Zlata Ribica offer Innovation Challenge inspiration

Ahead of the third edition of the Innovation Challenge – powered by Sportradar, prospective attendees need look no further than 2016 winners Zlata Ribica for an example of the possibilities the event offers.

The Innovation Challenge’s warm-up event takes place at Vienna University on Saturday, May 5th while the final will be in the same place on June 1st as students from the region compete to have the idea on how best to use Sportradar’s market leading data as part of the company’s wider innovation work.

Having been supplied with Sportradar’s data feeds, teams take their kernel of an idea and manufacture it, with the help of mentors, into a more well-rounded product vision over the course of four weeks.

Milutin Spasic, Gregor Casar and Ernest Belicic are three men who know the process first hand, having won the competition’s inaugural edition two years ago in Ljubljana along with team-mate Milos Lukic.

The quartet formed Zlata Ribica, or Goldfish in English, and created the social media app Dribble as a way of connecting fans at home to their favourite sporting teams, allowing them to show their support and interact with other fans from across the world.

“So, the main idea was to create a social network app which would allow sports fans to watch soccer and interact from home,” explains Belicic.

“Because often those watching sport from home can be a little bit cut off and they want to cheer and show their support with other fans via the app.”

With just three days to go until the demo day in the Austrian capital, all contestants need to get going is an idea and to have completed an application form before the deadline on Friday, May 4th.

“We thought about the initial areas that we needed to work but we definitely didn’t come up with the finished product right away,” adds Spasic. “After some brainstorming sessions and working with the mentors we came up with a more polished idea.”

That idea not only saw Zlata Ribica named 2016 winners, it played a crucial role in securing Spasic, Casar and Belicic the positions they hold in Sportradar now while also helping them launch the app to market.

Following an incubation period where the team were afforded office space, equipment, time and budget to finalise the idea, Junior Project Manager Spasic began working at Sportradar in November 2017 before Software Engineer Casar and Data Scientist Belicic started in January and April 2018 respectively.

“Getting the job offer here was the result of the Innovation Challenge definitely,” Casar adds. “We were working on our product right up until the end of the challenge in September and after that the project was finished and we got offered the job. It was most certainly key to us becoming part of Sportradar.”

According to Spasic, “the advantage if you participate is that Sportradar has the scope and the general knowledge to show what you can use and what your team is capable of”.

“That definitely helps further with employment,” agrees Casar, who continues: “Also, it’s a case of when we worked on the project we worked alongside a lot of people from Sportradar during that process and so obviously that helps the decision to take the job much easier.”

And what would the three former winners offer as advice for this year’s Innovation Challenge cohort?

“Definitely talk to the mentors as much as possible,” they conclude. “Just see what you can gain from them in terms of your idea and project. They can be a great resource when it comes to helping your idea become reality.”

For more information, visit the Innovation Challenge website.

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