responsible for implementing the communication and dissemination activities in SMART4FUTURE – conducted a series of interviews with the project partners.

Introducing Infobip: a global cloud communications platform that enables businesses to build connected experiences across all stages of the customer journey. Accessed through a single platform, Infobip’s omnichannel engagement, identity, user authentication and contact center solutions help businesses and partners overcome the complexity of consumer communications to grow business and increase loyalty. With more than 15 years of industry experience, Infobip has expanded to 75+ offices globally. It offers natively built technology with the capacity to reach over seven billion mobile devices and ‘things’ in 6 continents connected to over 9,700+ connections of which 800+ are direct operator connections. Infobip was established in 2006 and is led by its co-founders, CEO Silvio Kutic, Roberto Kutic and Izabel Jelenic.In May 2021, Infobip launched Infobip Startup Tribe – a start-up perk program which is creating a start-up community that will have a major positive impact on people and society in general. Infobip is Croatia’s first (bootstrapped) unicorn.

Hello Nikola Pavešić and Lucija Reić! Thank you for this opportunity to meet you and talk about SMART4FUTURE. To kick-off, could you give us, in your own words, a short introduction to Infobip, and your role there?

Infobip is a global leader in omnichannel communication. Originating in Croatia, with headquarters in Vodnjan and London, Infobip is on a mission to simplify how brands connect with, engage, and delight their customers at global scale and is trusted by the most disruptive companies on the planet such as Unilever, Uber, Vodafone etc. Lucija and I are part of the Infobip Startup Tribe team – a startup perks program launched in May 2021 within which we offer our members various tools that could help them grow, expand, and succeed.

To someone reading this who is still not familiar with SMART4FUTURE, how would you describe it in simple terms, and how do you distinguish it from other projects or initiatives?

In simple terms – SMART4FUTURE aims to support higher education institutions to strengthen their innovation and entrepreneurial capacity and to engage with the innovation ecosystems. One of the ways in which this will be achieved includes establishing student incubators at the partner HEIs, connecting innovators (startups) with relevant organisations. What distinguishes this project from the other ones where Infobip is one of the project partners is that it covers all the three main pillars of startup support: entrepreneurial education, developing innovative projects as well as business creation and acceleration.

In May 2021, INFOBIP launched Infobip Startup Tribe – a startup perk program aiming to create a startup community that will have a major positive impact on people and society in general. How this impact can be boosted through SMART4FUTURE?

So currently, the Startup Tribe program offers credits to startups, connects them to our VC, incubator, and accelerator partners (over 100 and counting), has a network of both external and internal mentors, offers discounts with our Tribe partner companies and offers free Infobip Shift conference tickets. Within the project, we will also be organising several workshops related to the startup ecosystem, product development and sustainability and social responsibility.  At the moment, we are also developing our own platform, which will even further encourage the cooperation between startups in the program and this project, partners, advisors, making the transferability and sustainability of project results smoother and more accessible.

Infobip Startup Tribe has over 50 partners in the start-up community – including venture capital funds, business incubators and business accelerators. Which kind of support can be expected from SMART4FUTURE partner HEIs from you?

We currently have over 100 partners globally, including incubators, accelerators, and VC’s – by establishing a partnership between Infobip (especially Infobip Startup Tribe) and the project partners (higher education institutions) the support given to the startups included in the project and the HEIs themselves will continue even after the funding period. Generally, we give more credits to the startups that come to the program through our partners, and if the startups are looking into more funding or an accelerator program, we connect them directly to our partners.

What are you personally most enthusiastic about achieving during SMART4FUTURE?

As a department that focuses on startups, we obviously love working with them and are very enthusiastic about being in direct contact with new, innovative ideas, approaches, and ways of thinking. Both with our startup program and this project, we hope to continue supporting the development of an entrepreneurial and technological ecosystem and to influence the startups’ development in a positive way by enabling them to focus more on their product.

How do you see the project legacy regarding achievements and partners’ collaboration in SMART4FUTURE, at Institutional, National and European levels?

The project will certainly bring achievements on each of these levels. First, through project activities, particularly the training and mentoring of students, academic and non-academic staff, it impacts the development of entrepreneurial and technology-based skills in the regions where the HEIs are located. Second, by building new partnerships within the knowledge triangle, it creates opportunities for the development of startups and cooperation at the national level. Finally, thanks to the participation of partners from all over Europe and the open access to the co-created programmes, the project offers development opportunities to all interested individuals, the chance to collaborate with the best European stakeholders and the opportunity to share best practices in fostering entrepreneurship among students from European HEIs.

No doubt there will be some readers that are keen to meet you and talk about this project and your experience. Which events will be possible to meet INFOBIP in the upcoming months?

In the upcoming months, The Startup Tribe team will be joining Web Summit Lisbon, on the 13 – 16 November and, of course, Slush, Helsinki, from Nov 30 – Dec 1. If you’re close, come and say “Hi”.

Nikola Pavešić, Director of Startup Ecosystem

Lucija Reić, Startup Partnerships Specialist

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