Rolla, a fitness tech startup founded by Igor Krezic, has closed a €6.3 million seed funding round. This investment is the largest ever in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) for a fitness & health/ wellbeing startup and a record-breaker for the tech ecosystem in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The round was led by Mate Rimac, Croatian entrepreneur and CEO of Rimac Group, and Hellen’s Rock, the family office of Sacha Dragic. Both are among the most successful entrepreneurs in the region having built billion-dollar businesses from scratch.
This is a major milestone in Rolla’s journey to build a comprehensive gamified fitness platform that makes it easier for more people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Central to this expansion is the Rolla One app, which offers customized and adaptive features tailored to individual fitness level, preferences, and goals.
With the newly raised funds, Rolla now plans to rapidly expand its customer base while growing its product and commercial teams, establishing another regional development hub in Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with a European commercial hub to spearhead its expansion into Western Europe.
Mate Rimac explained his decision to invest in Rolla: “The two factors that led me to be part of Rolla were Igor Krezić and the importance of health in modern society. I have witnessed which entrepreneurial miracles Igor has created in the past, which are even more impressive considering where and under which circumstances they were built. At the same time, I strongly believe that a data-driven, healthy lifestyle will become ever more important for people around the world. I also see a lack of a proper comprehensive solution for assisting people to live such a healthy lifestyle. I am sure that Igor and his team are on the path of delivering just that.”
Founder and CEO Igor Krezic, having once weighed 136 kg and overcome a burnout is intimately familiar with the challenges of staying healthy and not being able to find effective solutions. Having grown up during the 1990s war in the Balkans, since he was a kid he had to build the resilience required to overcome obstacles. This background motivated him to find the ultimate solution that empowers individuals to take control of their health and live their best lives.
Krezic also has a strong track record as a seasoned entrepreneur, having founded five companies that collectively generated over 400 jobs and more than 30 million euros in annual revenue. He successfully exited one of them, NSoft, to Sportradar, a NASDAQ-listed company.
Sacha Dragic added: “The driving force behind my investment in Rolla was the powerful combination of Igor Krezic’s ambitious vision and steadfast dedication. In my experience, such focused determination paired with a transformative vision and a clear market opportunity often sets the stage for remarkable successes. I see Rolla’s product as a powerful tool that can make fitness more accessible to everyone. It has the potential to reshape the fitness industry by creating a more personalized and inclusive approach to health and wellbeing.”
Rolla has started on a strong note, with the recent attention received by Rolla at EUROBIKE, the leading global trade show for the bike business. Some of the world’s most influential cycling personalities and platforms such as DC Rainmaker, GCN Tech, and Global Triathlon Network have recognized Rolla’s innovation and impact.
This historic investment round not only elevates Rolla but also signals a seismic shift for the tech ecosystem in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Western Balkans, potentially catalyzing the growth and success of the entire region, similar to what Rimac did in Croatia or UiPath in Romania.
Product-wise, Rolla stands apart from existing health and fitness platforms by prioritizing ease of access, creating a low barrier to start, integrating data from connected services, and promoting user inclusivity. This all culminates with the gamified user journey, habits, and goals, providing a comprehensive solution for health and fitness from beginner through intermediate to advanced levels. Rolla’s gamification system combines two intertwined layers of progression: Levels (long-term) and Effort (daily), encouraging users by giving them short-term rewards, while also helping them make long-term progress.
Founded in 2019, Rolla’s virtual world offers high-quality graphics and a gamified experience. As a streaming solution, Rolla also eliminates the need for dedicated hardware, further reducing the barriers to entry.
“The beauty of our system is in its balance and interplay – the Levels and Effort interact to create a continuous feedback loop, sustaining your engagement and rewarding you for both your everyday steps and long-term achievements. We’re introducing a gamified experience that transcends the norm of data-driven health apps and provides a clear, navigable path towards health and fitness improvement,” Krezic said.