If you have aspirations towards building your own company, go for it.
Founder Talks with CEO Tea Vrcic
Tea Vrcic is the founder and CEO of the Roster. She is 26 years old, born in Croatia. She is passionate about 2 things in life: her startup and travelling. Her startup Roster is a software that helps SMEs automate their monthly expense reporting.
What is her story, how did she start the startup, what was the hardest part of building the Roster? Read more below.
1. Tea, how did you start with the Roster? What were your first steps?
How I got into the startup world is an interesting story and an unusual one. During my studies, I decided to do a Marketing Internship at Malta Information Technology Agency which was a government agency that incidentally was running a startup accelerator. Before the internship took place, I had little knowledge about startups. That was in 2017. But soon I got so involved with all of the startups in the program that one of them offered me a position in their startup. I joined a startup Shake Bench. We were turning empty places in coffee shops and restaurants into working spots for digital nomads (something like Airbnb but for digital nomads). We applied for funding from Startup Chile and we GOT ACCEPTED. So, I made a risky decision to leave my studies and move to Chile to represent the company in Startup Chile’s acceleration program for female founders. A year later that startup fell apart but I had another idea and decided I want to pursue it. It took me some time until I found the right team and funding. I went to Spain, tried there, didn’t work. Then I moved back to Croatia in 2018 and applied for an Incubation Programme at Algebra University. That’s where I met my current team. In May 2019, the first round of funding arrived from EIT Digital. That helped us get off the ground. Since then, we got funded by Startupbootcamp Amsterdam and Fil Rouge Capital. In total, I have been working on Roster with my current team for 1,5 years and raised 100.000 USD to date.
2. What was the hardest and best part of building the Roster?
The hardest part of building a startup is managing an unstable environment. For example, hiring people can be very challenging. A lot of people want jobs where they know they will work for the next 2,3 years. As a startup, we don’t know where we will be in 6 months, let alone in 2 years. So it’s not so easy to find the right people to work with.
The best part of building a startup is creating value for people. Creating a product from scratch that someone will love to use. That’s an amazing feeling.
3. What are your plans and vision for the future?
My plans for the future are to become the no.1 expense management software in the CEE region in the next 5 years. A big help in that would be to raise €300K for the next 18 months. That would help us hire more workforce to expand beyond Croatia.
4. Who do you ask, when you need advice?
When I need advice I turn to some of my other female founder friends I met back in Chile. We stay in touch thanks to social media. I also have some other founders in my network in Croatia that I like to ask for advice. When I don’t have anybody to ask, I read books about business. Currently, I am reading “The magic of thinking big” by David J. Schwartz.
5. Do you have any recommendations (books or podcasts) for founders? Share with us!
The book I am currently reading is great The magic of thinking big, 4 steps to the epiphany is also a great book for founders just starting out, Zero to One by Peter Thiel, 4-hour workweek about working productively.
6. Do you have any message or advice for females in our region who want to build their company?
My message to female founders in our region is JUST DO IT. If you have aspirations towards building your own company, go for it. There is never going to be a perfect time to do it. Just throw yourself into it and learn from experience. There are ups and downs to everything, but ultimately you’ll be proud of yourself when you make it. And if you fail, learn from it and move on.