From Croatia with love: Why Qualia moved its HQ to Kerry
Hrvoje Smolic ( you can call him Harvey) is the founder of Qualia Data Sciences Ltd. (Ireland) and Qualia d.o.o. (Croatia). He started out with a degree in physics, but soon after completing his master’s degree, he veered off in the direction of software development and business intelligence systems. Here, he tells us about Qualia, why he located its headquarters in Kerry, and what new entrepreneurs should expect when they start out:
The Story of Qualia
It all started in 2010 with a passion for data visualization, theory of human perception, data analytics and the enthusiasm to build a better, more “natural” software to present key performance indicators (KPIs), and business data insights.
Today, we help more than 6,000 businesses worldwide to see and understand how they are doing. Our BusinessQ software tells them the story of their business data in a precise, effective, and unambiguous way. From monitoring sales and overseeing inventory to measuring business success and tracking various KPIs, BusinessQ helps companies to see otherwise hidden patterns, to spot business problems on time,and to identify useful opportunities in their raw data.
Why Ireland, Why Kerry?
“Yes, I can live here!”
A couple of years ago, I decided I needed to support our international expansion by opening Qualia HQ in a western country. When searching for a country that will support us best, it was a pretty easy decision:
- Ireland is an English-speaking country.
- Forbes ranks it as one of the best countries for doing business.
- Ireland is among the top 10 most innovative countries in the world
- Ireland has a top 10 schooling system.
- It is home to many of the world’s leading high-performance companies in the tech sector.
From a personal perspective, I was looking for better work-life balance. I like nature in all shapes and forms—trekking, hiking, kayaking. Last year we were searching for the best part of Ireland to live in, outside of big urban areas like Dublin. Finally, we came to Killarney. Once I saw the lakes, strolled in Killarney National park, realised Ireland’s highest mountains was on the doorstep, and saw Inch beach, my mind was made up: Immediately, I told to myself, “Yes, I can live here.”
Today, almost year later, I can say the decision turned out even better then I imagined. I discovered how people here are eager to help, to connect. I live in beautiful place and I feel that I need a lifetime to explore all its corners and paths. I am working with a much healthier balance. Whenever you need to be creative, to make up something, to get fresh new ideas, you need to surround yourself with creativity and beauty. I get all my best ideas when I am outside somewhere in Kerry. To paraphrase the Zen saying, you have to empty your glass at least a little bit in order to refill it with something fresh and new.
Basically, I feel I am working less while being more productive.
What is happening at Qualia?
At this point, we are investing additional effort in data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence in order to change the way people are doing business.
We are bringing complex data science results not only to big companies, but also to consumers and SMEs—and we are doing it by tailoring our software products for different markets.
Our customers view different predictions and forecasts based on historical data. It is like modern mining; there are indeed gems in everyone’s raw data.
Tips for young companies
- Try. Just try.
- It is no secret that failure can be the best teacher, so have no fear.
- Appreciate that entrepreneurship can be very hard, physically and emotionally, and be ready for that.
- Expect to experience potentially stressful situations on a daily basis.
- In the beginning, be prepared to do the work of three people you cannot afford to hire.
- Don’t let your first success go to your head—but don’t get too depressed by your first failures. They will happen.
- Remain focused on why are you doing that you are doing—don’t let your company lose its core purpose.
Check out Qualia’s website for more information.