WHAT IS CRONNECT.ME?
Cronnect.me is a membership-based online platform which matches interested investors from the Croatian Diaspora with innovative start-up projects in Croatia. The platform helps Croatian entrepreneurs network with potential investors and receive from them equity-based investments, mentorship, contacts, and/or valuable insight into target industries and markets. In order to enhance such processes, the Cronnect.me team will provide the potential investors with structured information on the best Croatian start-up projects, as well as business, administrative, and legal guidance on the best practices and investment opportunities. The entrepreneurial projects listed in the platform are those that clearly exhibit technological innovation and a potential for global growth and scalability.
Cronnect.me serves as a non-partisan, non-political, but nevertheless informed and well-intentioned intermediary. Our aim is to help both parties reach agreements and implement investment deals as easily as possible. We track progress and overlook the processes, guaranteeing data privacy and discretion. Apart from expert advice and guidance, we do not interfere in either side’s business decisions. In the world of increasingly complex information and confusing market trends, our job is to make the aforementioned business exchanges as easy as possible and mutually beneficial.
We believe that the willing, responsible, and financially capable members of the Croatian Diaspora can become business angel investors. Besides getting a unique opportunity to generate profit for themselves, the engagement of our investors would simultaneously stimulate the Croatian technology, innovation, and entrepreneurial scene.
Since 1991, Croatia has been experiencing massive brain-drain. Between 200.000 and 400.000 young and educated people left Croatia, most of whom do not plan to return. Since the end of the Homeland War (1991-1995), Croatia has continued to struggle economically. Moreover, we have witnessed an increase in political corruption, unsustainable bureaucracy, and administrative instability. Many young people are deciding to search for their luck abroad, where their work, skills, and efforts would be more appreciated and valued, and where they could raise their families without having to face existential threats. If our brightest minds continue to leave, Croatia will have no future.
The Croatian Diaspora is one of the main actors we have to thank for the fact that Croatia, despite the abovementioned issues, still manages to stay intact. In fact, if we take into account remittances alone, the Croatian Diaspora is among the top 10 most generous communities in the world. In the last quarter century, the Diaspora has channeled more than $30 000 000 000 (thirty billion USD) of various types of investments to Croatia – averaging $1,1 billion annually! For the sake of comparison, foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2014 equaled only around $500 million. Hence, it would be no exaggeration to say that the restless involvement of the Croatian Diaspora is one of the main reasons Croatia even exists in its present form. However, instead of gratitude and respect, and instead of having a stable homeland to which they are encouraged to return, the Diaspora is often ridiculed in the media, while the bad policies of different Croatian administrations continue putting Croatia’s economy to its knees. It seems as if the state itself wishes to keep the status quo at the expense of the Croatian people, Croatia’s sovereignty, and Croatia’s future.
The very last Croatian resource is the diminishing number of its young, educated, and entrepreneurial people, many of whom, surprisingly, remain determined to stay in Croatia and add value to its struggling economy. Furthermore, despite countless bureaucratic obstacles, Croatia still happens to be home of a number of innovative start-ups with a global perspective. In terms of their know-how, innovation, and creativity, these young Croatians can compete with their counterparts from much more developed countries. However, unlike their colleagues in flourishing industries, the Croatian start-up entrepreneurs do not have nearly as much access to funding and support in their work. Yet, some of them have managed what seemed to be mission impossible. Let us only imagine what many of them would have achieved had they been as stimulated and encouraged as their colleagues in other countries.
So far, the Croatian Diaspora either heavily donated various social or political initiatives, or attempted to invest into larger infrastructure projects. Unfortunately, their money often ended up in wrong pockets. Even though the Croatian Diaspora has had the most honest and best intentions, they have rightfully lost trust in domestic projects.
We believe it is time to take a radically different approach to helping young Croatians stay in Croatia, while enabling the Croatian digital industry to grow and create value on the global markets. We do not believe in donations. We believe in smart, informed, relatively small, and strategic investments into Croatian innovative start-ups. This would enable them to achieve global scale, while simultaneously generating a great deal of profit for the investors. This approach was championed by Israel, making it the world’s most prosperous start-up and technology nation, despite their unstable and violent environment. If Israel could do it despite hostile conditions, what is our excuse?
Let us build Cronnect.me together. Let us celebrate innovation, global perspective, vision, and doing business by investing into Croatia’s most promising entrepreneurial start-up projects. We believe this is the best way to strategically contribute to turning the Croatian lethal brain drain into sustainable brain gain.