Amazing Tips On How To Found In Novi Sad

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Novi Sad is Serbia's second biggest city and a secret startup hub. Check out this guide to find useful tips on founding in this welcoming city!

Novi Sad is the administrative, economic, cultural, scientific and touristic centre of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the second largest city in Serbia. Its position at one of the continent’s crossroads and history as a multinational commercial and transit centre has left it endowed with historical and cultural sights that even much larger cities have difficulty matching.

The three century-long tradition of this city is a matter of pride for its people, and its roots are visible wherever you go. This is one of those rare places where it is possible to live a lifestyle that is both peaceful and dynamic, in a city made to measure for its inhabitants. In this time of haste and modern communications, Novi Sad and its people continue to preserve their relaxed outlook and the peacefulness and friendliness typical of the Pannonian Plain. This is a city where people do everything at their own pace but always make it on time. It is well known for its quality of living,  entertainment, crowded nightlife and the big population of young and educated people.

Novi Sad – One Of Serbia’s Startup Hubs

Why Novi Sad Should Be A Starting Point For You:

  • Living expenses are significantly lower compared to bigger cities in Europe.
  • Pool of talented and educated engineers – The Faculty of technical sciences of the University of Novi Sad, as an entrepreneurial-minded institution, provides the biggest number of highly educated engineers. More than a hundred companies were launched from this institution and most of them are recognized as global players in the IT industry. The city is also considered as the Serbian IT center, giving the fact that more than 50% of software engineers are located in Novi Sad, and there is still an increasing demand for this profession.
  • Growing and welcoming community – the startup community here is very young and latterly established by the people who spontaneously joined forces and now strive to keep it on the move. You will find an atmosphere full of curiosity and a desire to learn and often run into the usual crew of enthusiasts who regularly attend all the happenings. Being aware that networking is where the magic happens, they are inquisitive to meet new faces and share GCPs and useful insights.
  • English is widely spoken among business and tech people.
  • Very good public transportation system, also bicycle friendly. Quick and easy to get around the city by foot.
  • Geographically, Novi Sad is in a favourable position. It lies on important transit routes which provide significant comparative assets.

What You Should Have In Mind:

  • Considering the level of bureaucracy, starting your business here might leave you with bittersweet memories.
  • Relatively high standard rate of 20% VAT, yet, comparing to Budapest (27%) and Zagreb (25%) it is still endurable.
  • Governmental support is rather declarative. You can easily start a one person company, even at no big cost, but when it comes to financial support, tax incentives, and legislation, Serbia as a country still has a lot to improve.
  • Local market is small. In order to ensure the growth and traction for your startup, you should consider the possibility of expanding your business in foreign markets.
  • Intellectual property rights protection laws are also yet to be harmonized with the European standards.

The Startup Community In Novi Sad

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When talking about the frequency of events, meetups and general networking within the startup community, we can say that Novi Sad is on the move and it is encouraging you to hop on.

Info About Happenings & How To Keep In Touch With The Community:

  • (English version) is the most relevant source of information and support coming from the domestic startup ecosystem. You can find them on their Facebook page & group as well.
  • You can also use ITDogađaji  to find some info about local and regional IT happenings.
  • Try catching up with events using Eventbrite and Meetup.
  • Guys from e-Front are doing a great job in providing support and gathering local enthusiasts. You can also catch up with them on their Facebook page.
  • If you’re seeking for some early adopters, co-founders, developers and product testers, or you simply support the phrase “sharing is caring”, then you’re welcome to get in touch with  Start-up Novi Sad Facebook group.
  • Feel free to contribute and share with Product Hunters Balkan as well.
  • Startup Serbia welcomes you to meet other entrepreneurial-minded individuals in Serbia. This group focuses on startup issues in the country, as well as pitch sessions and general socializing.
  • Coding Serbia is all about bringing together programming enthusiasts from all over the country, interactive group of software developers sharing experiences and knowledge. They welcome beginners and professionals as well as every like-minded geek in the region.
  • Internet of Things Novi Sad. This group wants to flush out Internet of Things projects in Novi Sad and the region in order to create synergies and interoperability on all levels of infrastructure. It also wants to bring in end users into this process. It is aligned with the FP 7 Project that is aimed at building an ecosystem of citizen centric services. Its pilot cities are Novi Sad and (Smart) Santander.
  • Netokracija is the leading Southeastern European media brand dedicated to digital business and technology, reporting on the latest and greatest happenings in the region.

Events, Meetups & Other Occasions In Novi Sad:

  • Startup Live Novi Sad  – organized by e-Front, which offers a unique 2.5-day workshop format where talents from various backgrounds come together to form teams and develop early business concepts. Teams receive valuable feedback and support from mentors and have the chance to pitch their business idea in front of a panel of judges. The best projects further qualify for advanced mentoring workshops to make them investment-ready.
  • Startup Weekend as a famous global startup movement, was recently organized in Novi Sad by Business Incubator Novi Sad. This event challenges you to come out with your ideas and put them to the test.  You get a 54-hour long session with the help of skilled mentors and experienced coaches. Training is covered with two different subjects: developing a business model and startup pitches.
  • Novi Sad startup meetup is an informal gathering, provided by Hub & Coworking “Apolo”, for local enthusiasts to showcase their work, share ideas, useful tips and tricks, with usual  “wrap up” in the nearest pub.
  • Startit meetup in Novi Sad provided by as one of their regular events.
  • NS Tech meetup is a monthly event (yet, not quite up to date starting from this year, but hoping they will keep on) for tech geeks, programmers, innovators, young companies with cool products as well as for every other individual who is passionate about technology.
  • DaFED Association is a nonprofit devoted to networking and organizing educational events for the IT community. They organize a monthly meetup for graphic and web designers, web developers and marketers where they can discuss and share ideas and mingle a bit. You can catch up with them on their Facebook page.
  • Coding Serbia conference is a yearly event devoted to education and development, practice improvement, accentuation of nearshoring and informing on trends in the software industry.

Since the city of Belgrade, with all its hustle and bustle, as a central place of all major happenings, is only an hour drive from Novi Sad, you’re welcome to attend and enjoy some of the biggest events in country which are devoted to the domestic and regional startup scene. Belgrade Venture Forum, Startit FEST and FundraiseIT are surely not to be missed. So, be free to visit Belgrade Startup city guide as well, and grab some more info.

Co-working Spaces In Novi Sad

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Along with a young and growing startup community, Novi Sad still has a modest offer of co-working spaces, although, a few newly opened ones brought in a little dynamic. So, let’s check them out:

  • Hub & Coworking “Apolo” is currently the best place for you to park your talent and share it with the community. Along with modern working space they provide educational support through regular workshops and pitch trainings, consultancy spaces, meetups and other occasions in order to empower the local startup scene.
  • Pionirska is designed for freelancers or small teams who want to engage with other co-workers or just to change their environment and working routine. Even if you are not from Novi Sad, just passing through, or you don’t find yourself productive in working at home or coffee shops, they welcome you to join them.

Finances In Novi Sad

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There aren’t plenty of permanent investment opportunities, so finding and getting one could still be called a struggle for domestic startups. Let’s just say that you have to be brave and crazy enough to think you can, and few great examples from Novi Sad, like Buscador, Yanado, Fliiby, Content360, actually did.

However, local organizations started working a lot on strengthening this pillar and they continue to do so. So far the most dominant source of capital came from out of the country.


  • Business Incubator Novi Sad provides significant infrastructural support. Its overall goal is to help entrepreneurs to transfer their business ideas into a successful business concept. Apart from the office, conference and common rooms, their tenants also get consultancy services, administrative support and a bookkeeper at their disposal.  If you have an awesome business idea or already a finished product set for the market, application for entry is always open. Evaluation is happening four times a year and with that being done you are one step closer to join them.


  • The only accelerator and actually the first one that started operating in Serbia is StartLabs. This is a US based seed fund, investing in startups from Southeast Europe.
  • Opportunities are blooming just across the national border within the Bulgarian LauncHub, Eleven, and the global ones like Seedcamp. These accelerators recognized the potential of Serbian startups and already invested in many of them, as well as in the ones mentioned above.

Grants & Subventions:

Angel Investors:

  • SBAN – Serbian Business Angels Network is the first organization of this type in Serbia, formed with the intention to connect domestic entrepreneurs with angel investors.

Venture Capital:

  • SPEA acts as an advocate for private equity and venture capital, and also stands as a forum for all the companies and professionals active in the Serbian private equity market.
  • SeVeN – Serbian Venture Network is dedicated to promotion of equity-based investment models and supporting startups in acquiring investments and their development. Belgrade Venture Forum, as one of the central networking events in the region, is one of their flagship initiatives.

Mentors In Novi Sad

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Possibly the best advice for you to set off is by mingling with the community itself, and the path will lead you, so be free to join some of the groups mentioned earlier. Also there are a few key people in Novi Sad whom you can approach. Dragan Antonic is the founder of Hub & Coworking Apolo, long time present in entrepreneurship, enjoys taking initiatives together with his e-Front crew and also one positive guy who is always keen to help and give advice. Djordje Celic, main figure of Business Incubator, and a teaching assistant at University of Novi Sad.

Here’s a quick guide through legal framework and procedures on starting a business, with useful contact informations in addition, made by Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Serbia.

By taking an extra mile, you can get in touch with awesome people from SEE ICT. Based in Belgrade, they are currently the most active organization in Serbia, providing deep support to startups and entrepreneurs, known by their flagship projects like Startup Academy, and also hosting a majority of networking occasions at the country level.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” – Ready for Novi Sad?



Special thanks to Vedran Rasic and Dragan Antonic.

Last updated: July 29th, 2016

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