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Leonard Eldić
Founder of SaaStanak

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Communities are weird. A slack group might be called a community but in reality, it’s a sales channel or a help center. Communities revolve around people, and people are strange – when you’re a stranger.

So I started SaaStanak meetups with a simple premise: people working in SaaS share more in common than not. And these “strangers” rarely get to share experiences with like-minded people.

At least, that’s how I felt. Working in SaaS sales, I thought I’d be meeting more people in person but these occasions are rare and that left me disconnected from my work and industry — especially from other people doing the same thing in my city, Zagreb.

So with ChartMogul’s help, I organized SaaStanak #1 in Oct 2021 – our first SaaS meetup in Croatia.

The name itself is a fun wordplay combining the word “Sastanak” ( “meeting” in Croatian) and SaaS (Software as a Service)

We spent the budget well…

…And when the dust settled and the shots wore off, I thought — this is pretty cool.

So for our 2nd meetup, we did a themed Pub Quiz

And then finally, we added speakers & topics

And I realized that companies actually like hosting these events in their offices.

For the time being it wasn’t obvious to me why would a SaaS business care about people wandering their offices, having drinks, listening to an educational panel.

So we did another one

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And another one.

By the end of 2023, we organized 12 meetups in 8 different companies in 3 different cities – Zagreb, Belgrade, and Zadar.

And each time we’ve got people coming back asking when are we meeting again.

So I figured maybe there’s more to it. The ecosystem is full of kind and ambitious people. 

SaaStanak is in a unique spot to help highlight these folks — be it aspiring Founders or amazing operators in Product, Engineering, Sales, Marketing, Ops or VC.

So I decided to build a team and get SaaStanak running regionally.

West Balkans, Southeast Europe, or just SaaStanak?

But the question was — where? Zagreb is just a one-stop in a larger SaaS ecosystem spanning from Ljubljana to Skopje.

And due to its western-market focus, It’s not entirely sure there’s a need for a common ecosystem. The region is also famously entwined in complicated politics, social, and business relations. Even agreeing on a common name — Balkans, West Balkans, Southeast Europe, Adria or some other is an impossible feat.

But these local communities have too much in common to be left isolated and disconnected, so SaaStanak acts as a bridge.

And not only within the region – we made an effort to bring people from the UK, Germany, and Canada’s ecosystems.

You can pitch in, too

It’s simple — a thriving community is one where people feel appreciated and understood. It’s a place that welcomes newcomers so if you want to help the community grow — come to our events.

Our goal is to produce the best content & networking for people working in SaaS,  be it live or through our Social media channels — LinkedIn, Instagram & YouTube.

So follow us & share SaaStanak with your peers. Your attention is the currency our community needs to grow.

Lastly, enjoy the events — the people you’ll meet are the reason we’re here. Some may become your business partners, and many become friends.

It’s all on the roadmap!

P.S. – Next week we’re coming out with something big – it’s a 2-day event in Zagreb featuring speakers from all over the world. Stay tuned!

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