One of the best news coming from Bosnia and Herzegovina happened at the end of 2021 when Rolla, an emerging startup from Mostar, announced that they landed a 1,6 million dollar investment. What is Rolla? How does it work? And what does the Swiss EP have to do with it?
When we’re super busy, taking care of ourselves and keeping fit are put on the back burner. So how can we make it a priority—and make it fun as well?
Maybe a team from Mostar was troubled by the same question when they first decided to create an app that helps joggers, cyclists, and runners track their achievements and have more fun while working out. We can’t say for sure. But, we know they succeeded in making working out much more playful than it usually is.
The Rolla story started in 2019 when Igor Krezic, an experienced entrepreneur and founder of NSoft, gathered a team and started working on a stimulating app. Igor used all his previous knowledge and selected the best people from his team to build a new product that uses virtual reality to simulate real-life conditions while simultaneously tracking the user’s performance in a workout.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic sped things up, and, as Nikolina Zeljko, Performance Marketing Manager, tells it, this is how Rolla started rolling:
The primary motivation to start Rolla was to create a solution that would provide a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor exercise. COVID-19 showed how our habits have to change radically and that things such as going to the gym might require much more effort than before. Although the pandemic ended, the new way of living has become our reality. Using virtual gamified worlds to exercise is a novel approach, and Rolla seamlessly provides the transition between indoor and outdoor and gives users a complete overview of all our activities.
On top of the team’s desire and motivation to bring innovation to the fitness world, what moved both the team and the product forward was a series A investment they raised in December 2021. A private family office, Hellens Rock Capital, and an angel investor from Serbia decided to invest 1.6 million dollars in Rolla and help the team speed up development.
However, landing the investment is not the only achievement that makes the Rolla team proud:
Our most significant success so far is the short test and market validation campaign, through which we acquired 30k users who gave us valuable feedback. Of course, validation of our product from investors is also quite significant for us. Combined, it contributes to even faster development of the platform with new and improved features that would help us break into the competitive fitness market. On the other hand, the biggest challenge for us is hiring the right people—aside from having the proper skill set, all our employees must also be into sports.
Rolla is a product developed by an experienced team with vast knowledge and experience in many different areas. But, besides their accumulated knowledge, the team is eager to acquire new learnings from various Swiss EP experts, such as Howard Kingston, Martin Bjergegaard, Cosmina Popa, and most recently Maja Voje.
We’re very grateful to Swiss EP for enabling us to work with many different experts. However, if we had to choose one that was the best fit for us, that would be Howard Kingston, a digital marketing coach and growth hacker. We’re just a few months away from launching our product to the market, so his knowledge and advice are the most valuable to us.
As Nikolina mentioned, the official launch of the Rolla application is only a few months away. So while we’re looking forward to their future success, we also wanted to know what they would say has been their recipe for success so far:
Make sure to define and set meaningful goals properly and define your strategy and rate of growth clearly. It’s also essential to validate the product-market fit before spending unnecessary resources.
Feels like sound advice to us.