The Croatian company behind ‘the world’s best smart street bench’ hope to install 30 in different locations in Australia by the end of the year.
Include, founded by young 21-year-old smart bench inventor Ivan Mrvoš, already have some of their Steora benches in Australia.
“Currently we have 5 Steora benches in Australia for testing purpose. Our partner is using them only as showcase models, and we are hoping that next week the 5 biggest Australian cities (like Sydney, Melbourne, etc) will each get one bench for a testing period of a few months”, Ivona Pletikosić from Include, who are based in Solin, near Split on the Dalmatian coast, told us.
The Steora bench hides a wireless charger for advanced mobile devices – integrated with an acrylic glass cover – while it also offers two regular USB ports, together with a Wi-Fi access point. Users can charge their phones and connect to the Internet.
The benches, which provides LED night light, can be installed anywhere as long as it exposed to some natural light. Over the day all energy goes into a strong battery system which ensures that the bench can work normally even if there is no sun for few days.
Ivona says that by the end of 2017 the plan is to install at least 30 more Croatian smart benches at various locations in Australia.
“Our current focus is to put Steora in city budgets that are going to be made in July for next year, and we are hoping that until the end of this year at least 30 more benches will be installed at different locations in Australia. We are also hoping to get in cooperation with Telstra, one of the biggest telecoms in Australia. At this moment it is important to present the product to the Australian market and to create interest. Steora is something completely new and it takes time to make sales process”, she added.
Mrvoš has been hugely successful since he developed and installed the first smart bench in his hometown of Solin in 2015. In the same year, Ivan and his friend sold and produced 25 benches for 3 countries and made a total revenue of €40.000.
At the beginning of 2016 things became more serious. There were more and more inquiries for benches and also first competitors started to show up with their prototypes, so Ivan decided to take his business serious – the smart bench from Solin had to become a serious product and Include a serious company.
Include, which attracted some big investment after launching his first investment cycle campaign on platform Funderbeam, are quickly expanding.
“Besides Australia, our benches are also installed in Germany, Slovakia, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, USA, Qatar, Montenegro, … Some of this market currently only have 3 or 4 benches for testing purposes, while some of them already have more than 20 benches and are showing high demand for the product”, Ivona concluded.