Interview with Mr. Jasenko Hadzic, successful Bosnian and CEO of a unique Event Planning Company

May 26, 2018 2:00 PM

Mr. Jasenko Hadzic is a 31 years old Bosnian who is currently living in Copenhagen. He holds a Bachelor degree in Mathematics and a Master degree in Finance, both from Copenhagen Business School.

He has started out his career negotiating contracts for the biggest energy company in Denmark, DONG Energy, in Denmark and the UK. He quit it and moved to Malaysia where he had some friends that were starting technology companies across entire South-East Asia.

“Here we ended up building the fastest growing startup factory in the region!”

Afterward, he came back to Copenhagen and connected the entire startup scene by building a non-profit foundation called #CPHFTW that would unite the startup scene in Copenhagen/Denmark and position Copenhagen as one of the best startup cities in Europe. Their facilitated investments amounted to over 15 million U.S. dollars.

Currently, Mr. Hadzic is the CEO and Co-founder of his own tech startup called “Tame “and, together with his team, on a mission to digitalize the entire conference industry in the world.

“As the way broke out in Ex-Yugoslavia, it peaked during 1992, where my granddad got murdered. I was 5 years at the time and my sister Ksenija was 4 years old, so my parents decided that it was time to escape from Bosnia and the horrible war that was taking place. During the time Denmark and the Scandinavian countries took in a lot of war refugees from Ex-Yugoslavia. “

“We came to Denmark and the first place we lived was at a refugee camp called Sandholm (most refugees even from Syria now go there). The Danish Government transported many of us out of the refugee camp and on a huge boat called “Flotel” (a word for a “floating hotel” – hotel on water) with a lot of other refugees where we were two families that had to share a bathroom,” Mr Hazdic explained how his refugee life looked like.

“After a short time there, all of us got moved to a refugee center in Central Copenhagen. After one year there my parents got offered to move to America and other countries, but they decided that Denmark was a good country, since there’s free healthcare, free education and a good public system, which was a good foundation to raise children and start from scratch. We moved from Copenhagen to a city called Roskilde with 50,000 inhabitants,” Mr. Hadzic continued.

 Sarajevo Times: Currently, you have your own company in Denmark and a website which grew to more than 50 registered countries in only two days after its launching. Can you tell us more about this project, how you got an idea, how it all started?

“I’m the CEO & Co-founder of Tame, a design-driven tech startup from Copenhagen, Denmark. We’re on a mission to solve the chaos of event planning.
Being an Event planner is 5th most stressful in the world and 90% of event planners are planning their events from excel spreadsheets, which means that they waste a 30-50% of their time on administrative tasks. We experienced the stress & pain ourselves as former conference organizers in organizing over 30+ large events and conferences. After interviewing 200+ event managers globally and testing out 1000+ different event tools in trying to find a solution that would make our lives easier, we still couldn’t find a proper event planning tool. So, we decided to build Tame.”

“We started out in April 2016. We were 2 developers, one designer and me. Now we’re grown to 12 people from 8 different countries. We have five of the best investors from Europe on board and recently announced our investment round of €550,000. Since we launched publicly in April, we’ve grown fast and now our tool is being used in over 80 countries.

On a question of what is his reason to fight and how he manages to be successful in a foreign country, Mr. Hadzic says that if one has an idea or a personal ambition, the only way he or she can achieve it is by working hard. On top of that, if you can be smart about it (ie. work smart), then you have a winning formula. Some of your smaller goals might be easier to achieve, but if you really want to succeed in the long term with some of your larger goals, you have to put in time and effort.

“You have to remember that the path to your success is not a straight line, cause if it was, everybody would be successful. Your path to success will be filled with both good and bad moments and it’s your attitude in those bad moments where you experience setbacks that shape you. A lot of people tend to quit when they experience setbacks, but why? Its normal to experience setbacks. There are just moments in life where you will lose. It’s a fact. The sooner you realize it, become comfortable with it and realize that it’s only a short-term thing, then you deal with it better.

My story is filled with setbacks, but I constantly kept on searching for new paths, kept on pushing and kept on working hard in trying to the path towards my goals.
In DONG Energy, I was the first student to ever go abroad. The company did not have an “internship position” waiting for me. I made them create it. When I broke up with my former girlfriend in 2012, I walked in to the office of my boss and said: “We have some of our colleagues sitting in London. I know we dont have a position over there. I want to go there because I think I can learn a lot and help them. What can we do to make it happen?”. Every day I came in and followed up: “Hey. So, what’s the status on London? How can we make it happen?”. Every day. One month after he really started to take me seriously, as I came in like that every day as he could see that I wasn’t going away and that I really meant it. Hereafter he talked to some of the other departments in London, coordinated with HR, HR created a position and a completely new contract and off I was to London 1,5 month after. The whole process took 3 months.

Another story is that when I wanted to move to Malaysia and quit my job at the biggest energy company, both my family and my friends thought I was crazy. I got an offer from some of my friends to move to Malaysia and start some companies with them. I had never been to a different country outside of Europe, I didn’t know anybody there, I didn’t know what to expect, besides the fact that I knew it was a new country, a new position, new people, new culture and a whole new beginning. Moreover, I knew that if I really didn’t like it, I could always come back to Denmark. I decided to listen to myself and take the chance. It’s been one of the best chances I’ve taken, cause I listened to myself. Now I have a network of people from all over the world and some of the best memories in my life, I have from that time.

There isn’t a recipe for success. Firstly, you have to have discipline, you have to work hard and you have to be able to go out of your comfort zone. Secondly, you have to analyze the situation you are going into – how are you going to approach it? what are the risks involved? how does the worst-case scenario look like? what do you do if plan a doesn’t work? What’s your plan b? etc. Working hard is one thing, but you have to do it smart. So whatever goal you have, take the time to analyze it and then you know what scenarios can play out.

Lastly, do take time to listen to the people around you and try to understand why they might not agree with you. (ex: my parents didn’t want me to move to Malaysia cause they were afraid that I would ditch school, not finish my Master degree and if I did that, then they were afraid I wouldn’t be able to get a job after.)

Even though my name “Jasenko” is pretty uncommon, there has never ever been any issues at all. My mother and father have always raised me and my sister to treat every person we meet with the highest of respect and by doing that, I’ve only received the highest of respect in return. So, I’ve only had positive experiences. People around me wouldn’t react differently if I said I was from Spain, Italy, Austria, Denmark or Sweden. Many people here think I’m from Denmark because I speak fluent Danish.

All in all, my experience shows that think we have an amazing country, amazing food and a beautiful nature.

My vision for the future is to scale Tame to become a global industry leader in the global event industry with my entire team. I want the company to grow to 1000 people minimum so that we can employ people in our region as well. That is the next milestone.

Besides that, I want to establish a few non-profit organizations in Bosnia to help out in areas that are underdeveloped, such as kids with handicaps. There are still too many fields where we can make the lives even better for our young generation and my mission is dedicated to doing that.
I would like to travel more to the country and do mine to make sure that we build our country faster, better and with all the resources we have together.

Interview by Zejna SY

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