AdScanner, Winner of the Podim Pitching Competition, Raises €5 Million

A Croatian startup has successfully closed a new investment round of €5 million led by Lead Ventures and two other large international funds that have already invested in the company in 2021, South Central Ventures and J&T Ventures.

AdScanner, the winner of the 2019 Podim Pitching Competition, is a marketing startup currently present in the Croatian, Austrian, German and Bulgarian markets, providing comprehensive analytics solutions for data-driven advertising, which are the basis of the new generation of TV business models. In 2021, they successfully secured €2.7 million in investment from South Central Ventures, J&T Ventures, and Laughing Tuna GmbH.

In 2021, they successfully entered the German market, partnered with Vodafone, Germany’s most prominent TV service provider, and expanded their product portfolio. In the last 18 months, they have doubled their headcount from 50 to 100 and tripled their revenues. Now, they have realized a new investment round thanks to their successful performance and achievements.

According to Marin Ćurković, CEO of AdScanner, this investment represents a significant milestone for the company on its path to further growth and international expansion.

Investors saw an opportunity

After keeping an eye on AdScanner, investors saw a great opportunity in it. Jure Mikuž, Partner at South Central Ventures, commented on the decision to invest in the company in the first and last rounds: “We chose AdScanner primarily because of the two founders, who convinced us with their knowledge of the industry and the trends dictating the advertising industry in the light of new technologies. AdScanner’s business model makes significant inroads into the previously established relationships in this industry, especially TV advertising, which significantly raises the value of AdScanner. We invested further in the company in the last round because our previous collaboration convinced us that we made the right decision at the time and because we are confident that the company will continue to grow and add value.”

As Jure Mikuž said, after meeting the company for the first time and hearing about their idea, he was impressed by their energy and knowledge of the advertising industry. Because AdScanner operates in a similar sector to Celtra, they could make an initial assessment of the company’s potential and opportunity.

Tatjana Zabasu Mikuž and Jure Mikuž (South Central Ventures) at Podim 2022

At the time of winning the Podim Pitching Competition in 2019, AdScanner was still in the very early stages of development. Although Marin Ćurković (CEO) knew the industry well back then and predicted the trends that are only being realized today, Jure Mikuž says that their market results were not as striking as they are today. 

Jure Mikuž added, “In the meantime, there was the pandemic that temporarily shuffled the cards in TV advertising significantly, and it was then that AdScanner partnered with Vodafone Germany. It was a kind of inflection point for the accelerated growth of the business that we are seeing today. The latest round and the associated market valuation is proof of that.”

Podim is the perfect place to discover new investment opportunities

Investors are always on the lookout for new and exciting business possibilities. Jure Mikuž commented on how and where they look for investment opportunities at South Central Ventures: “Even though the largest share of our investment opportunities’ pipeline are inbound companies – companies that come to us through various channels – we invest the most in companies introduced to us by people we trust. In addition, startup events where we meet entrepreneurs are also important to us. And sometimes we find a good opportunity with those who approach us directly.”

In our conversation, Jure Mikuž also told us that he sees Podim as an excellent opportunity to get to know new founders. Although most companies at Podim might be in too early stages of development for them, he says that it is vital for them to get to know their founders then and build a relationship with them. This way, they can follow them on their journey and make it easier for them to make an investment decision later on if they see that they could be a good fit.

Marin Ćurković (AdScanner) at Podim 2019

Jure commented that investing in a company at an early stage of development and a later stage are entirely different decisions based on contrasting criteria. He said that “in the early stages, smaller amounts are invested, but there are also fewer decision points to support it. We decide whether or not we believe in the person behind the logo (if it exists already). When investing in later stages, the decision is linked to the company’s performance, the achievement of the projections in the business plan, the market’s response to their product, etc. At the same time, the quality and integrity of the founders remain the key requirements for our investment. This is not to say that the investment is less risky at later stages. The amounts are generally larger, but changing the company’s pace in the later stages is much more difficult, and this can be quite a problem for investors.”

AdScanner’s potential was also recognized at the 2019 Podim Pitching Competition. They convinced an international investor panel comprising renowned international venture capital funds such as Speedinvest, 500 Startups, Launchub Ventures, Credo Ventures, Startup Wise Guys, and others.

We are proud to host such ambitious startups at Podim. 

Congratulations to the whole AdScanner team!

Find an investment opportunity for your startup at Podim 2023.

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