South Central Ventures invest €1 million in Croatian IoT startup Sentinel

Photo credit: Netokracija.com

Following their investment in Agrivi and Bulb, South Central Ventures (SCV) announces their third venture on the Croatian market – this time in the IoT company Sentinel Marine Solutions. The company that is trying to connect boats is getting one million euros to further develop their services and to expand to other markets. The investment is a joint venture between the South Central Venture and the private Croatian investor Matej Tomazin.

Founded in 2014 Sentinel provides a quick and easy overview of the boat’s position and vital onboard systems for private boats and charter fleets, something that is lacking in the boat industry. According to the SCV press release, the market for “connected boats” is a trending topic as currently there are more that 30 million recreational boats registered worldwide and currently, boat owners and boat rental companies only have limited options to monitor and control their boats. Thus the investment, as Sentinel is providing a single platform that allows monitoring of each boat location (fleet tracking), its health (batteries etc.) and usage information (petrol station visits, ETA, danger areas, etc.).

Jure Mikuz managing partner at SCV / Photo credit: SCV official website

“Recreational boating has always been one of the most premium segments of the leisure activities”, Jure Mikuz managing partner at SCV said. “Most of the private boat owners would also like to have the chance to check the status of their beauties whenever desired. Sentinel brings the real-time information about their boats to their owners’ mobile phones and makes their life more relaxing. But there’s much more in Sentinel than just the remote real-time monitoring. It enables the collection of the data from a number of boats and contributes to increased safety on the seas. We’re thrilled to work with this committed team and be part of Sentinel on their mission to build a comprehensive IoT at sea”, he added.

According to Marko Pihlar, CEO of Sentinel Marine Solutions, this investment not only will boost their expansion but will strengthen their move to the consumer market as well.

“SC Ventures brings the necessary fuel to further expand the team and support our growth strategy at an aggressive pace. The challenge to connect every boat on the water is an ongoing one and is a crucial enabler for the “smart boat” the industry is headed for. We are recognized as a specialist for rental boats and we will continue focusing on that industry, but we will now also be making a stronger move to the consumer market,” Pihlar said.

Sentinel’s Facebook announcement / Photo credit: Sentinel’s Facebook page

With headquarters in Vodnjan, Croatia, Sentinel, according to the company data, has made 133.000 euros revenue just in the first year on the market and in two years the company reached a dominant position in Croatia (4th biggest boat rental market worldwide) mostly from business clients.  Currently, their team counts 10 people predominantly with technical background – cloud computing and artificial intelligence engineers. They are looking forward to expanding their team with new hires in business development and sales to create a more balanced team. In 2016 the company was recognized as the best IoT startup in Croatia.

With offices in Belgrade, Zagreb and Skopje, South Central Ventures (SCV), through Enterprise Innovation Fund (ENIF), is focused on tech companies in the Balkans. The € 40 million fund is dedicated primarily to early stage and growth investments.

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