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Tayra – how Sarajevo ecosystem support led to regional success

Tayra is a startup with an excellent product. The team received extensive support from the entire Sarajevo entrepreneurship ecosystem and made the product attractive to different investors and a broad audience.

Tayras team is an example of how great teams with an exceptional product can go further with sustained support from the ecosystem.

Tayra is a startup based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The team has developed an analytics tool with incentives that allow managers better insights into staff performance. The tool is especially helpful for managing remote teams, which became increasingly important during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Swiss EP team first met the co-founder of Tayra Ejub Hadžić through the International Burch University incubation program, managed by Malcolm Duerod. At this point, Ejub was already an alumnus. However, thanks to the University's spirit of a long-term commitment to students, he was still receiving business development and venture-building support by university professors.

We give our students and alumni space and time they need to be creative. They have access to a pool of interns, a co-working space, some meeting rooms, and a coffee machine; the rest is up to them. When they have questions or hit a rough patch, our professors and industry partners can assist in technical, legal, and financial issues, or just be there for them to talk.

Malcolm Duerod, Incubator Manager of the International Burch University

Upon graduation, Ejub worked as a software developer in a prominent IT company in Sarajevo. While he was doing his job, he discovered a 'problem' that would lead him to establish Tayra with co-founder Haris Botić, and three other developers. Ejub noticed that a lack of productivity and motivation among individual team members affects the overall performance of teams.

In the span of a few months, the Tayra team benefited from mentoring sessions with several Swiss EP experts and team members, such as Egita Polanska on company strategy, Igor Madzov on fundraising, Paul Loeffler on product development and Howard Kingston on sales strategy. Along the way, Tayra caught the attention of Faris Zacina, CEO of Ministry of Programming, another Swiss EP partner in Bosnia & Herzegovina, who is now testing the product.

Coming across the right type network that can help make a startup successful on the global stage, in Sarajevo, is difficult. Thanks to Swiss EP, I have found such a network. I got a chance to talk and spend time with some amazing people who are more than willing to share their experience and give concrete advice in their respective fields. I am grateful to all their inputs and feedback that gave us needed validation and confidence to keep growing and reaching further.

Ejub Hadzic, Co-founder of Tayra

Striving for growth, the Tayra team applied to the pre-accelerator program by Swiss EP partner organization Foundation 787. The program was organized in collaboration with EFSE Entrepreneurship Academy and Startup Wise Guys, the most well-known accelerator in the Baltic States.

Within the program, Ejub again uses the support of Swiss EP experts such as Egita Polanska, Luka Prisunjak and Igor Madzov. As the COVID-19 crisis hit, learning opportunities moved online. Tayra participated in webinars organized by Swiss EP with Fil Guijarro on sales, which also prepared Ejub for the regional startup competition at the PODIM conference.

Due to the pandemic, the Podim conference was delivered online, which was a challenge for founders who were pitching. The passion and energy of founders simply do not come across as strongly through a screen. However, the online environment did not stop Ejub. He created an attractive background and used the right equipment to perform his pitch at the highest level.
It paid off: the VC judges gave Tayra the best score. Ejub made it into the semi-finals with 15 other startups, out of the 100 who applied for the pitch competition. This opportunity gave Tayra the platform it needed to promote its product and interact with international investors.

Great products are built around great teams. The team is always the number one focus of investors. However, building the perfect team is no easy task. It needs the support of an active ecosystem where founders can access other founders and talent through a variety of networking platforms and events. Sarajevo's ecosystem stakeholders have been working hard to enable a business environment for first-time entrepreneurial teams. Tayras team is an example of how great teams with an exceptional product can go further with sustained support from the ecosystem.

A startup ecosystem is a networked world where every stakeholder is motivated to make founders succeed. Entrepreneurs lead their own as well as the ecosystem's development. They make the final impact. Tayra was built with a vision and is now set for international expansion. It is a giant step that will require much effort and commitment from the team. This journey will be more comfortable knowing that they have the support of the Sarajevo ecosystem, including ours, at Swiss EP.