Jacob Folmand joined Better Collective in 2013 and has gone on to hold various leadership positions. Relocating to Niš, Serbia, in 2016, he started up what is today Better Collective’s largest office worldwide
The Serbian office has now grown to become Better Collective’s largest office worldwide, with approximately 400 employees and more than 45 teams covering essential staff functions, including IT development, Group Finance, Legal, Design and Content Creation, and much more.
Who is Better Collective?
— Better Collective is a digital sports media group operating a strong portfolio of national and global sports media brands. Incorporated in Denmark in 2004, Better Collective remains under the direct management of its founders, Jesper and Christian.
Since our inception, we have experienced substantial growth, driven by successful acquisitions to realise our vision of becoming the leading digital sports media group. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and listed on the Nasdaq in 2018, Better Collective operates globally with more than 24 offices around the world and a total of 1,200 employees.
Our wide range of content engages an audience of more than 180 million loyal fans each month across our portfolio of national and international sports media brands, including Action Network, HLTV, Playmaker HQ, VegasInsider and FUTBIN…
Why and how did Better Collective come up with the idea of expanding to Serbia?
— Back in 2015, we started investigating opportunities to build a scalable BC setup outside Copenhagen. We ended up going for Serbia, though we initially couldn’t have imagined or predicted that BC Serbia would grow into what it has become today. Serbia exceeded all our expectations. Early on in 2016, it became evident to me that Serbia is delivering highly educated, talented, dedicated and motivated people, and thus the business case is clear for an international company wanting to expand. Serbia has always been a priority for various significant CSR initiatives ranging from planting one tree per employee to donating to humanitarian courses etc.
Our growth in Serbia is continuous and I wouldn’t be surprised if we grow beyond 500 employees in 2024
Not to forget the significant positive tax impact we created for Serbia. It was earlier this year that I received the best feedback from a local government official: “Better Collective has changed the entire IT ecosystem in Niš”. An initiative that I am particularly proud of is our “BC Academies”, in which we run academies lasting three to six months and focused on high value specialist competencies within tech. We have so far completed 11 academies, which has resulted in the hiring of 45 candidates in full time positions. The latest addition to our academy portfolio is the “Business Intelligence Academy”.
How does the future look for BC in Serbia?
— Across the Group, we are driven to continuously build and acquire strong national and global sports media brands with the aim of surpassing ESPN’s monthly audience of 700 million sports fans. Our growth in Serbia is continuous, and I would not be surprised if we grow beyond 500 employees in 2024. We are highly successful in recruiting as much as 80% of our staff needs in Serbia, and we have managed to create a scalable, efficient and very competent setup here.
Do you have any advice for companies that are considering establishing themselves in Serbia?
— Absolutely! Serbia is a land of opportunities – there is so much talent and dedication here! As a potential foreign investor, you need to familiarise yourself with the culture, local law and regulations, as well as the geopolitical situation. My best advice would be to seek consultancy with other foreign companies or organisations from the same country as yourself, or from your neighbourhood, to learn about their experiences and advice. I would also recommend that you initially invest in a competent back-office and do the initial founding with either one of the “big 4” or a similar player that has a proven track record of working with multinational companies.