methodologies we create. Altogether this makes us unique in the local ecosystem.

We don’t have a local “twin company”. The true “Profico people” recognize Profico as a team they want to come to work and develop further. Very rarely do we ping or hustle people to join us.”

What were the reasons behind the fact that Profico was founded right here in Split?

“We wanted to do something significant in a city where, at the time, we couldn’t find a job for ourselves in a profession we loved. This had the potential to force all of us into looking for opportunities elsewhere.

But we stayed in Split and created an opportunity to work for ourselves and dozens of others.”

As a city, what does Split do well and what can be improved?

“This changes along with the changes of the local government after each election over the years, but I see that the local tech scene is increasingly recognized and supported from time to time.

I expect a lot of progress in cooperation with the tech community in the future.

It is good that the need for digitalization is recognized, so numerous projects – from the digitalization of parking and traffic to smart city platforms, and some others – are underway.

When it comes to things that can be improved, the local government could collaborate even more with the local tech community in terms of consulting, promotion, and collaboration on various projects.

In addition to that, emphasizing greater cooperation between the University and the local community is one of the keys to the long-term development of a strategically educated future workforce.”

How important was the local tech community for you?

“It’s of utmost importance! When we were starting with Profico in Split back in 2012, we used to say there was – “nothing”. Of course, this is not entirely correct, but the fact that many of us had nowhere to find work in those days explains a lot.

That is why, along with developing Profico, we immediately started participating in building the local tech ecosystem in every possible way. We participated in the organization and attended many events – from conferences like SHIFT to various meetups like Mobile Monday, training opportunities, workshops, cooperation with the University, etc.

We supported initiatives, projects, and associations, and offered advice and suggestions. We took a very proactive approach in helping build the local community, and we are very proud of that.”

Where do you see Split in the future?

“When I put on my “rose-colored glasses”, I see it as a modern Mediterranean city that is no longer dependent only on tourism, but along with developed quality tourism, also has a strong tech community and some new industries for the future.

I also see Split as a city that provides opportunities for young people to stay and realize their professional and financial future with the benefits of the Mediterranean climate and way of life.

This will not be easy to achieve, and everyone will have to work hard. But it is possible!”

Photos by: Profico


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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