Foreign Investors Council
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Member News

Swinto Wins This Year’s Elevator Lab Challenge South-East Europe Project

Elevator Lab Challenge South-East Europe has been completed last night (Dec. 15) with a gala event where finalists presented their projects to a jury of experts and the audience and fought for the title of “Best Start-up in South-Eastern Europe” and a prize of EUR 10,000. The Swinto team was chosen as the winner of this fintech competition and will have the opportunity to present their work on the international Elevator Lab Demo Day in the spring of 2022, to meet the management of Raiffeisen Bank International Group and receive expert advice on business presentations and unique ways of presenting to business clients.

Tim Swinto, who is also the winner of the second semi-finals evening in the category Payments and Advanced Analytics Solutions, shared his impressions after winning in the finals:

“We enjoyed this experience, it gave us a wonderful opportunity to reveal our idea again and what it is we are offering. We have invested a lot of effort into making a presentation which fully represents our company.”

The jury of experts, consisting of Raiffeisen banka’s managers, rated the most innovative solutions in the financial technologies segment and semi-finals were held in the following categories:

The winner of the first semi-finals evening that took place on Dec. 1 was Easy Albania. Their solution was the best in the segment Innovative Banking Solutions for Retail, SME, and Corporate Clients. In the second semi-finals, Dec. 2, in the category Payments and Advanced Analytics Solutions, the best solution was offered by the Swinto team, as rated by the expert jury. The most innovative solution on the semi-finals evening on Dec 3, in the category ESG solutions, was created by TE Pema team. The teams who won in the semi-finals, as the best in their categories, won EUR 5,000 each, the possibility of developing their projects with some of the local banks, the opportunity to have their systems integrated into Raiffeisen banka and reach 2.6 million clients, as well as placement into the Elevator Lab 2021 finals.

Elevator Lab Challenge South-East Europe is a regional competition for start-ups, organized by the Raiffeisen Group, focused on supporting technology innovations that have a positive impact on the development of financial and banking systems. This year, via a live online event, the participating teams had a chance to present their fintech solutions to experts and the viewers could join the discussion and acquaint themselves with the segment of start-up solutions.

Detailed information regarding the competition, participants, jury and awards can be found at the following link: https://elevator-lab.com/challenges/regional-1/, while the entire gala event can be watched HERE.

Toyo Tire – New FIC Member

By BoD decision, Toyo Tire Serbia was accepted into membership. Toyo Tire Corporation was founded in Japan in 1945 and is a producer of tires for passenger vehicles, light trucks, trucks & buses, as well as automobile components. It operates worldwide, including the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, China, Thailand and Malaysia. It has more than 13,000 employees worldwide. The company was established In Serbia in 2019 and started construction of a plant in 2020, with the planned start of manufacturing in April 2022. The company plans to invest 390 million Euros and employ 523 persons by 2023. More info on their website.

TWO MILLION DINAR PRIZE FUND FOR DIGITAL PROJECTS

Aware of the challenges we are all facing due to the crisis caused by Covid-19, OTP Bank has launched the 4th Generator contest, with a total prize fund of RSD 2 million, aiming to support the digital projects that can help SMEs survive the crisis period and its aftermath.

BELGRADE – June 12, 2020 – Aware of what challenges small and medium-business in our country faced due to the crisis caused by Covid-19, OTP Bank started the 4th Generator contest, and this year the contest will bear the title Gamechanger. This year’s contest focuses on supporting digital projects – websites, apps and other digital platforms – that help and offer new possibilities to SMEs. For example, to better present their services and products and achieve additional visibility, or to secure new sales channels, to provide a space where satisfied clients can rate and recommend their products and services, exchange experiences and ideas, or to offer some other ways which will be of use to SMEs in successfully overcoming the consequences of the crisis.

Through this type of indirect support, the bank wants to contribute to overcoming the economic consequences of the pandemic and help a large number of small and medium-sized market players, by launching or improving digital platforms which can be of crucial assistance for their business to survive the crisis period and its aftermath.

The contest is open to all individuals, informal teams, entrepreneurs and companies who have a new idea that needs support to materialise or an already existing solution that needs improvement, and applications are open until July 1. The bank will award two RSD 1 million prizes in both categories – New Idea and Existing Solution.

Based on submitted applications, a jury will shortlist 10 semi-finalists, who will receive video material, as well as media promotion and promotion via bank’s channels, so as many people as possible can hear about their solution. Then, six finalists will be selected, who will compete for the main prize. During presentations, finalists will showcase their solutions, after which the jury will declare two winners, who will each win the RSD 1 million prize. Semi-finalists will receive special awards by partners of the contest – Vojvođanska banka and ICT Hub centre for technology entrepreneurship and innovation.

Criteria of the Generator Gamechanger contest, application and additional information can be found at the website www.generator.rs.

Together with its partners, OTP Bank continues to support the strengthening of innovation and domestic entrepreneurship.

About the Generator project:

In order to strengthen the competitiveness of Serbian entrepreneurship, the Generator project was carefully devised and then launched in 2017, gathering all initiatives and activities that foster innovative entrepreneurial endeavours under one umbrella. In the same year, Generator supported 40 entrepreneurial innovations through financial support, promotion and mentorship. The winner received RSD 1 million, and nearly 800 innovators submitted their ideas. The following year, 2018, the rewards went to best entrepreneurial innovations by students, and last year, Generator 2.0 was intended for digital transformation of SMEs. In late 2019, as part of the Generator, OTP Bank launched the Generator of Good Deeds initiative, which supports social entrepreneurship.

You can find more information at www.generator.rs.

#otpbankasrbija #generator2020 #podrška #SME #digitalizacija #inovacije

Živković Samardžić Advises APIS Assay Technologies Ltd on Serbian Aspects of Acquisition of BeoGenomics

Živković Samardžić has advised Manchester-based biotech firm APIS Assay Technologies Ltd, a company combining outstanding In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) experience with integrated AI to develop biomarker-based diagnostic assays, on Serbian aspects of its acquisition of BeoGenomics, a specialised software developer with major expertise in Bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence (BIOX).

BeoGenomics has been developing both on-prem and secure cloud-based data analysis solutions – helping customers design, build and run custom tailored genomics & proteomics pipelines. The start-up with amazing capability will be integrated into Manchester-based APIS, supporting the launch of a new BIOX Service Line as part of the company’s ongoing Biomarker Research and Development activities.

APIS develops new tests for the prediction, prevention, and diagnosis of disease from discovery to regulatory approval. The company’s business model is based on three pillars: biomarker diagnostics development, molecular diagnostic contract development, and applied bioinformatics.

Živković Samardžić’s scope of work consisted of performing due diligence of BeoGenomics, drafting and negotiating of transactional documentation, structuring the transaction, as well as all-encompassing legal advisory regarding post-closing activities for APIS Assay Technologies Ltd.

The Živković Samardžić team that has advised APIS Assay Technologies Ltd on this deal was led by Partner Igor Živkovski and included Partner Ana Popović, who advised on employment matters.

Živković Samardžić Advises Credo Ventures on Investment in Startup Trickest

Živković Samardžić has advised Credo Ventures on its investment in Trickest, a Belgrade-based startup building a workflow automation and orchestration tool for bug bounty hunters, penetration testers, and enterprise security teams. Trickest has raised a EUR 1.4 million seed round and the round is led by Credo Ventures, with participation from Earlybird Digital East Fund, with Daniel Dines and Marius Tirca, CEO and CTO of UiPath also participating as angel investors. Proceeds from the round will be used to accelerate hiring and support the company’s early access launch.

Credo Ventures is a venture capital company focused on early stage investments in Central and Eastern Europe. It is on a mission to identify and back the most interesting early stage companies in the region, support them in their growth plans (including expansion to the U.S. / global market), and help to achieve their objectives. Credo Ventures is looking for opportunities to invest in high-growth potential companies with international ambitions and competence to execute and deliver, while its industry focus is IT, Internet, and health.

Trickest’s co-founders combined their security and data backgrounds to start Trickest in late 2019. The company’s cloud-based workflow editor makes it easy to build and automate tests in a drag-and-drop way, and while the platform supports starting from scratch, Trickest makes the best crowdsourced knowledge available to everyone thanks to a library of 100+ open-source tools. Additionally, more advanced users can also drop in their custom scripts for maximum flexibility and control. The company also takes care of infrastructure management – workflows can be run in the cloud with one click and are designed to support features like auto-scaling and cost controls out of the box.

Živković Samardžić’s scope of work consisted of performing due diligence of Trickest, drafting and negotiating of transactional documentation, structuring the transaction, as well as all-encompassing legal advisory regarding post-closing activities for Credo Ventures. The Živković Samardžić team that has advised Credo Ventures on this deal was led by Partner Igor Živkovski and included Partners Slobodan Kremenjak, who advised on intellectual property matters and Ana Popović, who advised on employment matters.

Živković Samardžić Advises Joberty on Angel Investment for Entering Global Market

Živković Samardžić has advised Joberty, an online IT business platform that connects employers and candidates into a transparent ecosystem, on early-stage investment by angel investor, Kroog Ventures. With the investment of USD 350,000, this high-potential project has reached a value of as much as USD 3.3 million.

The initial capital will be used to expand Joberty platform in the region, the European market and beyond. Since its inception, the platform has numbered over 27,000 IT professionals and 600 companies, despite the many problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joberty is an online platform founded in August 2019, created as a startup. The purpose of the platform is to enable employees in IT companies to share their work experiences, candidates to find jobs in the IT industry, and IT companies to find relevant candidates for their jobs. With this approach, Joberty provides the wider community with the opportunity to gain additional insight into the work ethic and culture of IT companies, thus increasing the transparency of the rapidly evolving IT community. The goal of the platform is to expand throughout the region, but also throughout other continents, especially throughout the US markets.

Kroog Ventures is an investment platform focused on European technology startup projects. It was founded in early 2021 and is investing in the early stages of development. It consists of entrepreneurs, technology seniors and experienced businessmen. Kroog Ventures supports startups not only financially, but also with strategic and operational support, as well as the access to the international network and capital markets.

Živković Samardžić acted as legal adviser to Joberty on all aspects of the deal, including structuring the transaction, drafting and negotiating of transactional documentation, as well as assisting with the preparation and execution of the closing process. The Živković Samardžić team that has advised Joberty on this deal was led by Partner Igor Živkovski.

Živkovic Samardžić Advises on Eurobank Merger with Direktna Bank

Živković Samardžić, one of Serbia’s leading full-service independent law firms, has advised on the merger of Eurobank a.d. Beograd (“Eurobank Serbia”), a Serbian subsidiary of Eurobank S.A. (“Eurobank”), subsidiary of “Eurobank Ergasias Services and Holdings S.A.” (Eurobank Holdings), with Direktna Banka a.d. Kragujevac (“Direktna”), with absorption of Direktna by Eurobank Serbia (the “Transaction”).

The Eurobank Group is a dynamic banking group active in six countries, with total assets of €67.7 billion and 11,394 employees. Established in 1990, the Group expanded through organic growth to become a leading force in Greek banking sector. In Serbia, Eurobank (after two successful acquisitions – Poštanska banka and Nacionalna štedionica) is today among the leading foreign investors and financial institutions.

Direktna is a modern, domestic and universal bank, whose business strategy is focused on business with the population and the economy. It was created by the purchase of KBM Bank, then Findomestic BNP Paribas and Piraeus Bank a.d. Beograd, which formed a strong and stable financial institution.

The combined bank (“Eurobank Direktna”) will have total assets in excess of €2bn, total equity above €300m and, accounting for the expected fully-phased synergies, pre-provision income and net income in excess of €50m and €35m respectively.

The combined bank’s market share will exceed 6.5%, in terms of total loans, making the bank the seventh largest in Serbia.

After the completion of the Transaction, Eurobank will control c. 70% of the combined bank while Direktna’s shareholders will own the remaining 30%. Both parties have committed to a growth-oriented business plan, incorporating ambitious expansion targets that will allow the combined bank to finance the Serbian economy and grow profitably in the next few years. Part of the Transaction is the payment of a dividend/capital return to Eurobank. The Transaction is capital neutral for Eurobank and earnings per share (EPS) accretive by 3% post synergies.

Completion of the Transaction is subject to customary approvals by the competent regulatory and supervisory authorities and is expected to take place during the last quarter of 2021. The Živković Samardžić team provided legal assistance and advice both involved banks on the Transaction. This deal was led by Partners Branislav Živković, Uroš Đorđević, Igor Živkovski and Sava Pavlović.

Živković Samardžić Advises Serbian Bookers on Legal Aspects of its Evolving into a Global Brand OTA Sync

Živković Samardžić has advised Serbian Bookers, a Belgrade-based startup developing the first cloud software for hotels and private accommodation in Serbia, on legal aspects of its evolving into a global brand OTA Sync. The aim of this restructuring is to expand the opportunity for global expansion and access to investment opportunities.

Serbian Bookers is software company offering complete web & mobile solutions for hotels and private accommodation. With this evolving into a global brand OTA Sync (Online Travel Agencies Synchronization) it will continue to expand and develop globally, while its team will remain local. Currently, the system is used by users from 14 countries, and the team continues to work on new functions, modernization of the system and the success of its clients. The introduction of new functions will further facilitate the business of users and will help them to analyze their strategy in more detail and improve communication with guests.

OTA Sync is a full cloud-based hotel & property management system with integrated channel manager and booking engine system, ideal for any type of rentals. Its goal is to offer only the best quality software solution on the market. OTA Sync has already recorded great success in the tourism market, and in the coming period it is expected that the customer base of this service will be increased.

Živković Samardžić acted as legal adviser to Serbian Bookers on all aspects of the deal, including structuring the transaction, drafting of transactional documentation, as well as assisting with the implementation of the transaction. The Živković Samardžić team that has advised Serbian Bookers on this deal was led by Partner Igor Živkovski.

Živković Samardžić Advises Trigal on Its First Investment in Serbia

Živković Samardžić has advised Trigal on its investment in 5 urban lighting regeneration public-private partnership projects in Serbia. Projects are led by Resalta, the provider of energy services in the region, and include installation of new LED lights in 5 municipalities, which will bring significant savings. Lifetime of the projects is 13 years remaining.

This ESCO projects portfolio is the latest one in Trigal’s infrastructure portfolio and comes after implementation of this kind of projects in North Macedonia and Croatia. The term ESCO stands for energy service company and the model allows those companies to carry out energy services without the clients having to invest their own capital in the projects.

Trigal is a joint venture founded by KGAL Gmbh & CO. KG and Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d., combines investment, operational and asset management expertise providing tailored made solutions to a diverse client base; insurance companies, pension funds, family offices.

KGAL and Triglav insurance combine over EUR 23.2 billion of assets under management and joined forces to create Trigal, with a goal to become the leading real asset investment management platform for the Adriatic region.

Živković Samardžić acted as legal adviser to Trigal on all aspects of the deal, including the legal due diligence exercise, structuring the transaction, drafting and negotiating of transactional documentation, assisting with the preparation and execution of the closing process and all-encompassing legal advisory regarding post-closing activities.

The Živković Samardžić team that has advised Trigal on this deal was led by Partners Igor Živkovski and Sava Pavlović.