A magazine for clients and friends of KPMG Česká republika
Billions in the trash
p. 12 p. 14 p. 44
Ending bank branches’ existential depression Advice for start-ups and investors A Czech student giving hope to diabetics
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© 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firmoftheK PMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative („KPMG International“), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
3 — editorial
Czechs, waste and responsibility
Marwick – a magazine for clients and friends of KPMG Česká republika. Published six times a year by KPMG Czech Republic, Pobrežní 1a, Praha 8. MK CR E 22213. On-line subscriptions available at www.marwick.cz. Editor in chief: Michaela Raková Art director: Štěpán Prokop Photoeditor: Barbora Mráčková Copy-editor: Martina Ohlídalová Cover illustration: Václav Havlíček KPMG Česká republika’s offices are located in Prague, Brno, Ostrava and České Budějovice. www.kpmg.cz © 2016 KPMG Czech Republic, s. r. o.,
For Czechs, price remains the second most important criterion in purchasing food, right after quality. The number of people who spend more than three thousand crowns on food per month has almost doubled in the course of five years. Czechs buy a lot of instant coffee and head for the supermarket to buy beer. More than a half of them do not separate bio-waste and on average, they make do with three loyalty cards. These are only some of the conclusions drawn from the fifth annual KPMG’s survey of shopping habits in the Czech Republic. This year, several topics relating to social responsibility were reflected in the survey, in particular food waste and waste sorting. We took a look at the number of households that sort waste and what type they sort most frequently, who throws away the most food, how popular home composting is among Czechs, or whether they know and buy fair trade products. The most interesting finding for me, personally, was that food is thrown away primarily by young people, which is a group that is usually most interested in topics of ecology and frugality. In this issue of Marwick, we contemplate ecological consumption in greater depth. We take a closer look at what happens with our waste after we sort it, or in what way composting is connected with design. However, we also pursue other topics – we advise investors on how to handle startups and reveal the progress of Czech companies in using data analytics. Moreover, we are neither leaving out our regular meeting with a scientist, nor our traditional topic on charity nor news from the cultural scene. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy reading what we have written. I am also confident that we will inspire you to become a more responsible consumer, so that next year, our survey will show us that we are one step closer to reducing our waste to a minimum. Karel Růžička Partner in charge of Consumer Markets and CSR KPMG Česká republika firstname.lastname@example.org
a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative („KPMG International“), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
© 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
4 — téma
Text: Pavla Francová; illustration: Barbora Tögel. The complete results of the 2017 Czechs and their Buying Habits survey may be found at www.kpmg.cz © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
5 — téma
Trash worth billions. What about your fridge?
Imagine going to fill up your car but only getting two-thirds of a tank-full. Or how about not getting a third of your monthly salary? You would think you’d notice. But when it comes to our refrigerators, we seem to lose our guard. Why are we wasting so much food? And why should we pay at least as much attention to this as we do to our pay check?
© 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
A third of food ends up in the trash We have caught up with the West in one more discipline: the wasting of food. The majority of people admitted to throwing out groceries on a regular basis. According to KPMG’s survey, two thirds of respondents claim to toss less than ten percent of the groceries that they bring home. This percentage increases for larger and richer families. In contrast, smaller families with lower incomes make a greater effort to utilise all of their grocery purchases. It appears that young people under the age of 24 are most wasteful, while older respondents above 55 try to avoid wasting food the most. The above results emanate from guesses made by the survey’s respondents and should thus be taken with a grain of salt. All of us know that estimating on the contents of one’s own refrigerator is not all too easy. Hence, it is likely that in reality, the wasting of food occurs in an even greater scope. Logio, a logistics company aiming to raise the effectiveness of supply chains, estimates that foodstuff makes up a third of all the trash produced in this country. What’s more, a fourth of it never gets tasted or removed from its packaging. According to statistics, every person in the Czech Republic (including new-borns) throws away about 70 kilos of groceries each year. And this concerns only food that was bought and then tossed by the same person. If we add to that all the food that retailers, producers and farmers throw away, we arrive at double the above-mentioned number. “The European Commission has estimated that in the European Union alone, 90 million tonnes of food are wasted every year, which comes to about 173 kilos per person. A large part of
these wasted foodstuffs is still suited for human consumption”, so the Czech Ministry of Agriculture. Once in a while throwing away a brown banana, some stale bread or yogurt past its expiry date may not seem like a big deal. But if one adds up all that gets tossed over the year, the pile of trash headed for the landfill becomes quite remarkable. “The average Czech household spends 23 percent of its income on food. Hence, a four-member family throws away food worth CZK 46 000 every year”, Logio’s data experts estimate. Billions worth of trash On a global level, the amounts of wasted groceries take on gargantuan levels. World-wide, 1.3 billion tonnes of food gets wasted, which corresponds to a third of all produced groceries. Surprisingly, it’s not just the affluent countries of the Western hemisphere that are to blame for this. Almost the same amount of food is wasted in poor and underdeveloped countries, even though here, food gets destroyed because of poor storage, packaging or unsuitable transport conditions. And yet, this debate is about a whole lot more than is obvious at first glance. Both environmentalists and non-profit organisations warn that the situation is not sustainable in the long term. The production and supply of food are costly and use a lot of energy, create significant greenhouse gas emissions and waste huge amounts of water. Utilised fertilizers have a dramatic effect on soil and the entire ecosystem. “The complete production of one single loaf of bread, starting with the seeding of grain all the way to the finished product uses more than 12 hectolitres of water”, note the experts at Logio. On the same planet where yearly 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted, about a billion people suffer from hunger. Among others, the European Commission has resolved to half the amount of food waste by the end of the next decade, compared with the numbers for 2015. “The European Commission is taking the issue of tackling food waste very seriously. Reducing food waste has enormous potential for reducing the resources we use to produce the food we eat. Being more efficient will save money and lower the environmental impact of food production and consumption”, so the European Commission on its web pages. What’s more, the entire issue involves massive amounts of money. Experts estimate the value of all the food that is wasted or spoiled to come to USD 750 billion per year. For comparison’s sake, this is double the yearly budget of the entire European Union. And talking about the cost of food waste, we have to mention more than just the price that the end-customer sees in the store. To the value of food, we must add all energy and every expense that was invested into its production, packaging, transport and distribution. Thanks to the World Food Clock - an interactive infographic by White Vinyl Design – we can readily see how rapid food waste has become. For every second of the day, the site shows how much food is produced worldwide, how much is consumed and how much is wasted. At the same time, we can see how much
© 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
6 — topic
Next time you’re out grocery shopping, take a clandestine look into the cart of other shoppers. You’ll see that when it comes to the size of our purchases, we are slowly but surely catching up to Western European consumers. This is also one of the outcomes of KPMG’s survey of Czech customer habits, conducted this January among 1000 respondents. One of the results of the survey also showed that Czechs are spending an increasing amount of money on groceries. The number of people whose monthly grocery bill exceeds CZK 3000 continues to grow. Whereas five years ago, they made up 6 percent of shoppers, today, their ranks have doubled. And no, this cannot be explained by rising food prices, as inflation in previous year has been rather low. Instead, the results of KPMG’s survey show that Czechs are increasingly seeking out and buying more quality and hence more expensive food items. Interestingly, price is no longer the critical decisionmaking factor it was in the past. Whereas today, 28 percent of respondents claim that the cost of individual food items is still the most important aspect of their purchase, five years ago, 34 percent admitted to mainly paying attention to their food’s price tag. Nowadays, we are much more interested in the other qualities of our purchases, and 46 percent of Czechs now decide to buy groceries mostly based on their quality.
7 — topic
Composting in style
energy, water and land is involved in the production of food. Finally, the webpage continuously calculates the value of all the food wasted worldwide. Why is it that we discard so much food when at the same time we are so concerned with how much this waste costs? One major reason for unnecessarily huge food purchases that consumers are then not able to consume are extensive promotional activities vying for our attention and rebates for multipacks and bulk purchases. These may look like an exceptionally frugal idea in the store but in reality often lead to an extreme waste of money and food. Various pages and apps have appeared on the internet to help consumers avoid wasteful purchases and to reduce the amount of food destined for the trash (see the info box “How not to waste” below).
Some just need to hear the term compost and will swear that they can smell something rotting. Compost does not really have a great reputation and a heap of stale food and other biodegradable waste does not necessarily sound appealing. But alas, composting is great for the environment (as it limits the production of methane that is released when bio-waste is barely dumped at a landfill) and creates a highly valuable resource for growing vegetables, fruit and other plants. Whereas Czechs are among the frontrunners in recycling glass, plastics and paper, they still are lagging behind when it comes to biodegradable waste. More than 52 percent of Czechs simply toss their kitchen waste and scraps into the trash, as shown in KPMG’s survey of Czech purchasing behaviour. The situation is even worse in large cities above 100 000 inhabitants, where more than 73 percent dispose of bio-waste together with their regular trash. Indeed, in smaller towns and villages, most food waste either is fed to domestic animals or ends up on the compost heap, so that only 20 percent of respondents admit to disposing of their bio-waste non-ecologically. But composting can be done effectively and without too much hassle even in the city. As proven by Czech designer Jiří Pelcl, who has turned composting into a beautiful and stylish matter. His vermi-composter, produced by Plastia, shows that even a composter can be a fashionable accessory for modern interiors. Like other, similar products, the closed and multi-levelled container allows for the easy composting of a kitchen’s biodegradable waste. Inside the container, Californian earthworms do their magic. For his design, Pelcl was nominated for this year’s Czech Grand Design award. And by the way, the Czech Republic is the country with the longest composting tradition in Europe. The first controlled technology composting plant was put into operation here in 1912, according to odpadovecentrum.cz, a webpage compiling sources of municipal support for composting.
8 — topic
French pioneers How to limit food waste has become a significant public issue. For example, a year ago, France became the first country worldwide that outlawed the waste or destruction of food by large retail chains. Instead, supermarkets have to donate all that they believe to be no longer sellable to charities and food banks. The same group of people that fought for the inclusion of this concept into the French legal system have now approached Brussels with the same idea. “The sooner we set ambitious goals for the reduction of food waste, the better,” last year the British Guardian quoted Norbert Kurill, the Slovak Minister for Agriculture, whose country was at the helm of the European Union at the time. In the Czech Republic, things are moving forward, too. Two years ago, the government abolished a directive that required retailers to pay VAT on goods that they wanted to donate to charity, which made it more advantageous to destroy food rather than to donate it. Fortunately, since 2015, this is no longer the case and several retail chains now have made it their standard practice to donate groceries that are past their expiration date or a no longer up to their customers’ standards to food banks. The volume of food that such charitable organisations now distribute to the poor has increased by a fifth. “The demand is huge and definitely outweighs supplies. We could easily serve double the amount of people if we had the means. And even our current clients would gladly receive more food, if it were available”, said Věra Doušová, head of a Prague food bank in a recent interview for the server Aktualne.cz. More food for the needy might become available starting early next year, where further changes should take place. Large retailers should be obliged to donate all edible food that they are no longer able to sell to charity. To effectively take advantage of goods that would otherwise be wasted is good, but only part of the issue. A much greater and more important challenge is the actual limitation of waste, as consumers throwing away purchased goods only signifies the waste of resources throughout the entire supply chain. Food bought in excess of need falsely signifies greater demand and consumption, which in turn leads to greater production and larger demand for supplies at all levels. If we were to better estimate how much we are able to consume, we might end up with more money in our pockets and less trucks on the road. And that would definitely be worth the effort.
How not to waste food
Plan your shopping trip: Once in the store, buy only the items on your shopping list. Don’t buy in bulk or excessively large packages: you won’t be able to use it all before it expires. Learn how to store what food where to keep it fresh and edible longer. Cook and serve smaller portions: you won’t have to throw away leftovers that you no longer want to eat. Find out about composing: even food waste can be recycled. Don’t throw scraps into the trash but bring them to your neighbourhood composter. With compost, you may even be able to grow your own veggies.
9 — topic
Not all can be beautiful… Without a reservation, one cannot hope to find a vacant place at Berlin’s Restlos Glücklich restaurant. What is so special about this place? Here, food that farmers or retailers would otherwise throw away is turned into delicious meals. Ugly potatoes, carrots and stale bread that supermarket customers would not even look at, all get a second chance here. The restaurant is part of a project founded by a group of enthusiasts bothered by the amount of still edible food tossed every day, only because it does not correspond to common standards of appearance or is past its shelf life. In the Czech Republic, the Zachraň jídlo Initiative has been called to life by people who are similarly bothered by how many food items do not conform to the retail chains’ different norms. The civic association started off with a happening at the National Theatre a couple years ago and conducted a feast for passersby from food that otherwise would have been trashed. A year later, the Crooked Soup event took place at the same venue. The Zachraň jídlo group cooked and distributed more than 2000 cups of soup from vegetables that did not meet supermarket norms. Public interest in the Zachraň jídlo initiative was immense and led to a relatively huge shift on the Czech retail market. Internet grocery retailer rohlik.cz and the supermarket chain Penny Market reacted to the Zachraň jídlo’s call and introduced produce outside of their previous norms into their lines of goods. “Both efforts met with tremendous success: From August to October of last year, Penny Market sold sub-par produce worth CZK 13, 5 million in its stores, and at rohlik.cz, at least one in every four customers now opts for the less beautiful fruits and vegetables in the e-shop’s offer, which has led to the introduction to additional produce for sale,” so a quote from Zachraň jídlo’s web pages. Both retailers have scored points with customers who are bothered by the senseless waste of food. This year, another retailer, Tesco, has joined the campaign to save sub-par produce. It sells such goods also in the other countries in which it operates under its private Perfectly Imperfect label. It may thus only be a question of time until imperfect fruits and vegetables will again be on offer in every Czech grocery store.
Text: Pavla Francová
And again, Sweden is way ahead of us. It is now offering financial rewards to all of its inhabitants who, instead of buying new things, decide to repair the items they initially intended to replace.
The country thus aims to motivate people not to indiscriminately and unnecessarily throw away things that after some repairs may still serve them. The money that will be returned to people willing to display such frugality will constitute part of the VAT paid during the initial purchase of the given item. The governmental offer should include clothing, shoes, bicycles and home appliances. The Swedish government believes that this programme will not only help reduce the amount of trash the country produces, but that it will also lead to the creation of jobs for manually skilled people who may have a low level of education and hence have difficulties find employment. Similar ideas on how to keep trash in check or how to better utilise it are lately cropping up in many corners or the world. As one example, we mention the public buses in Bristol, England, propelled by organic household waste (yes, including that from toilets). Not trash but a resource What a couple of years ago only radical ecologists talked about has become a fashionable topic, discussed not just among individuals but also by politicians and especially entrepreneurs. Trash has become a hot business opportunity. As the world population rises, so do the mountains of trash and with them the desperate quest for utilisation methods. An increasing number of companies have begun to look at trash as a new resource that can be utilised and further appreciated.
At Lego, for example, trash has become an almost unheard of commodity. The company currently recycles and reuses more than 90 percent of its waste, while its ambition is to make it all the way to 100. Firms with similar aims and ideas are gaining ground. Some of them not only fully utilise the trash they themselves produce but create new raw materials that they sell off. Czech company Flexibau, as an example, creates building material from beverage containers. A special technology simply put grinds the containers and then shapes and moulds them under various temperatures to create panels for building exteriors and interiors. Companies like this hence are creating what has now been labelled a circular economy. Even if have never heard of it before, you can be assured that the circular economy will be one of the most talked of topics in the future. “A circular economy describes a ecosystem in which nothing is considered waste and instead everything that is produced can be further utilised. The fundamental aim is to retain water, energy and all material resources for as long as possible within the cycle and without producing any kind of trash”, explains Soňa Jonášová, who heads the Czech Circular Economy Institute.
10 — topic
Back into the game! The onset of the circular economy
11 — topic
Zero waste for all Some big corporate bosses have gotten behind this idea. “The world will continue to demand products and services that are safe and not harmful to the environment and this will lead to a competitive advantage for companies that have taken responsible decisions and have moved on the path to sustainability. They are the winners of the future”, said Frans van Houten, CEO of Phillips. In van Houten’s opinion, the transition from the current linear economy producing a surplus of products and trash to a circular one is inevitable for the sustainable development of our society. The concept of a circular economy reflects the modern trend of attempting to live a life without producing trash, producing zero waste. This movement is gaining ground in the Czech Republic as well, albeit currently only among a few individuals. The corporate circular economy concept has found support on the international level, however. This March, even European parliamentarians voiced their support by passing the Circular Economy Package that includes several directives dealing with waste utilisation. One of the targets of the European parliament is to increase the amount of communal trash that is recycled to at least 70%, to recycle at least 80% of all packaging waste and to have to store only less than 5% of communal waste by the end of the next decade. EU member countries will also have to make it possible for its citizens to recycle textiles, biodegradable waste and oils. “Currently, it appears that the demand for materials within the global economy may grow by another 50% in the next 15 years. To reverse this trend, we will have to support the development of a circular model that will help retain materials and their value in circulation. This is the only solution that is able to combine sustainability with economic growth”, so the commentary of EU parliamentarian Simona Bonafé on the passing of the package.
The Czechs have learned to recycle So far, the mountains of trash are still growing, as is evident from Czech data as well. According to the Czech Statistical Office, in 2015, not only the Czech economy grew, but so did the amount of trash it produced. In that year, almost 27 million tonnes of waste was created, which was 13% more than the previous year. Communal waste came to 317 kilograms per inhabitant. “Even though the amount of recycled communal waste continues to grow year-on-year and the amount of mixed waste is in decline, about half of all communal trash still ends up in landfills”, so the Czech Statistical Office. Positive is, however, that for most Czechs – according to statistics, for three fourths of them – recycling has become an absolutely normal part of life. Whereas in 2015, the last year that has undergone analysis, each of us recycled 42 kilos of trash, fifteen years ago, we only brought 12 kilos to the blue, green and yellow trash containers. According to data from Eurostat, the European Statistical Office, when it comes to recycling and reuse of packaging waste, Czechs are in a decent sixth place in Eurostat’s Europe-wide ranking. Czech exporters are also at the forefront of trash utilisation. Every year, recycled plastics granules worth around a billion Czech crowns leave the Czech Republic. The same resource also gets used within the country and experts predict, that the demand for this material, used in segments ranging from textiles to the construction industry, will continue to grow. It hence appears that starting to look at trash as a valuable resource may make good sense. It would also be a good idea to try to imitate Sweden, a country, where people no longer know what trash is and soon won’t even throw away their old shoes.
Jan Nývlt Associate Manager Management Consulting KPMG Česká republika email@example.com
Ending the existential depression of bank branches
As evidenced by the 2016 KPMG Banking Industry Outlook Survey and the trends in the domestic market, big banks interpret the current situation differently than small and medium-sized ones. Large banks are tackling the issue of branch offices by reducing their number or by opting for the wait-and-see attitude, and they primarily rely on austerity measures or the optimisation of the business model. Small and medium-sized banks, on the other hand, are planning to increase the number of their branches, with an increase in sales being their number one expectation. This behaviour indicates the financial institutions’ tactics as well as the absence of a vision for the future of branch offices and their role in the digital age. On the one hand, today's customers express high demands and expectations “with their feet” (a Gallup survey estimates that 80% of customers consider the combination of digital channels and a branch office critical to their satisfaction), but on the other hand they are rather lazy and opt for the easiest and most comfortable solution. It would be redundant to explain how important it is to continue to develop options for the customer to be served easily and quickly through digital channels without the need to visit a branch. Bankers are well aware of this and have therefore invested heavily in self-care zones of all kinds. Conversely, there are no clues but one for the branch office network: a bank has to come up with a strong reason that would make customers come to the branch office. The solution, similarly to the cause, should be looked for on the customer’s side. A bank needs to determine what role it wants to play in its customers’ life. Let’s work with the proposition that it wants to be the customer’s partner that manages and appreciates his assets. The reason for the existence of a branch office network can be found in situations where clients cannot evaluate their possibilities and cannot identify a better solution
for their situation by themselves. Today’s customers expect their bank to utilise confidential information for their benefit; to spot signals in their product transaction histories, online applications and the public domain; and to warn them if they do not act optimally. The identified opportunities can be grouped into the following three areas: 1. The customer uses the services and opportunities available less effectively than possible. 2. By changing his financial product portfolio, the customer can save or earn money. 3. The customer is facing a new situation that requires him to make an important decision. If a bank effectively identifies the opportunities and convinces the customer of the need to address them, it can follow this up by an interview led by a personal banker with advisory skills, or by planning the customer’s visit to the branch office. The fictitious example in the box shows what advisory covering the first two areas might look like. The third area covers major life decisions such as the purchase of real estate connected with a mortgage. The bank can use this situation to intensify the relationship with the customer. For example, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia provides its customers with all information about the real estate in a specific area and the related prices, helping them assess a potential investment before they commit to a long-term obligation. The proposed scenarios are based on several assumptions: the bank understands and actively manages customer experience; can use customer and public data to identify opportunities that help the customer appreciate his assets; and can develop its branch office staff’s advisory skills. I am well aware of the comprehensive nature of the environment and the transformation that leads to the desired state. At the same time, however, I believe that this change is vital to the success of banks in the 21st century.
12 — finance
The willingness of people to come to a brick-and-mortar bank office has been significantly decreasing. At the same time, however, the share of bank products sold online is low and growing only slowly. We can see a paradox there – while a branch office is a strategic and trust-building tool and the most effective sales channel, the number of visitors keeps decreasing and its operation is very costly.
13 — finance
Model example Dear customer, in accordance with your approval I have analysed your financial history and use of applications for the past year. I would like to present to you several ideas that could help you save six hours of your time, increase your account balance by CZK 40,000 and save more than CZK 5,000 next year. Let’s start with your time – over the past year, you made 148 orders, which is 12 orders per month and 9.5 hours (when translated to the time spent on making these transactions). Half of the transactions are made every month, with the same amount and variable symbol. They could be changed to standing orders. In one case, the amount varies but the recipient is always a telecommunications operator – you could arrange an automatic collection from your account for the operator. If you are interested, I can optimise your orders immediately to allow you to save 5.6 hours of your time.
Number of transactions Current situation 84
New situation 72
Time spent on administrative work Current situation 4,2
New situation 2,15
One-off orders Savings
Let’s continue by looking at your account balance. The account balance is the result of incoming and outgoing payments. I can see that your salary is regularly credited to your account around the 11th day of each month. Unfortunately, the mortgage instalment is debited already on the 7th day of each month. In addition, according to the number of payments and amounts paid through retailers’ payment terminals, I think that you probably don’t have, or don’t use, a credit card. A credit card has two advantages: a zero-interest postponement of the maturity of receivables by up to 50 days and 1% payback from the payments made at retailers. By postponing the maturity of receivables by a month and the due date of your mortgage past the date of your salary, I can increase the available balance in your account by an average of CZK 42,345 per month. This higher balance can earn you money. The minimum balance of your current account for the past year would have grown to a total of CZK 301,000. If deposited in a savings account, this amount would yield an interest of CZK 3,000 per year. If we add the 1% payback from the amount paid with the credit card at retailers, we would come to a total of CZK 5,194. This money would be available to you immediately upon your request.
Current situation 700000 600000 500000 400000 300000 200000 100000 0 1
Final balance in the current account 700000 600000 500000 400000 300000 200000
Transferred to savings account
100000 0 1
Highest balance in the month
Lowest balance in the month
Ideas are plenty, but how to pick the right start-up to invest in? At the Startup World Cup in Prague, eager investors met beginning entrepreneurs.
It was somewhat of an odd spectacle. Massive chandeliers, wood-panelled halls and the gorgeous interior of the Žofín Palace. Those who came to meet in such prestigious premises were of a somewhat different calibre than is usually the case in these surroundings. Mostly young start-ups, their mentors and representatives of large companies met here at the beginning of March. “What can we do to score with investors in the USA?“ a young woman asked at one of the discussion tables, where consultant and banking innovator Stanislav Gálik advised a small group of young start-up entrepreneurs. The Startup World Cup featured a number of such discussion tables where beginning entrepreneurs could meet with both investors and with those whose endeavours were already well on their way. The event, partnered, among others, by the Czech offices of KPMG, drew about 500 participants. This indeed was not some small Czech happening, just the opposite. The Žofín Palace provided meeting grounds for people from at least twenty different countries, while about the same number of countries sent representatives of startup incubators and accelerators. “The whole event has been prepared perfectly and all the start-ups that are presenting here are worth a second look”, so one of the event participants, who had come to the meeting to take a look at interesting investment opportunities, during a coffee break. “I’ve taken note of a couple of companies that I am going to recommend to our investors, so that they can take a look at them”, he added but declined to reveal the identity of his money givers.
14 — investment
Text: Pavla Francová, photo: Startup World Cup; Shutterstock
Aim for the heart!
15 — investment
ShipVio will fight for a million dollar The start-ups vying for the favour (and the money) of the investors brought many highly interesting ideas to the table. The winner of the Prague competition among ten finalist was a Czech business with the name of ShipVio. This start-up will travel to Los Angeles and compete for an USD 1 million investment. ShipVio’s founder André Dravecký likes to describe his company as Uber for the commercial transportation sector. Simply put, it helps to effectively utilise the capacity of trucks, as currently, many of them carry only a portion of their load-bearing capacity, which drives up the cost of transport. ShipVio has developed both a web and a mobile app that links companies that need to transport goods within Europe to those who have available capacity. “We’re able to utilise available loading space”, so André Dravecký for Tyinternety, a start-up webpage. Thanks to his idea, many corporate clients will be able to save up to a quarter of their regular costs for the transportation of packages across Europe. Another important benefit is the lowering of ecological footprints, as the number of individual trips will be reduced. Another favourite to emerge from the Prague Startup World Cup was Mindpax.me, offering analytical solutions for psychiatric care. Monitoring a patient’s sleep and various other physical values with the help of a special bracelet, it offers physicians an analytical tool to predict whether certain mental illnesses are about to recur in a patient. Another Czech start-up, Nanits, introduced a new and different dimension to comics by creating a new interactive platform letting visitors read and create comics. At the Žofín Palace, Nanits’ representatives were able to impress the crowds with music and unique graphics.
Advice for budding companies The event featured regular booths, giving start-ups space to present themselves, discussion tables and presentations by a number of highly inspirational persons. Among them, Pavel Bouška took the time to explain how he managed to turn a small national company into a large international corporation, which devotes more than 70% of its activities to foreign markets. “A startup isn’t MI5 material, it’s not highly confidential. It is much more likely that a colleague or somebody around you will steal your idea, not the investor”, Pavel Bouška explained during his presentation, urging start-ups to talk to their potential investors openly and honestly. He also described what a company’s entry into foreign markets entails. Bill Reichert, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and well-known investor, also offered his advice to the audience. “You have exactly 20 seconds to convince an investor. I used to think that investing is about analyses, data, and so on, when in fact, it is all about the heart. Investors invest in you because they fall in love with you”, so Reichert in his compelling and inspiring presentation. Entrepreneurs who want to convince investors thus have to be honest, speak clearly and simply and not waste the first moments on all kinds on technological details. They should get right to the point and explain of what use their product will be for end-consumers. This, so Reichert, is the only way to succeed in today’s world full of all different kinds of projects.
Startup World Cup 2017 The regional finals of the Startup World Cup 2017 took place on 7 March 2017 in the Žofín Palace in Prague. More than 210 start-ups participated. The ten best projects were showcased on the main stage, while another 21 presented directly to investors. More than 50 investors attended the event. Inspirational speakers aimed at all participants in their talks, and everybody could take part in discussions, engage in networking with other starting entrepreneurs and listen to the performance of Vladimir 518. The winner of the cup was ShipVio and its representatives will fly to San Francisco to compete in the world finals and try for the grand prize of an investment totalling USD 1 million.
16 — investment
Tips for investors When start-ups are the topic of conversation, people usually talk about how they may gain a foothold in today’s business work. Hardly anybody advises investors, however. What should both individual and investment groups look out for when thinking about investing in a budding enterprise? “They should first of all be aware that these types of investments belong among the most risk-prone ones in view of the high mortality of start-ups. It does happen that from a number of projects only one or even none becomes successful”, notes KPMG Legal’s Iva Baranová. No one can deny that the promise of a start-up’s appreciation is tempting, but it does take a considerable measure of patience. Investors who plan to devote their money to this area over a longer time span should prepare carefully and systematically. “Investors also have to expect that in negotiations they will encounter business partners whose worldview and manner of communication differs from their own. Negotiations on the conditions of cooperation might thus not proceed in a way that they are used to”, adds Baranová, while pointing out that all depends on the mutual interest of both parties. “We are certainly prepared to help them find common ground”, says Baranová. As most experts from KPMG Legal have been cooperating with a number of companies for many years, they are quite aware of their investment portfolio. “We can hence alert them to opportunities that might prove interesting for them. Currently, we are considering involving our experts in a mentoring programme for beginning entrepreneurs”, Baranová adds. The experience, knowledge and skill of KPMG Legal may also serve the budding business men and women themselves, as they often have great ideas but not enough time to try to find their bearings in the economy’s legal environment. “First of all, entrepreneurs should decide on the legal form they want their beginning enterprise to have. Whether to start off with just a trade licence or to go ahead and to found a limited liability company. For a number of reasons, the second option may be preferable, not only because it sets a boundary between personal assets and assets that are to be used in the business”, says Baranová. It often happens that several persons get involved in a start-up, and while they may be great friends at the beginning, doing business together will inevitably change the founders’ relationships and some may even want leave the enterprise. Hence, it is highly advisable to found a company right off the bat and to lay down the rules and conditions of cooperation.
Investment architecture demands experience We can prepare a custom-made investment structure, assist you in establishing an investment fund and pave the way for a smooth take-off.
www.kpmg.cz © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
How will future technologies enhance business and people’s lives? This and a number of other similar issues were debated at the DOTS 2017 (Digital Opportunities & Transformation Summit) that took place in Prague in late March this year. The summit was co-organised by Microsoft and KPMG Czech Republic.
At the summit, Microsoft and KPMG introduced a technological innovation – HoloLens virtual glasses, a mixed reality tool that lets you watch and interact with real-life holograms. The glasses thus convey a whole new way of visualising information.
“I myself am a product of technologies”, said Satya Nadella, the chief speaker at the summit and Microsoft’s CEO, referring to his Indian origins and his journey to the leading position of the technological giant. On his first ever visit to Prague, Nadella spoke about how profoundly technologies are changing our lives and businesses and how society is responding to the digital transformation. He stressed how important it is to use the new technological tools to “liberate” human time, productivity and attention. He mentioned several local companies and institutions that use Microsoft technologies (especially cloud technologies) to enhance life and work, including Ekotech and the General University Hospital in Prague. He also spoke about GINA, a student-created cloud application that with the help of GPS navigation can coordinate rescue system teams at the site of natural disasters. "When you change the way you see the world, you change the world you see", so Nadella in his closing words. Turning hype into reality Representing one of the organisers, KPMG’s David Scott spoke about the existence of different types of digital opportunities and about the need to decide what to start with as a company and what one’s priorities are. Concepts such as a paperless office, data analytics or blockchain have been known for decades, but only now their full potential is being unlocked. David Scott, partner at KPMG in the Czech Republic, outlined how to turn hype into reality. In his model, a company should have a team or a person responsible for digital innovation (a chief digital officer) to explore and introduce digital opportunities. He also thinks it is important to keep risks, regulation and cybersecurity in mind and, finally, to correctly evaluate the innovations’ efficiency. Scott also mentioned several KPMG projects, such as a data analytics tool that within several hours can predict where it makes most sense to open fast-food chain outlets and provide detailed estimates of their future sales.
18 — future
Text: Michaela Raková
DOTS 2017: Digital transformation and the future
19 — future
From retail to me-tail “Traditional stores are no longer needed, the world has changed", said Matthew Brown, director of Echochamber, and at the summit gave several examples of today’s modern stores. His advice on how to build a successful and modern business is to become an expert in what you do, help people decide, avoid overloading them with offers, educate them, and remember social networks. According to Brown, retail has transformed into me-tail. Individuals are in the middle of everything and the industry has to adapt to them. As an example, Brown mentioned the Trunk club stores, which serve as huge, stylishly equipped dressing rooms with personal stylists, bartenders or hairdressers. "That’s how men want to do their shopping today, not be squashed into tiny fitting cubicles", Brown said. He spoke about the importance of bringing other services and experiences to the shops that will make customers want to come back. He also mentioned omnichannel – linking customer experience across various digital channels. Brown also brought up the Ted Baker stores that, similarly to Google street view, are completely digitised, and allow customers to purchase items on display online. Other speakers included Gerd Leonhard, the author of the book Technology vs. Humanity, who addressed the future of technology in genetic engineering; Italian manager Carlo Capalbo, who spoke about the digitisation of the Prague International Marathon that he founded in 1995; or cardiac surgeon Jan Pirk who presented innovations in healthcare.
Text: Štěpán Kačena
“Imagine company data as the ocean. Previously, auditors dipped a bucket into the sea and explored only the contents they pulled back out to the surface. Using this method, they could have easily concluded that there were no fish in the ocean. Had they had the possibility to filter through the entire ocean, their conclusions would have been different”, Jindřich Vašina, partner in charge of Audit KPMG Czech Republic, portraying data analytics in audit.
According to the findings of KPMG’s annual international Pulse of Economy survey, 57% of Czech companies work effectively with company data analysis; among IT companies, no fewer than 9 out of 10 do so. Most frequently, companies focus on information about their customers and clients. Data analytics is rather prevalent in domestic companies – three quarters of all firms work with it. Approximately one fifth (22%) are planning to implement data analytics, but a similar proportion of directors (18%) admit that their company has problems in this area. Of companies with a turnover of more than EUR 50 million, 63% confirm data analytics’ positive contribution to their business. In smaller companies with a turnover of less than EUR 9.9 million, this number comes to 44%. “It seems that managers are no longer unfamiliar with data analytics, as they work with it increasingly more often. We see great potential for its development in areas that are currently non-traditional, such as location data services or increasing
customer value, but also in sectors where to date it has been used very rarely, for example in the education system and student care”, says David Slánský, partner in charge of KPMG Czech Republic’s data analytics team. Most companies use data analytics primarily to acquire information on existing customers, focusing on their needs, values, profitability and probability of their leaving. Companies with a lower turnover use it also to search for new clients, whilst companies with a higher turnover focus more on increasing process and cost effectiveness. In respect of risk management, data analytics is used most frequently in the financial sector (61%); here it is often applied when trying to detect fraudulent conduct (51%).
20 — data analytics
More than half of all Czech companies do data analytics
an al yt ic s ra W e th in ar er un usi e c ef fe be de ng on ct ha rst dat sid ive e a vio n a r ly ur din ana ed a g cu lytic le st s/ ad er om er s’
da ta us e W e
It do O es th n er o ta pp ly W to e us ha ve pr ob le m s in th is ar ea W e ar e st ill co ns id er in g us in g da ta Czech Republic 2% 18% 1%
Slovakia 2% 51% 2%
How does your company use methods and processes of data analytics? Analysis of existing customers Increasing process and cost effectiveness Targeting marketing campaigns Risk management Searching for new customers Development of new products and services Market monitoring Analysis of product use Improvement of financial reporting Detecting fraudulent conduct Development of strategies and changes Assisting in service and maintenance Brand analysis through social media Predicting/managing skill deficiencies Monitoring ROI relating to training expenditures Other It does not apply to us
51% 40% 34% 31% 30% 29% 28% 25% 24% 16% 14% 12% 10% 5% 5% 0,5% 3%
A total of 759 senior managers from nine countries in Central and Eastern Europe participated in the Pulse of Economy survey in September 2016. The Czech Republic was represented by 264 respondents, primarily company owners, CEOs and CFOs.
21 — data analytics
an al yt ic s
How effective is your company in using data analytics (data and analytics) to increase its performance?
European scene May’s Marwick Revue invites you to Prague Spring, the capital’s major musical event that has been taking place for more than 72 years. The festival will traditionally be launched by Smetana’s Má vlast (My country), a set of symphonic poems, for the first time in the festival’s history played by the Vienna Philharmonic.
Prague Spring festival opening Prague Municipal House, Smetana Hall 12 May 2017 The 72nd year of the phenomenal international music festival Prague Spring will be opened by the orchestra that many consider to head the list of the world’s best orchestras: the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim. 1
2 David Hockney London Tate Britain until 29 May 2017 Probably the most famous living British fine artist, David Hockney has charmed London with a retrospective exhibition, showing his paintings, drawings, photos and digital art on smartphones and tablets. This event may quickly become the most visited exhibition in Tate’s history.
Art Basel Basel Basel, Switzerland from 15 to 18 June 2017 The renowned art fair in Basel, Switzerland’s cultural metropolis, will again see art collectors and curators from all around the world in June. Leading world art galleries will present works of art of more than four thousand artists at the “Art World Olympics”. 4 Festival in Glastonbury Somerset Somerset, England from 21 to 25 June 2017 The legendary multi-genre musical festival in Glastonbury, taking place in Somerset in south-west England, is known as a festival full of mud and all-star musical performances. For instance, British band Radiohead has promised to attend this year.
Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, David Hockney, 1970–71 Josef Koudelka Paris Centre Pompidou until 22 May 2017 In the Centre Pompidou, the world-famous Czech photographer Josef Koudelka presents sets of his photographs Exiles from 1970s and 1980a as well as yet unpublished self-portraits. The exhibition is entitled La fabrique d'Exils and admission is free of charge.
Text: Anna Batistová
6 Vienna Festival Vienna various venues, Vienna from 12 May to 16 June 2017 The Wiener Festwochen festival shows modern scenic art from 28 countries, mainly performance art but also music, drama, dance and club culture performances. This year, the festival offers star names, such as Hollywood actor Jude Law, who will play Gino in Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of Visconti’s Obsession.
22 — revue
Text: Anna Batistová
Marwick recommends The Thirst Literature Jo Nesbø The eleventh book in Jo Nesbø’s crime series starring detective Harry Hole was published in May. In Oslo, several women are murdered after going on a date via Tinder. Will Harry put his family or the murder investigation first?
Zlín Film Festival Film International Film Festival for Children and Youth If you have children, take them on a trip to Zlín, hosting the International Film Festival for Children and Youth from 26 May to 3 June 2017. The festival belongs among the oldest and largest events of its kind worldwide and commonly attracts around 95 thousand visitors.
World tour Music Foo Fighters Foo Fighters, the legendary US rock band, is coming back to the Czech Republic. Within its world tour, it will perform in the Prague O2 Arena on 27 June 2017. The band around frontman Dave Grohl has promised to perform all their hits.
23 — revue
Frailty, Thy Name is Woman Theatre The New Stage of the National Theatre stage director: Daniel Špinar Daniel Špinar’s Frailty, Thy Name is Woman will have its first premiere on the New Stage of the National Theatre on 11 May 2017. The performance of movement, produced in collaboration between the National Theatre Drama Company and the Czech dance ensemble 420PEOPLE, will feature actresses Iva Janžurová and Taťjana Medvecká, among others.
m3/Art in Space 2017 Exhibition Karlín and Invalidovna From June to September 2017, the m³/Art in Space festival will bring the streets of Karlín and the Invalidovna neighbourhood to life. Art Studio Bubec will install a total of 15 art objects, with emphasis on monumental sculpture.
Lord of the Dance Dance DRFG Arena in Brno, Ostravar Arena and Tipsport Arena in Pardubice Ingenious dancer Michael Flatley, whose show Lord of the Dance made Irish dance famous all around the world, will perform in Czech towns from 9 to 12 May 2017. His new performance Dangerous Games will show entirely new dance acts.
Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
František Skála, Skull’s Mind, 2009, various materials Marwick Revue
Text: Ondřej Krynek, editor-in-chief of DesignMagazin.cz
2 Moser celebrates 160 years of its existence with unique anniversary collection Moser, the world-famous glass company from Karlovy Vary, is celebrating 160 years since its founding. For the occasion, Moser has prepared a unique anniversary collection, consisting of a selection of utility and decorative glass. Vases, bowls, lighting fixtures and glass sets shine with precise crystal glass cutting and engraving as well as colours typical for Moser, often in modern shapes.
Jan Šépka built a fairy-tale Garden House Jan Šépka, a respected Czech architect, has built another remarkable family house in the Kyje Prague district. The construction is reminiscent of a fairy-tale house as its whole weight rests on one supporting pillar. Owing to its round shape, right angles are hard to find in its interior. A large window with a view of Prague warms the heart. The name Garden House derives from its location in the middle of a garden.
The Ferrari 812 Superfast now comes with a new athmospheric 12-cylinder engine.
Ferrari 812 Superfast The Geneva Motor Show has hosted a number of new car models, the most attractive of which was Ferrari 812 Superfast. The current top model of the Italian sports car manufacturer is the successor to the four-year-old F12 Berlinetta, with innovations made both to the exterior and interior design and to power via a new atmospheric 12-cylinder engine, allowing a 0–100 km/h acceleration time of 2.9 seconds.
24 — revue
1 František Skála at Jízdárna František Skála, one of the Czech Republic’s most distinct current artists has opened his Riding School exhibition at the Waldstein Riding School. This unique exhibition, available until 3 September, was designed by Skála himself. In it, the artist offers a comprehensive view of his work for the last thirteen years and includes sculptures as well as lighting fixtures.
The Scandinavian life-style is currently more popular than ever. Marwick Revue
Extra tip If you ask your server for a recommendation, you are likely to receive a surprising answer: “Grilled meat, potato pancakes and beer”.
Scandinavia in Šumperk After returning from a five-year vacation in Norway, it is hard to sink back into Czech stereotypes. Hence, a new Fjord has arisen in Šumperk – a café (offering exclusive coffee from all around the world) combined with a soup restaurant (serving two types of soup a day along with home-made yeast bread and dessert, often prepared according to Norwegian recipes). All of this reflects the Scandinavian lifestyle. “We address local producers and cooperate with small entrepreneurs operating in our vicinity. And we make sure we consume everything we buy, “ explains Eliška Svobodová, one of Fjord’s faces. The café also organises Scandinavian brunches, coffee cupping classes and bread baking courses. 2
Text: Lukáš Rozmajzl, editor-in-chief of CityBee.cz
1 All meat! The popular Čestr restaurant closed in February for reconstruction. However, Ambiente, its parent network of restaurants did not let customers go hungry for long. In April, it opened the new Kantýna (cafeteria) in Prague centre, combining premises with first-republic noblesse with food as if directly from a butcher in a special way. The restaurant focuses on Czech pork and beef and prepares it on an open fire. “We work with the idea of a classic cafeteria – a place where you take a tray, stand in a queue while choosing the meal you like with your eyes, then you pay, eat and leave. But our Kantýna offers food from goodquality raw materials in an environment that entirely differs from a classical cafeteria”, explains Ambiente’s Šárka Hamonová.
Extra tip Ask for Fjord’s used coffee grounds. Along with them, you will also receive instructions on how to prepare a special homemade coffee peeling. Hotel on the border Hardly ever has the opening a three-star hotel caused more attention than the opening of the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem. The project’s author is the street-artist acting under the pseudonym Banksy whose works often cross over into political activism. Here, he again comes close to the edge. The hotel, built from a former pottery workshop, stands just a few metres from the high concrete wall separating Israel from the Palestinian Western Bank of the Jordan River. Guests have thus the world’s worst possible view. The hotel premises offer free access to an art gallery, a bar and a small museum. 3
Extra tip Banksy as the author is also responsible for the hotel’s entire interior design: hotel walls show his graffiti, while rooms feature his furniture and sculptures (such as Baroque busts choking on tear gas or little angels with gas masks). © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
Text: Lukáš Rozmajzl, šéfredaktor CityBee.cz
25 — revue
TOP 3 new venues
Where to find great food and golf courses… Klára Spilková, the best Czech female golfer, shares her tips and experiences from golf trips around the world with Marwick readers.
26 — revue
Text and photo: Klára Spilková
Klára Spilková on the road
My favourite places in London At the start of March, during my winter preparation for the main season, I visited London for three days. I walked from Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace to Big Ben and all the way to Tower Bridge. One of my favourite places is the National Gallery, featuring works of art by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Manet and Monet as well as Vincent van Gogh’s beautiful sunflowers. For lunch, I recommend getting fish and chips at the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen, located in Hyde Park and offering seating by the lake. Where to have dinner in Thailand After London, I embarked on a fortnight trip to Thailand. I regularly go to Phuket, where I can take advantage of superb golf facilities thanks to Erpet and Luděk Eremiáš. I love going for a swim, jogging, working out… I practice on a very pleasant course called Laguna. This year we tried a bit of Thai boxing at a local gym and often had dinner right at a local market.
The thousand-year-old tradition of independent professionals, masters of their trade, has again resurged in the time of globalisation and technology development, transferring its concept also to professions that use their head rather than their hands. No matter the field of expertise, the number of specialists leaving their employers to start their own business is continuously growing. Whereas in the USA, every third person is a freelancer, according to available data, the Czech Republic is currently home to only the first generation of freelancers. Robert Vlach, the most distinctive Czech freelancer, published his book Freelancing with the Jan Melvil publishing house at the turn of March and April. Its nearly eight hundred pages include a detailed analysis of the Czech environment, based on Vlach’s own survey among two and half thousand freelancers in the Czech Republic, and practical advice and experience. The book hence provides guidance on how to start this kind of business and how to deal with the related administrative issues. It also shows how to create a business plan and develop a personal brand. Why should one care about freelancers? For a great number of managers and senior executives, the idea that freelancing involves professions using one’s head rather than hands is still strange and hard to conceive. Nevertheless, it is worth paying attention to while potentially evaluating the benefits it may have for your particular company. Just like you will not call your receptionist’s daughter to repair your broken washing machine, you have no reason not to hire a specialist for the administration of your website or social media profile. But how to find such a specialist among all those who are “in business”? Robert Vlach considers a freelancer’s reputation to be crucial, as it combines a freelancer’s personality and professional qualities built over many years. Vlach’s new publication provides insight into a freelancer’s soul, not only for freelancers themselves but also for clients who work with them. For example, the book reveals why 97% of them are happier or at least as happy as they were when employed. Vlach does not forget the negatives, revealing risks and ways to approach them (such as fluctuations of
income, less free time, etc.). He also provides advice on personal productivity and other issues such as IT security, team building, customer care, pricing and business meeting leadership, which in principle may be helpful to all. The book may thus be useful for both those who already are freelancers and those still yearning for freedom and independence behind the glass walls of their office. Who is a freelancer? A clear definition of a freelancer does not exist. Freelancing may take various forms: an independent professional who works for their own benefit and on their own name; a small limited liability company with a small number of employees; or a closer connection with a client via a long-term contract. The basic pre-condition for success is personal capital, extensive professional knowledge: know-how, education, an informal team of fellow workers, etc. Robert Vlach’s survey shows that the majority (56%) of freelancers are university graduates, which is four times more than the Czech Republic’s average. Freelancers usually use technologies and the internet (often in its mobile form). Usually, they do not work in the same place as their clients and often look for work abroad. Freelancers in the Czech Republic are most often engaged in web design, programming and IT (34%), design and multimedia (26%), marketing and PR (20%) and work with texts (16%). Freelancers usually generate income from their professional activities comparable to the income of top managers working in large corporations; some of the survey’s respondents report earnings of more than CZK 100 thousand a month.
Text: Michaela Raková
27 — revue
1.2 kg of information about freelancing
At ten o’clock every morning, Trifot, David Černý’s twelve-metre sculpture made of stainless steel, awakens at the pedestrian zone near the Nové Butovice metro station. The moving sculpture rolls its eyes, films passers-by and projects their movements onto nearby screens. The sculpture’s body made of old camera models serves to attract customers to a newly established centre of Czech photography: the Czech Photo Centre. In addition to exhibition premises, the centre offers a photo studio, a photo archive and a restaurant.
28 — revue
Text: Anna Batistová, photo: Barbora Mráčková
Czech Photo Centre
29 — revue
The Czech Photo Centre for corporations Is your company located close to the CPC? You can lease CPC’s premises for conferences and company events. The CPC’s professionally-equipped photo studio is also available to photograph your employees or to host private workshops.
Veronika Souralová, director of the Czech Press Photo competition, came up with the idea of a centre for Czech photography. Together with her husband Marcel Soural, director of Trigema, they built the Czech Photo Centre premises as part of the SMART development project, opened by Trigema in Nové Butovice last year. Veronika Souralová is not only the director of the Czech Press Photo competition, but also a photographer, mainly focusing on microphotographs of insects, taking shots of ants, honeybees and butterflies. Unsurprisingly, then, the centre is currently holding the Czech Nature Photo exhibition. “The exhibition shows the best photos of Czech living nature. Visitors can also see unique shots of animals from all around the world,” says Veronika Souralová, director of the Czech Photo Centre. Apart from a large exhibition hall that will be hosting exhibitions of Czech and world photographers all year around, the Czech Photo Centre also features a multifunctional hall that can be used for exhibitions, workshops and accompanying activities. “The hall also serves as a photo studio with all required photo equipment. It is used for evening classes of photography two times a week as well as morning classes for seniors,” adds Souralová. One of the main impulses to establish the Czech Photo Centre was the need to create an archive to safe keep the twenty-two-year history of the Czech Press Photo competition’s award-winning photos for future generations.
A modern archiving system in air-conditioned premises with stable temperature and moisture, custom-built according to the gallery’s needs, is used for storing the printed photographs of all Czech Press Photo competition years. It will also allow for the archive’s gradual digitalisation. A pleasant addition to the gallery is the adjoining restaurant that has become so popular tables must be booked in advance. The Nové Butovice district has recently expanded significantly with both residential buildings and office premises. “People from offices come here in the afternoons; locals in the evenings. The place’s popularity has increased. We are packed both during the day and in the evening and at weekends,” says the centre’s director. The Czech Photo Centre is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am (or 10am at weekends) to 6pm. The entrance fee is CZK 50.
Text: Anna Batistová, photo: Barbora Mráčková, archive Q Designers
When three years ago, Jindřich Fialka established Q Designers, a creative studio, his vision was to make top designs from unused industrial material. The studio’s very first product line – a set of lights for 3M – helped us get to the universal exposition EXPO 2015 in Milan. After that, big corporations expressed interest in our work: KPMG, Skanska or Česká spořitelna. “Our studio has been solving complicated issues through design. In addition to product design, we increasingly often design services as well,” says the young entrepreneur.
Your set of lights was made of materials used to manufacture traffic signs. How did you arrive at the idea of working with industrial material left over from manufacture? Similarly to other designers worldwide, we have realised that the future of manufacturing is circular design. Circular design consists in designing products and services in such a manner that no material is left over, no waste is created and that the products are either fully decomposable or can be disassembled to original materials. We have transformed this idea into reality by using materials from bulk manufacturers and employing a team of designers to create small products in order to save and utilise those materials. We introduced our first product lines in 2015 based on this idea. How were you able to start cooperation with big corporations such as KPMG, Skanska or Česká spořitelna? The success of our lights for 3M (which helped us get to the universal exposition EXPO 2015 in Milan) made us realise that we can make good designs and that we can sell our work all over the world. However, we needed to develop a good business strategy since ecology in itself doesn’t sell. A logical step was to go further and we therefore decided to make custom designs for corporations and help them solve complicated issues. I think that we make a good partner for corporations as we see things in context. We connect two worlds that usually do not understand each other very well – the world of design and the world of business. © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
30 — design
Connecting design and business
31 — design
You have designed unorthodox golf trophies for KPMG. How do you approach such product designs? We are a team of designers who are used to applying creative procedures and methods. In addition, I also studied anthropology, which has an impact on our work. As for KPMG, we carried out a survey among its clients and partners, asking questions aimed at identifying what their business looks like, what the structure of their working day is, what issues and topics they are occupied with, what their motivation is, and what they do and do not enjoy. The trophies were designed to match KPMG’s business model. We want our product to deliver a message to the intended target groups while fitting the context for which we have designed it. Which are some of the other product designs for corporations you are proud of? What we really enjoy at present is service design. It is a demanding discipline that’s difficult to present, as the output is in the form of a service rather than a product. The most challenging project we are currently working on involves customer experience design with respect to a financial product for Česká spořitelna. As a designer studio, we design the whole process so that each step makes sense, people enjoy it and so that it convinces as many people as possible to make the next step, with the whole process presenting a great experience.
How design goodies come into existence Jindrich Fialka reveals the background of some of Q Designers´works.
Notebooks for Skanska “Our task was to design a notebook for Skanska. Again, we conducted a survey among Skanska’s employees and clients. We found that all of them – from site managers over planners and architects to business developers and marketing people – occasionally visit construction sites, and so we decided to use some of the materials that can be found there. The winner was concrete. We sent a photographer to a construction site and brought the graphic structure of concrete right onto the notebook cover through offset printing. We even tried to make one notebook cover from actual concrete but that had a rather negative impact on the product.”
Lights for 3M (see the previous page) “Our very first contract was a collection of six types of lights. All of them were made of materials used in manufacturing traffic signs. Using reflective materials on the lights’ shields is quite witty; plus, they look good. This product line helped us get to the universal exposition EXPO 2015 in Milan, and in the very first year of our existence, when I was just 25 years old, we started cooperation with 3M, one of the world’s major corporations.“
Leather accessories for Wiesner Hager “Our second product line was created in cooperation with Wiesner Hager, a global furniture maker based in Austria that manufactures office furniture from premium leather. As a result, the furniture is expected to last decades. We used leather left over from the industrial production of furniture to make small goodies – clutches, wallets or phone covers. Our leather goodies were hand sewn in a factory that also makes products for Prada, which is a proof of top quality.”
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Golf trophies for KPMG “The golf trophies for KPMG are far from trivial. If you google “golf trophies”, you will get a zillion versions of a golf ball made of crystal. That does not convey any message to people. We manufactured trophies resembling a graph. We had surveyed KPMG’s clients and partners to find out which topics needed to be covered by our design. Our design includes both golf, as it shows the golf trajectories, and aesthetics, as it features the shapes and material expected. It also includes KPMG, as the actual motif of the trophy is analysis, i.e. the materialisation of what KPMG does.”
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© 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s. r. o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative („KPMG International“), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
Text: Luděk Vokáč, photo: Barbora Mráčková © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
Unsolved math problems
Mathematician Miroslav Bulíček devotes his time to specific problems in the analysis of equations that are intended to describe real phenomena. For him, this line of work is also a favourite hobby. This somewhat shy, diligent and maybe also a little strict scientist is living proof that scientific mathematics can be useful and entertaining, albeit for some hard to understand.
RNDr. Miroslav Bulíček, Ph.D. Miroslav Buliček was born in 1979. He graduated from Charles University’s Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. Currently, he works at the Institute of Mathematics of his alma mater. He specialises in the analysis of partial differential equations that serve to describe actual problems of the real world. His latest successes include the creation of mathematical models describing fluid flow. His research results will aid the work of experts in medicine, technology, environmental sciences and other areas of human activity. In 2012, he received the Neuron Impuls award, granting him financial support for his research from the Neuron Foundation. © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
How is that? Emails just don’t work like regular conversation; during personal contact, ideas come to you much more easily; people formulate their thoughts in a different manner. And it’s quick. Emails are for final adjustments. Skype or anything similar doesn’t work well, either. Personal contact is really essential; you need a big whiteboard that you can write on, mark, erase, and so on. And how does this work time-wise; how many hours do you spend on this type of work and how much is left for anything else? Time-management is a problem; there’s never enough time. One has to divide one’s time among one’s family and one’s work. Apart from research, I also have to teach at the university and complete a lot of administrative tasks. That’s the most annoying; I have to respond to a lot of emails, fill out tons of forms. This is all connected with project requests, when you’re trying to get funds for your research; it’s really unpleasant work. But then, as a reward, I can fly to, let’s say, Warsaw and do what I really like to do. But I am definitely not the administrative type.
What were you working on this time in Warsaw? I’ll try to explain it in simple terms. We were trying to homogenise, that is to simplify, a problem so that we wouldn’t have to deal with its minute structure but could look at it as a whole. The classic problems that we are trying to solve have different structures that periodically are repeated and quite difficult to deal with. These cells are very small and there’s a lot of them, whereas the actual overall problem is big. And if we wanted to solve it in a precise manner, it would be very expensive and demanding. Homogenisation takes care of this, it lets us verify whether our solutions make sense and then the problem can be solved in a much easier fashion on the computer. It seems that it is a lot about finding new ways. How is such a quest even possible in such an exact science as mathematics? There are two reasons for this. The first one is that math is very precise and we know a lot, but still there are questions that have not been answered for a long time, even for a 100 years. This fascinates many people and they are trying to solve those questions. Secondly, all subjects are still in development and in medicine and engineering new things are being discovered that need to be described mathematically. Mathematics thus has to come up with tools, verify their functionality and so on. Do mathematicians have something like a holy grail? Yes, definitely. We have the Millennium Prize Problems, seven of them in total, defined at the turn of the millennium in 2000. And it doesn’t happen very often that somebody solves one of them; to date, only one of them has been mastered. And they are not the only type of puzzles we have. Already in 1900, the German mathematician David Hilbert published his 23 problems and while most of them have been solved by now, some of them still remain unanswered. Coming back to the Millennium Prize Problems, one of them is the smoothness of the Navier–Stokes equations, which concerns some of the matters that I am currently dealing with.
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It was difficult finding a suitable date for our interview because you travel so much. How important is traveling in your work? This was quite exceptional: in the last couple of months, a lot of conferences and various workshops and projects took place close to each other. The advantage is that I can travel with just my own head; I don’t really need much more – just a pen, paper, and my laptop to take notes, that’s all. My travels are all of a scientific character; the colleagues that I work with on different projects invite me so that we can work together. Just now I’ve come back from Warsaw where I was working on a project with a team of local colleagues. We needed to make some progress, but it was hard trying to cooperate longdistance. One can try to work together via email, but personal contact is much better.
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What is it about? I was working on fluid flow models; this concerned a concrete problem that fairly general equations can describe. In some cases, these equations are able to describe reality rather accurately. But the cases that we are talking about touch on our real world. These equations would not work, for example, in the area of relativity, in nanotechnology or in quantum theory. What’s more, the equations behave entirely differently in gasses and fluids. It is interesting that in principle, the equations are the same; these mathematical tools are very robust and differ only in small details, maybe even in one line, which ends up meaning a significant difference in the solution to a problem. With gasses, trying to prove things mathematically is a problem – we know that they behave a certain way, but we cannot totally explain it. We so far haven’t been able to show that no vacuum “bubbles” are floating around us. And if we were to solve the smoothness issue of the Navier–Stokes equations, this would really help us a lot.
What does your work on such problems look like? If you have a practical problem, some universal rules still apply. Hence the initial requirement is that the solution be compatible with those rules or principles. Within the validity of these principles, you try to describe the problems with the help of equations that should reflect reality and be as simple as possible. Hence, you’re dealing with two incompatible requirements, so you’re trying to find some kind of intersection that will at least to some degree mirror the problem but that will also enable you to solve it.
Is this your specialisation? Not really, my specialisation is the analysis of partial differential equations. With their help, we then can deal with various problems in different groups. For example, the Czech Republic is home to one excellent group that specialises in the description of fluid flow; other countries have other groups aiming to solve other problems. It is important to follow international trends and that’s why I cooperate a lot with groups abroad.
Do you have an example of this? There is a method that we found 15 years ago, but only recently, it was discovered that it could be used universally for a whole scale of problems. Initially, this very abstract tool dealt with how to approximate functions with other functions. So now, we found out that it is a very simple tool that can be used for a whole number of things, instead.
Can you describe the path of a concrete discovery into practice? In the ideal case, you’re trying to solve something that people in the practical sphere are interested in. Otherwise, we don’t really stand much of a chance to influence the adaptation of our solutions into practice. Cooperation with the practical spheres is often difficult; many times, we don’t concur on the problem solving methods, but sometimes we intersect. It’s hard but entertaining.
Do you always know to what the result of your current research could be applicable? You can have some idea, but it usually is quite erroneous. If you come up with something, maybe after a while you find out that people are using it in a completely different manner and for something completely different from the problem that you initially tried to solve.
Math is quite the bogeyman for many people. But that would be a mistake. I agree with you there, but is there anything that can be done about this? That should be asked of math teachers in elementary and high schools. Everybody needs mathematics; nobody wants to lose money when paying their bill, for example. The mandatory high school math exit exam is not a bad thing.
How would you motivate young people to get interested in doing mathematics? I don’t think that it is possible to make people want to do math at a high level. They have to want it themselves. The actual task is not to discourage those who profess interest. During my studies at university, only about a third of all freshmen continued after the first semester; we who did were the most resistant ones, and I don’t think that’s good. Of course, part of the problem is that the quality of secondary education has gone down; high school graduates know a lot less in mathematics than we did. So, in the first semester, the universities have to take care of all the gaps in their students’ math knowledge. It’s important to keep them motivated, to convince them that it all is worth it. Later on, I have no problem getting students to continue in their studies because we solve a lot of practical problems. People are certainly also motivated by money. Can one earn decent money doing mathematical research? In some areas, like financial and actuarial mathematics, one can earn a good living. But even people with my specialisation don’t have a problem finding work, either. It’s worse for those mathematicians who deal with very abstract problems; their only choice is to remain in academia. But our students are generally in high demand. When someone graduates from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, it is assumed that they have a very smart brain. Somebody like that will be able to do all kinds of things.
Neuron Stories The stories of the young Czech scientists supported by the Neuron Foundation are now available in audio or video format at www.nfneuron.cz. New stories will be added each month and you can thus meet with the talented Czech scientists anywhere you please – even while in public transport or strolling in the park.
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But I guess the uniform test should be set at a somewhat lower level, so that people wouldn’t need to be afraid of it. A successful exit exam does not really serve as a quality guarantee for universities.
Millennium Prize Problems
The seven most important unsolved mathematics problems, stated in 2000 by the Clay Mathematics Institute. For each solved problem, the institute is offering USD 1 million in prize money. (Source: Wikipedia)
The P versus NP problem The P versus NP problem is the only one of the problems that concerns computers. The problem asks whether the complexity class P equals the complexity class NP, i.e. if a problem that can be verified in polynomial time can also be solved in polynomial time. In general, it is held that this is not the case and that there indeed are complex problems that cannot be solved in polynomial time and that are harder to compute than to verify.
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2 Hodge conjecture The Hodge conjecture concerns topology and claims that for projective algebraic varieties, every Hodge form is a rational linear combination of algebraic cycles.
Poincaré conjecture The Poincaré conjecture also concerns topology and is the only one of the seven problems that has already been solved. In 2003, Grigorij Perelman provided proof for the conjecture and in August 2006, the correctness of this proof was verified. The conjecture states that every simply connected, closed 3-manifold is homeomorphic to the 3-sphere. 3
Yang–Mills existence and mass gap The Yang–Mills equations describing the behaviour of elementary particles are a generalised version of Maxwell’s equations, but are not formulated as rigorous mathematical theory, which is the exact requirement of this problem. An important part of this theory is the mass gap hypothesis, concerning any assumed solutions to the Yang-Mills equations. Among other things, the hypothesis would explain why electrons have mass.
Riemann hypothesis The Riemann hypothesis is the only unresolved problem from the original set of Hilbert’s 23 problems. Formulated in 1859 by fellow German Bernhard Riemann, the hypothesis elegantly combines mathematical analysis and numbers theory and is deeply significant for the distribution of prime numbers, as it claims that the Riemann zeta function has its zeros only at the negative even integers and complex numbers with real part ½. Some mathematicians consider it the most important unresolved problem in pure mathematics. 5
Navier–Stokes existence and smoothness Navier-Stokes equations are partial differential equations describing the flow of fluids and gasses. The equations were formulated in the 19th century, but to date it has not been proven whether the equations with their given initial conditions even have solutions. The successful resolution of this problem would contribute to a greater understanding of turbulences, e.g.
7 Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture The conjecture claims that for a certain type of equations a relatively simple method exists to assert whether an equation has a finite or indefinite solution in rational numbers. For general Diophantine equations, Matiyasevich’s theorem has since been used to prove that many problems from calculus and differential equations are unsolvable.
“It looked like the Baobab tree on the Little Prince’s planet. I hadn’t seen anything like it”, Lenka Hrubá, owner of the Zahrady na niti (String garden) shop, describes her first encounter with a levitating kokedama plant. And indeed, walking into her studio and shop on Školská street in Prague 1, you can’t help but feel that you have arrived on a different, a more beautiful planet.
Text: Anna Batistová, Michaela Raková, photo: Barbora Mráčková
Levitating plants and glassenclosed micro worlds
苔玉 aka kokedama (Japanese for “ball of moss”) is a Japanese method of planting in a ball of soil wrapped in moss. The Zahrady na niti (gardens on a string) shop is the first to produce and sell kokedamas in the Czech Republic. As its owner Lenka Hrubá explains, the enterprise started only by chance: “I got my first kokedama when my husband brought it back as a gift from a trip to Amsterdam”. At that time working as a landscaping architect, Lenka began to research the unknown growing method. Once she discovered kokedamas’ secret, she fell under their spell and soon started producing her own ideas, utilising not only traditional Japanese vegetation but also regular European indoor plants, to make their care as easy as possible. Poplar interest in the unusual interior decoration soon grew and in 2012, Lenka left her original profession and opened her own studio and shop on Školská street. Today, Zahrada na niti sells not only kokedamas, which remain their hottest seller, but also aeraria, remarkable micro worlds within glass spheres, various designer garden accessories, bird feeders, nesting boxes and lanterns. What are the shop owner’s plans for the future? “I don’t plan. I don’t like stereotypes and I don’t like doing the same over and over again. I have the urge to discover new things and because I travel a lot, inspiration comes to me on its own. I don’t know how my shop will look like in six months or a year. It all depends on what will catch my eye in the meantime”, explains Lenka Hrubá.
42 — business lifestyle
The suspended aeraria (from the Latin aer – air) of different shapes and sizes come into being in a Czech glassblowing workshop according to Lenka Hrubá’s designs. “I fill them with succulents, orchids, bromelias and create a kind of micro-world in glass. It’s fairly difficult and delicate work to plant them through the small openings in the spheres”, laughs Lenka Hrubá.
Zahrada na niti’s novelty are Marimo moss balls – an algae that takes on a circular form and originally grows in a lake on the Japanese island of Hokkaidó. “It’s a freshwater alga that you can grow at home in your aquarium,” says Lenka Hrubá.
Traditionally, Japanese kokedamas were placed on ceramic or porcelain decorative plates or bowls; only over time came to be suspended in air. Lenka Hrubá likes to hang her creations on fine nylon wire: “I think that the fun and interesting aspect is that they are suspended freely”.
To have the kokedams grow under the best conditions, Lenka Hrubá prepares her own potting soil from Czech and Japanese substrates. “One needs to know where a particular plant species grows and then decide what soil it will need and what needs to be added to accommodate the particular plant”, she explains.
Suspended kokedams are an amazing way to liven up any interior and an interesting alternative to regular houseplants. They fit anywhere and harmonise with any design style. “Their biggest fans are people who have small children or pets, because they were continuously losing the plants they kept on their windowsills,” explains Lenka Hrubá.
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Care of kokedams is similar to that of potted plants; all that’s different is the watering method. “You take the kokedams off their hook, suspend them in water for a couple of minutes so that they absorb water and then you leave them on a plate or something for a while. When you then return it to its hanger, it won’t drip anymore,” says Lenka Hrubá.
Glucose-measuring hardware for diabetics, using disposable electrochemical-based strips. Most innovative about the device is its miniature size, batteryless operation and synchronisation with smartphones. Diabetics can easily manage, save and use measurement data to calculate their insulin doses. Data can then be easily exported and charted or shared directly with diabetologists or patients’ relatives.
When someone starts to talk about the treatment of diabetes, it is clear that some very courageous statements will be made. Courage is definitely something that Marek Novák, student and inventor of a new type of glucose meter, has in abundance. Despite having won the Werner von Siemens Award this year, Marek remains realistic. “There is light at the end of the tunnel. The road towards it may be long, but traveling on it will be helpful.”
Marek Novák A student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of Prague’s Czech Technical University and the inventor of an innovative glucose meter, Marek Novák inherited his science and technology talent from his father, a software engineer and application developer, and his fondness for natural sciences from his mother, a secondary school biology and chemistry teacher. His first attempts to build electronic devices were made in his adolescent years. For the last four years, he has been developing medical technology and co-operating as a freelancer with the Applied Development Department at Charles University’s Institute for the Study of Obesity and Diabetes. The idea to develop a new glucose meter came to him while watching the show Hydepark on Czech TV, where they talked about a million of diabetics in the Czech Republic. "I did not think this was such a serious problem. I started to study this topic more and this is where I ended up. We still have long way ahead of us, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and we are getting closer." This year, he won the Werner von Siemens' Award for excellence in development innovation.
Text: Richard Valoušek, photo: Barbora Mráčková
A student giving hope to diabetics
What makes you so optimistic? Diabetes has been known since as early as 1 500 BC and is still considered an incurable disease. I am motivated by the experts I’m working with. We are not only fully researching the glucose meter itself, but also the treatment of diabetes. It turns out that the biggest progress in treatment results comes from adhering to prescribed regimens. Hence, it is essential that diabetes patients be highly disciplined. However, that is often still not the case; many people underestimate the disease. Yes, and that’s why we’ve developed the XGLU glucose meter, which will help people to stick to their treatment regimen. What is so unique about it that will change the treatment of diabetes? The meter has a number of advantages. One of them is its shape; it’s basically that of a credit card. Everyone has a couple of them in their wallets so an extra one should not be a problem, but instead could become a diabetic’s standard tool. Nobody leaves their house without their wallet and if they do, they’ll go back and get it. If the glucose meter came in a different shape, it would have to be carried separately and could be easily forgotten. How did you come up with the shape? The glucose meter itself could be much smaller than a credit card, but it’s the antenna for data transfer that helped to shape it. So, when deciding what shape to choose, I came up with this. I believe people will get used to carrying it with the other cards they use on a daily basis.
the kids have not measured their blood sugar for a long time and can thus remind them. In turn, the application will transmit the measured values and the parents can then make sure that their child takes the right insulin dose. So, after the measurement, the meter tells them their recommended dose? That’s one of the basic parameters of our application, and it’s quite a common feature of today’s insulin pumps that are part of continuous glucose meters. The difference is that we can transfer the information via phone to the diabetic’s guardian; be it their parents, relatives or even a doctor. What if the recommended dose is incorrect? After all, a mere computer calculator does the recommending, not a doctor. The mechanism has been tested for a number years, and it will only recommend a dose. The exact dose of insulin will always depend on the diabetics themselves. However, I am convinced that with accurately measured values, the calculator can determine the amount of insulin to take quite precisely. You personally do not suffer from diabetes; neither does anybody in your family. What inspires you? Where do you look for new ways to treat diabetes? We cooperate with a number of diabetologists and dozens of diabetics of all ages with varying degrees of diabetes. It wouldn’t be possible without them. They help us see their treatment from all kinds of different angles. You have been researching the new glucose meter, XGLU, for a number of years. When did you first realise that it could become a real pioneer among similar medical devices? When I first met Veronika Peterková from TechSquare. To our team, she brought an experienced salesperson, an investor and a lawyer. It was like in a fairy tale, suddenly, I was surrounded by a strong team to help me penetrate the medical devices market.
The shape is truly unique and has already appealed to a number of pharmaceutical companies. What else makes the meter so exceptional? Crucial is that the meter can be connected to a smartphone not only to charge it but also to download data. Within several seconds, information on a patient’s condition reaches whoever is supervising their treatment, i.e. parents in case of children diabetics, or adult children in case of elderly diabetics.
That seems to have accelerated the development. Still, it’s been a year since you introduced your glucose meter’s prototype to the public. Is there no reason to hurry? Not really. We do not want to be a typical start-up project that enters the market quickly, produces hundreds of pieces and then disappears as fast as it appeared. We are interested both in the product itself and in diabetes research and treatment. That is why we are working with leading Czech experts. The various conferences where we introduce XGLU also have a tremendous impact on us.
So, do you expect that if patients themselves aren’t disciplined, their surroundings will remind them that it’s time for their insulin shot? Exactly. Take, for example, children who are at school, at a summer camp or on a school trip. With the help of the XGLU application now under development, their parents will see that
Besides XGLU itself, a diabetic needs a needle and special strips for the measurement. Will they be part of the set? They are standard for the set and what’s more, we would like to cut their price to make them more affordable for everyone. The price of seven to ten crowns per stripe keeps people from measuring more frequently, and this is something we would
46 — interview
Marek, you seem to be absolutely convinced and determined that one day the cure to diabetes will be found. Can you say how far you’ve come? If I were to say anything else but that we have only taken the first few steps, I’d be lying. Still, I think we are making significant progress in research that could in the foreseeable future at least improve the condition of acute diabetics.
Diabetes in the 21st century
Diabetes comes in two basic types: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, resulting from absolute or relative insulin insufficiency. Both diseases have similar symptoms but different causes. In the early stages of type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys pancreatic cells that produce the insulin hormone. It is therefore classified as an autoimmune disease. Type 2 diabetes is caused by the decreased sensitivity of the body’s own tissue to insulin. In the Czech Republic, every tenth person suffers from these problems.
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People behind XGLU
like to put an end to. Another benefit for diabetics is that after the measurement they will need to enter only a minimum of information to find out their ideal insulin dose. This will facilitate and accelerate the whole process, without affecting accuracy. The XGLU first appeared more than a year ago. When can we expect an upgrade, including the features we just talked about? We would like to launch it early next year. In the meantime, we will do more research and testing. We will continue to focus on research, as we find it most crucial for our future work. I personally put great emphasis on it and hold all the medical experts cooperating with us in the highest esteem.
doc. MUDr. Jan Polák, Ph.D. Head of the Institute for the Study of Obesity and Diabetes at the Third Faculty of Medicine of Charles University, Jan Polák serves as an external consultant to the XGLU project and is currently co-drafting a feasibility study for mobile applications with Marek Novák. Ľudovít Emanuel With more than 17 years of experience in international companies in the field of system integration and foreign trade, Ľudovít Emanuel serves as XGLU’s executive director. His extensive contacts in business and manufacturing allow him to respond quickly to incentives and requirements for entrance to the market.
XGLU and your unique approach both have appealed to a number of renowned pharmaceutical companies. How often do you get job offers? Today, I’ve gotten two (laughing). But I’m not considering any of them, as my team and I have set up our own company and are following our dream, which is to improve the health status of diabetics and to find a cure for diabetes one day.
Veronika Peterková Within the XGLU project, Veronika Peterková is responsible for its business and marketing strategies. She has more than 10 years of experience in project management in large corporations, but now devotes her time helping viable start-ups gain a foothold in the market.
Your courageous statements make you appear very confident. What would help you most to make the development of XGLU and your research progress faster? That’s easy: money, of course. It is the same as in any other field. We are still looking for investors to support us. Of course, we also get offers to sell the whole project, but we do not want to do so just yet.
Jiří Štráberger At XGLU, Jiří Štráberger is responsible for marketing and economic analyses, based on which he drafts budget, business and economic plans. He has gained experience in large corporations with team management and creation of business strategies.
In 2011, they decided to help families affected by serious illnesses. Together, they founded the Good Angel (Dobrý anděl) Foundation, endowed it with CZK 25 million and created a schedule that would make sure that after five years, the foundation would be able to stand on its own feet without their financial help. And they were successful; their plan worked. Petr Sýkora and Jan Černý created a unique brand, involved several significant personalities of the Czech economy and got more than 70000 Czechs to offer their help to families in need. Dobrý anděl – Petr Sýkora, Jan Černý Together, they founded, built up and sold Papirius, a company that since 1993 had been delivering office supplies to Czech companies. Together, they decided to invest part of their profits into a charitable project and founded the Good Angel Foundation. This organisation helps families whose members, be they adults or children, have been afflicted by oncological or other serious long-term diseases. These families frequently find themselves in dire need, as they often have to make do without one source of regular income and additionally are facing insurmountable expenses related to the medical treatment of their family member. Since the foundation’s inception, more than 70 000 Czechs have gotten involved and have offered a helping hand to over 4000 families. All the money the foundation collects goes to benefit families in need. As the foundation’s administration is financed from the resources of its founders and other philanthropists, the motto of the foundation, ‘Down to the Last Haler’ is being perfectly fulfilled. © 2017 KPMG Česká republika, s.r.o., a Czech limited liability company and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.
48 — CSR
Text: Richard Valoušek, photo: archiv Dobrého anděla
Financing built on respect
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The five-year history of the Good Angel Foundation speaks not only about the quality of the script that founder Petr Sýkora wrote for it, but also about the sensitivity of his partner Jan Černy and the inspiration both men got from a project of Andrej Kiska, the President of Slovakia, who won the hearts of his citizens with a foundation bearing the same name. “It was President Kiska who showed us which path to take”, admits Petr Sýkora. His business partner for many years Jan Černý, adds: “We still had to be very careful, because the situation in the Czech Republic was different. We knew of a number of established and respected foundations. We still believed that we could be successful, but I do have to admit that neither of us expected such a huge success.” So what kind of numbers are we talking about? Well, how about almost a billion Czech crowns donated by the Czech public to families that owing to the serious illness of one of their members are facing a seemingly insurmountable crisis. Or the financing of the foundation’s operations through the generosity of the foundation’s numerous partners. “Thanks to our partners we no longer have to invest our own finances into the foundation, even though we still intend to do so. What’s more important is that from the beginning we have been able to pass on every single haler that we get from the public to the families, because our foundation’s operations are financed by our means and the means of our partners. Just imagine, to date, more than 70 000 people have gotten involved and have donated money. This number not only shows that Czechs indeed are willing to help, but also that the entire concept of the Good Angel Foundation is founded on total transparency”, says Petr Sýkora. For most of the partners, now an indivisible part of the foundation, it was especially Sýkora’s determination and enthusiasm that made them want to help. Sýkora confirms: “The greater half offered financial help of their own accord. And practically all suggested the amount that they would be able to contribute. At the heart of it all was one of our four principles – respect”. Naturally, at the beginning, the founders were concerned whether they would be able to pull off such a responsible undertaking. “Just as at the start of any kind of new project, it was to be expected. The non-profit sphere was not perceived in a very positive light; five years ago, public opinion was already dominated by talk about corruption and embezzlement. We worried about gaining the trust of people and wondered how they would receive the unique idea behind the Good Angel. I do think, however, that it was the principle to give away funds
down to the last haler in particular that decided about the foundation’s success”, says Jan Černý. For the model to work, the administration of the foundation had to be financed by monies entirely separate from the public’s donations. The foundation’s first five years were to be funded by CZK 25 million supplied by Sýkora and Černý. “The sum was inspired by Andrej Kiska. In Slovakia, he gave 30 million Slovak crowns for the founding of the Dobrý anjel foundation,” explains Sýkora and Černý adds: “We estimated that this amount would serve us for about five years. It turns out that our estimate was very close“. “We had several scenarios and this was one of them. You know, I like working with scenarios and opportunities if possible, and here they worked out”, says Sýkora. At the start, his job was to bring in partners, not only of the financing kind. “During the first five years, I was constantly on the phone, writing emails or talking to people. Even then I was convinced that it would not be most important how a given partner could help, but who this partner was”. The foundation’s first partner was Ondřej Fryc, the founder of MALL.cz. “Ondra got involved together with his wife Tereza; I really liked their courage”, says Sýkora and remembers another interesting get together with a new partner. “This was with Ms Valová and her son Víťa from SIKO bathrooms. Víťa first subjected me to a two-hour cross exam. His aim was not to catch me at something but to really understand everything in detail. Then we walked in the summer heat down a very busy Prague street to their office, with Ms Valová wearing high heels. That for me confirmed my belief that they type of help is less important than the type of people that are helping“. The Good Angel’s first five years have passed and the foundation has become a highly respected and renowned address, where helping means gaining a bit of respect for oneself as well. That is one more reason why, apart from financial partners, the foundation has another three hundred people that help the foundation with their services and with what they do best. “Their trust is indispensable for us”, Sýkora concludes. If all goes according to Sýkora’s well-liked scenario, in three years’ time the amount of money the public will have donated through the Good Angel Foundation to families in need should exceed one billion Czech crowns. “I’ve not calculated it this way. Instead, I look at the whole undertaking with respect and its long-term perspective is something that we need to foster and cultivate”.
Help in numbers
Money donated to date
CZK 447 108 326,63
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Number of Good Angels
Good Angel’s supervisory board through the eyes of Petr Sýkora All of them are inspirational, some of them I knew before and some I met through the foundation. Every matter attracts a specific circle of people and the Good Angel Foundation brings together people that have a lot of things in common. Milan Vašina (general director, T-Mobile) He was the one who in 2010 invited Andrej Kiska to the Czech Republic to tell us about the Slovak Dobrý anjel foundation. I’ve known Milan for a long time and he helped us a lot, and not just in the beginning. Tania le Moigne (director, Country Director, Google Czech Republic & Slovakia) She was also present at Kiska’s presentation. From the start, she’s been trying to explain to us that the Good Angel is actually a digital organisation. She’s helped us a lot. Lubor Žalman (co-founder of consulting company Encor) He was on the supervisory board when he was the head of RAIFFEISENBANK. Both Lubor and the bank helped us tremendously –with both the setting up of payment solutions and now with financing.
Pavel Kysilka (economist, former governor of ČNB and general director of Česká spořitelna) Years ago, we met in the Himalayas, at Karakoram. There, I had plenty of time to understand Pavel’s kindness and wisdom. We always talked about how nice it would be to work together as well, and now it’s happened. prof. MUDr. Jan Starý, DrSc. (head of the Paediatric Haematological and Oncological Clinic of the 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague and Motol University Hospital) Prior to founding the Good Angel foundation, I didn’t know the professor. He brings to it an expert medical view and thus balances out the purely entrepreneurial thinking of the rest of us. Andrej Kiska (President of Slovakia and founder of the Slovak Dobrý anjel) Despite being incredibly busy, he is always available, heartwarmingly kind and full of practical ideas. He often comes to Prague just to participate in both formal and informal meetings of the foundation.
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