As location turns into irrelevant, Greek VCs eye native expertise and unfold their wings – TechCrunch

As location becomes irrelevant, Greek VCs eye local talent and spread their wings – TechCrunch


In line with a current report on Greece’s startup ecosystem by administration consultants Discovered.ation, enterprise capital and enterprise debt have continued to develop within the nation, though its angel scene stays low-key.

Oddly sufficient, 2020 was a banner 12 months, with the sale of InstaShop to Supply Hero valuing the corporate at $360 million, making it the biggest exit for a Greek-founded startup with operations in Greece.

The pandemic has meant Greek buyers and startups notice that if they’ll work from wherever and rent from wherever, then Greece shouldn’t be such a foul place to be. And the Greek VC market advantages because the diaspora returns from the mega cities of the West. The nation’s startup ecosystem can be attracting extra exterior buyers, who see low capital prices, an informed workforce and the transfer to distant working/hiring.

Bessemer Enterprise Companions, Perception Enterprise Companions and FJ labs are all backing Greek startups, and Microsoft accomplished its first acquisition within the nation.

Greek startups and buyers are additionally extending collaboration with close to neighbors in Cyprus, Romania, Albania and Bulgaria.

Traders in our survey mentioned they had been excited by sectors similar to infrastructure, agtech, cybersecurity, proptech, environment friendly software program, renewable tech and platforms geared toward serving to the restoration of blue-collar jobs.

Had been they seeing inexperienced shoots after the worst of the pandemic? Sure, however nonetheless small.

Traders are spreading their wings exterior of Greece “as location turns into irrelevant and work-from-anywhere the brand new customary” though “the native ecosystem is all the time a precedence.”

Right here’s who we spoke with:


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Panos Papadopoulos, associate, Marathon Enterprise Capital

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

Infrastructure, agtech, cybersecurity, environment friendly software program.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

Hack The Field (the biggest cybersecurity playground on this planet).

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

Infrastructure software program is way from being optimized and leading to big payments. There’s a lot to be performed to leverage trendy {hardware} structure to make issues cheaper and simpler to function.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

Trade individuals fixing their trade.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

Information administration/analytics is oversaturated.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

Greater than 80%, we function in underserved market and luxuriate in preferential pricing.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are corporations you might be enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?

Transport is an apparent one however we don’t assume enterprise returns will be completed on this house.
Our portfolio firm Netdata is altering IT monitoring. Large OSS group and $30 million raised so removed from Marathon, Bain and Bessemer.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

Get to know the individuals first and the place they’re coming from (culturally).

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

Sure completely, huge costly cities will drain expertise to their peripheries (not going very far TBH).

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Journey is the plain reply.

We see a whole lot of alternative in software program rebuilding, consolidation. There may be actually an excessive amount of software program duct taped collectively. It’s costly, tough to run and creates silos.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

It hasn’t modified something actually, we simply need founders to have the ability to use solely on-line channels. Firms with a {hardware} part are extra challenged however even they need to innovate on help, which turns into a web optimistic if/when achieved.
Advise to startups: If you’ll find cash sweep it.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

Distant work might change into an important equalizer or at the least give extra alternatives to individuals dwelling removed from the massive hubs.

Another ideas you need to share with TechCrunch readers?

I believe investing in native/geographical ecosystems shouldn’t be a lot in regards to the regulation/economies of the ecosystem however relatively the tradition. Really I used to be engaged on an article about that I needed to share with TC 🙂

Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou, founding associate, Velocity Companions

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?
Future of labor, enterprise software program, edtech, AI.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

Intelligencia.ai — supporting drug discovery with ML and Massive Information.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

Edtech is a massively untapped market, particularly in vertical schooling and non-English-speaking content material.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

Given the stage we put money into (pre-seed and seed), we’re all the time trying to discover founders with a singular perspective, market insights and understanding.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

Though we’re an Athens-based fund, we’re location-agnostic. Half of our portfolio corporations are based mostly abroad, with the bulk being within the U.Okay., the place there’s a robust group of Greek expats and diaspora.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run?

Given the scale of the native market, which is comparatively small, I imagine by actuality our nation is best positioned for B2B and enterprise software program ventures. The newest exit of RPA startup Softomotive to Microsoft (Might 2020) validates simply that. Two corporations I’m enthusiastic about are Intelligencia.ai, which helps huge pharma corporations predict and speed up scientific growth of recent medicine, and Netdata. Netdata is an open-source system for monitoring purposes, servers, containers and units in real-time.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

Greece has just lately began to get extra traction and headlines in worldwide publications, Softomotive’s exit as talked about had been excellent news for the native ecosystem, along with a couple of up rounds for Athens-based startups similar to TileDB, Plum and others.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

Completely, as location turns into irrelevant and work-from-anywhere the brand new customary we count on extra founders to emerge from much less profound locations. Mind-regain may also be a big driver, as an increasing number of individuals will return to their dwelling international locations.

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Journey tech is profoundly negatively affected by the pandemic and whereas it’s actually early to inform when and the way journey will reemerge, I see little alternatives there for the following 12 to 18 months.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

For our post-revenue investments, money movement and its affect on runaway is the largest problem. Our pre-market, pre-revenue startups are much less affected. Fundraising for the following spherical is a serious concern and problem for all. We strongly suggest continued monitoring and cost-cutting the place and if wanted. For his or her fundraising methods, we suggest elevating extra money, successfully extending their runway to 18-24 months. In instances the place their splendid fundraising situation is now not a viable possibility, we recommend smaller rounds — emergency financing driver primarily by current buyers — that can help the businesses till the market is much less risky.

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income development, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?

We’re seeing fascinating areas for development as a few of our corporations determined to partially pivot their core product providing or market phase focus. An amazing instance is MyJobNow an area blue-collar market startup. Their preliminary product was concentrating on blue-collar staff utilizing classifieds. Simply earlier than the COVID pandemic, the corporate launched a second product, staffing on-demand service for supply and last-mile transportation. The product confronted important and accelerated adoption by retail purchasers and e-commerce ventures as the necessity for last-mile supply was considerably and positively affected by the lockdown.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

Most founders confirmed a mixture of good reflexes, empathy and enterprise readability in the course of the first months of the pandemic.

Another ideas you need to share with TechCrunch readers?

A key parameter that can tremendously have an effect on the following part of the native scene is for brand spanking new first-time founders to have the ability to entice preliminary angel and pre-seed funding, as entry to €50,000-200,000 tickets remains to be problematic and restricted. We have to improve the funding numbers on this stage in an effort to enlarge the footprint of the ecosystem and create a robust bottom-up startup funnel.

Aristos Doxiadis, associate, Massive Pi Ventures

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

I most prefer to put money into radically higher options to very fundamental issues, similar to stopping illness, or meals provision, or growing productiveness in small corporations. That is the social context of the fourth industrial revolution, and the place a few of the nice success tales of the following 10 years will probably be.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

It’s a troublesome selection, however I decide 2bull MeDiTherapy. They’ve developed a singular blood take a look at for prognosis and prognosis of aortic aneurysm. These is a quite common “silent killer,” that might solely be recognized so far by cumbersome and costly imaging methods. As soon as the take a look at will get the required CE mark, we hope it will likely be extensively adopted as a screening technique throughout Europe and the U.S.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

In agritech, I haven’t seen a lot that might assist small farms in tough terrain to extend productiveness, safe high quality or exploit distinctive area of interest varieties. That is doubtlessly an enormous alternative in lots of rising economies in addition to within the Mediterranean.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

Ideally, a device that may resolve a elementary manufacturing bottleneck throughout a number of industries, and that’s based mostly on years of analysis and has robust IP. An instance from our portfolio is Navenio, which has location resolution for individuals and tools in massive indoor areas, that’s infrastructure-free and requires no bodily mapping. This has purposes in hospitals, purchasing malls, logistics facilities, railroad stations, and many others.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

We see too many purposes for e-commerce and repair marketplaces. Most are copycats, however even when there’s a new idea someplace, community results and economies of scale are prohibitive for nearly all new groups.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

By our mandate, we make investments solely in corporations which have a considerable presence in Greece. This often means an R&D middle and/or product growth crew. Inside Greece now we have no particular desire for Athens, our dwelling base, however a lot of the good offers we see are there.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run?

Greece has robust analysis groups in biomedical science, and numerous medical doctors with worldwide expertise and networks. I count on that well being tech and medtech will probably be an enormous development sector. One other space is HR tech: Workable (a number one applicant monitoring system), Epignosis (studying expertise for company customers) and Bryq (a brand new bias-free candidate evaluation platform) have all began in Athens. The primary two have already got nine-digit valuations, whereas Bryq is simply taking off.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

The best benefit of Athens and another Greek cities is the variety of extremely expert Greeks of their thirties, who’re working in expertise or analysis in the remainder of Europe and need to return dwelling. Tech employers can simply entice such expertise if they provide an thrilling and/or well-paid job. These skilled individuals can practice most of the glorious engineering and science grads that come out of native universities. Virtually each firm in our portfolio has performed this. Funding local weather can be quickly enhancing underneath the present authorities, particularly for data industries, by way of varied tax incentives, but in addition by encouraging the analysis group to speak in confidence to enterprise.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

Sure, I count on that, and we’re already seeing this in Greece, as one of many locations of origin of such founders, but in addition as a vacation spot for expertise that’s leaving costly and crowded cities.

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Journey and hospitality will probably be harm. Massive Pi has not invested within the sector (by likelihood, not by design) however some excellent Greek groups had been in there, and inevitably some should transfer to different issues. Nice alternatives come up in distant provision of refined companies (well being, leisure, schooling and in addition tools upkeep and restore).

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

There have been delays in enterprise gross sales, and within the provide chain for {hardware} merchandise. We now have put aside capital to help longer runways, however past that we don’t anticipate a lot harm. Our recommendation to founders is to focus all sources on reaching targets that can allow them to lift the following fairness spherical.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

The Greek authorities designed and applied in report time a logistics system for COVID vaccines, and, most impressively, a really user-friendly appointment platform for the vaccinations that’s working seamlessly. For a state that till just lately was very gradual and inefficient, this was an important leap forward and bodes properly for future digital public companies.

Who’re key startup individuals you see creating success domestically?

All six VC groups that had been funded by Equifund in 2018 have performed an excellent job (Marathon, Enterprise Buddies, Uni.Fund, Metavallon, Velocity and Massive Pi) and have given an enormous enhance to the ecosystem. Founders from Greek diaspora have been instrumental (e.g., Stavros Papadopoulos of TileDB, Vergetis and Skaltsas of Intelligencia, Masouras of Saphetor).

Pavlos Pavlakis, principal, VentureFriends

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

Proptech, fintech and market fashions, focused on each B2C and B2B startups.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?
Influ2 (Individual Based mostly Advertising startup — B2B SaaS).

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

Some buyers draw back from capital intensive fashions e.g., that want a whole lot of debt fundraising and plenty of desire B2B SaaS startups. We like B2C so much, we like operational performs i.e., not pure tech essentially, plus we’re snug with fashions that require a whole lot of debt elevating in parallel to fairness.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

Founders with international aspirations that execute properly a scalable mannequin. The crew and the market measurement are the 2 most necessary components, after which a variety of different components: competitors, timing/market pattern, short- and long-term defensibility/USP, and many others.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

Many markets/areas are oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete — this nonetheless can fluctuate on geography as properly e.g., now we have seen some nice alternatives in LatAm for instance which might be “copy cats” of different fashions.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

The native ecosystem is all the time a precedence. Additionally other than native startups we’re searching for Greek founders throughout the globe e.g., just lately invested in a U.S.-based Greek founder. Nonetheless given the scale of our fund and alternatives on the market we don’t limit our investments solely within the native ecosystem. So way over 50% has been within the native ecosystem (firm or founder) nonetheless as a result of we’re a world (European principally) VC an increasing number of of our investments are from exterior of the native ecosystem.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run?

Blueground is a good instance that we’re enthusiastic about. It’s a proptech portfolio firm of VentureFriends. It’s a Greek firm that we had been first institutional buyers in. Blueground has expanded globally (13 cities in U.S., Europe and Center East) and raised greater than $100 million to this point.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

Athens and Greece typically is certainly an up-and-coming market. Every year there are extra and enormous success tales that encourage the following technology of entrepreneurs. Capital availability is now not a big challenge (given the presence of a number of funds) and Greek has nice and comparatively low-cost human capital — and nice climate 🙂

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

I don’t essentially count on this type of change i.e., extra founders coming from geographies exterior main cities. Nonetheless Greek expertise — as talked about, comparatively low-cost whereas of top quality plus the surge of distant work — certainly has created extra demand and a rise in sure wages (e.g., builders).

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Journey tech is by far essentially the most uncovered vertical. When it comes to alternatives on condition that startups are incumbents and digital options sometimes most verticals can current alternatives. Some apparent ones are edtech, supply/logistic options, e-commerce, and many others.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

No main change in our funding technique in any way. Solely slight change can be to not pursue journey tech alternatives (despite the fact that it is dependent upon a case by case foundation — we had been very shut in investing in a brand new startup on this sector amid the pandemic — they had been doing amazingly properly 🙂 The recommendation to startups which might be impacted is to climate the storm by attempting to be cautious on burn on the one hand, however protect as a lot as potential and construct/work on issues they’ve now extra time to take action (housekeeping, product, and many others.)

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income development, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?

In fact, many if not most of them! Other than our journey tech startups all others have grown in 2020 and recovered from the primary main wave of the pandemic. Some particular ones from our portfolio even tippled in measurement (benefited from the pandemic) — that is the instance of InstaShop that was bought to Supply Hero for $360 million in 2020.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

Despite the fact that 2020 was a particularly unhealthy 12 months on a well being and financial foundation, life goes on and plenty of family and friends are getting married, having infants. I turned an uncle for the third time, so there are some very joyful and hopeful elements of life all the time.

Who’re key startup individuals you see creating success domestically?

Founders are by far crucial ones, after which buyers are necessary to help and finance them. However with out founders there’s nothing 🙂 Blueground, Beat, eFood, Workable, Softomotive, Skroutz, Epignosis and naturally InstaShop are some nice examples with profitable founders who’ve performed an necessary function in inspiring the ecosystem.

Another ideas you need to share with TechCrunch readers?

There appears to be a common transfer from U.S. to Europe and from Europe to Japanese Europe, and from there to rising markets e.g., LatAm and Asia. Undiscovered and fewer aggressive ecosystems which might be on the rise, like Greece, are anticipated to play a extra important function within the years to come back 🙂 We’re enthusiastic about this.

Yorgos Mousmoulas, associate, Metavallon

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

Information/AI/analytics; renewable tech; principally B2B.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

Valk, a safe platform for buying and selling unlisted belongings on the Corda blockchain.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

Nice crew; proprietary, defensible expertise; first indicators of traction.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

Marketplaces, B2C, meals supply, and many others.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

About 50%. We additionally make investments closely in startups elsewhere in Europe (and past) having some connection to Greece, e.g., founders/buyers/advisors, or having it amongst its goal markets.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run?

Maritime; something associated to information and analytics.

Perceptual Robotoics (Kostas Karachalios)
Ferry Hopper (Christos Spatharakis)
Valk (Antoine Loth)

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

This can be a quickly rising ecosystem with fairly a couple of exits previously 12 months (together with our portfolio firm Suppose Silicon, acquired by Applied Materials. We’re beginning to see the acquainted sample of second-generation founders from the first-generation success tales. Connections to a worldwide diaspora are a robust plus. Working/personnel prices are low for similar high quality.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

Lots of people from the Greek diaspora are basing themselves in Greece once more, as they notice they’ll work from wherever; additionally beginning to entice worldwide tech staff attributable to favorable local weather, low prices, and many others.

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Tourism; something requiring on-premises presence.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

We now have continued to speculate on the similar tempo, are simply extra cautious/selective vis-a-vis impacted sectors e.g., tourism, transportation. We now have supported portfolio corporations as wanted with bridge rounds, and many others.

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income development, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?

Sure. CreatorUp is doing tech-enabled distant video coaching and are seeing super income development underneath the circumstances.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

A few of our corporations persevering with to shut follow-on rounds, regardless of the COVID local weather. Even in adversely affected sectors like tourism — that’s validation of the basic soundness of their enterprise mannequin.

Who’re key startup individuals you see creating success domestically?

The NBG Seeds initiative by Nationwide Financial institution of Greece is a serious organizer of occasions, get-togethers, and many others. serving to startups within the very early phases obtain some visibility — and never simply within the main couple of cities.

Myrto Papathanou, founding associate, Metavallon

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

We primarily put money into early-stage B2B corporations and are sector agnostic. Over 80% of our portfolio is from corporations growing proprietary [technology] primarily utilizing ML, AI, cloud, SaaS and analytics. Up to now now we have invested in well being, power, safety, logistics, media and enterprise software program and instruments corporations.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

We simply closed a observe on spherical led by Berlin-based Fly Ventures for one in every of our portcos, Higher Origin. The bio startup is Cambridge- and Athens-based and growing the world’s first insect minifarm that converts native meals waste into high-quality animal feed within the type of insect larvae. It’s resolution combines automation and AI to copy nature’s recycling system. Following spectacular consumer demand, the current funding will speed up its operations and deploy their scalable resolution to a whole bunch of farms throughout the U.Okay. and the world. We’re very enthusiastic about what the corporate is growing and how briskly they’re progressing.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

Europe and Greece specifically are superb locations to develop deep corporations. The extremely certified and dependable workforce, worth for cash engineering, availability of nondilutive finance and newly launched product expertise, enterprise acumen and entrepreneurial ambition are making it an thrilling place for B2B startups. I want to see extra startups tackling power and sustainability issues by way of expertise, I believe there’s alternative and the proper momentum.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

We’re searching for articulate, extremely certified engineers with a enterprise acumen that may execute. Founders which have deep experience in an trade and have recognized the damaged components that their expertise can disrupt.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

On the B2C house, the place we’re not lively, plainly there are a lot of groups engaged on very slender, area of interest issues. Even when profitable, a whole lot of these in my humble opinion are very laborious to create important VC-type returns.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

We’re very centered on Greece and in addition imagine there’s a tremendous alternative within the diaspora. Individuals who left the nation final decade, gained expertise and know-how from different markets and are actually seeing the chance to begin their expertise corporations again dwelling.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run?

We’re enthusiastic about Athens-based Useberry, Prosperty and Loctio.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

The panorama for expertise startups and funding in Greece has fully modified the final three years. The worth of exits and unrealized worth quadrupled in 2020 alone and there’s nice momentum in the intervening time. The presence of early-stage VCs on the bottom additionally helps when it comes to entry to preliminary finance, validation of the enterprise mannequin and its scalability and a worldwide outlook of the companies. At Metavallon we’re joyful to have already co-invested with 20+ VCs, native, regional and worldwide and over 40 angels, often with vertical experience and strategic curiosity in our portcos. There may be nonetheless a whole lot of house. Lastly some corporations created final decade are scaling up and including to the virtuous cycle of introducing beforehand lacking expertise, like product and biz dev and gross sales ops, out there. The whole southeast of Europe is an missed market, which worldwide buyers are actually waking as much as.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

Sure, for 2 causes. First, the world is now flatter and entry to capital and expertise is location unbiased, so long as the expertise constructed has international relevance. The pandemic has in truth created a mini-brain acquire in Greece, with expertise professionals coming again right here and getting concerned in startups as founders, executives and buyers. Second, entry to international expertise and environment friendly distant work are making it laborious to justify the prices primarily in human capital, but in addition peripheral like skilled companies and even actual property, that the standard hubs demand. So I count on to see a surge in corporations arising from beforehand regarded over places.

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Hospitality and journey are in for the lengthy sport when it comes to weathering the consequences of the pandemic. These sectors will want affected person capital and a prolongment of their enterprise plans. We had been impressed to see one in every of our portcos, Ferry Hopper, that runs a ferry reserving engine change its operations in a single day in the course of the pandemic to give attention to native prospects and commuters versus vacationers. These corporations will want fast reflexes and flexibility.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

We now have had little affect in our funding technique as we didn’t give attention to B2C. In a method, funding in very early phases is affected the least as time to a big prolong is spent on product and attending to product-market match. Founders had been initially apprehensive about their runway and entry to capital, a concern that didn’t actually materialize. There is a chance on the enterprise growth aspect for B2B corporations as purchasers have extra urgency to digitalize, innovate and enhance efficiencies. We’re asking our corporations to remain centered, preserve an ear to the bottom and their prospects and be able to adapt.

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income development, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?

Except for the primary two months of the pandemic, retention and development haven’t appeared so problematic. What we’re seeing in instances are longer cycles in B2B gross sales, particularly when purchasers are bigger companies in trade, well being or the monetary sector.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

Faculties reopened in Athens.

George Dimopoulos, founding associate, VentureFriends

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

Proptech, fintech, B2C and journey tech.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

Spotawheel, a web-based used automotive gross sales enterprise! First crew of this class to have expanded efficiently to a second market (Greece and Poland).

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

I want I used to be capable of see extra fintech and particularly insurtech startups coming from Greece. Insurance coverage is an area that’s lengthy overdue for disruption.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

Superb crew, big market and a product that solves an precise downside i.e., the corporate to have the ability to supply a “must-have” sort of options not “good to have.”

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

It will be actually laborious to compete for a {hardware} startup since we don’t have the required background data/experience and our aim is to not convey simply our checkbook on the desk. We need to make the most of our community, know-how and previous expertise for each funding we’re being concerned.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

As VentureFriends we’re fairly an outward-looking crew having crew members in different ecosystems additionally (U.Okay. and Poland). We are going to proceed supporting Greek startups since we will’t afford to overlook out on a tremendous firm from our personal yard however we will probably be investing actively throughout Europe and opportunistically even exterior of Europe.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run?

We’re huge followers of B2C corporations. Greek founders have demonstrated that they’ll use the Greek market as a sandbox after which increase internationally to larger markets. Blueground (Greece, Turkey, UAE, USA) and Spotawheel (Greece, Poland) are simply two current examples.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

I wrote the primary examine as an angel again in 2011 to a Greek startup. Again then a spherical of $200,000 or an exit at $10 million was an enormous deal. At this time these spherical sizes or exits beneath $50 million usually are not even elevating an eyebrow. The aspirations and the arrogance of Greek founders have modified dramatically, fueled by huge rounds and fairly notable exits which have taken place over the past couple of years. We imagine that we’re solely a few years away from the primary Greek unicorn!

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

Probably not. In relation to the Greek ecosystem I believe that the primary 2-3 hubs will proceed to churn out nearly all of thrilling and fascinating Greek corporations. The pandemic will probably be only a unhealthy reminiscence in 1-2 years from now. The necessity to encompass your self with different pushed and succesful individuals and the plain advantages that include this, will just about pull founders and expertise on the cities the place already there’s a vibrant/lively startup group. Within the case of Greece these cities are Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra.

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Journey tech has been and continues to be of curiosity to us. As you may think about it has been hit very laborious over the past 12 months. We do imagine although, that as quickly as a significant share of the inhabitants will get vaccinated and life returns again to regular, journey will resume. First for leisure and ultimately even for enterprise causes. The individuals who may have managed to climate these tough 2019-2020 years will profit so much!

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

COVID-19 hasn’t actually impacted our funding technique. Investing in startups at seed stage is a fairly long-term sort of funding and dedication. Even when an organization as we communicate is dealing with some difficulties, the way in which we method it in an effort to consider it’s by how the corporate will carry out in a extra secure surroundings and/or in a gentle state.

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income development, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?

Someway our portfolio appeared to have achieved a pure hedge. Certainly we had some corporations that confronted some tough occasions whereas we had some others that had been rising by excessive double-digit percentages month over month. The obvious instance was InstaShop (groceries on demand), our UAE funding into Greek founders the place we noticed the corporate triple in measurement in a matter of months and ultimately bringing ahead by 2-3 years our exit to Supply Hero for $360 million.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

The exit of InstaShop to Supply Hero for $360 million for certain has been the spotlight of this 12 months for us. It just about launched us to a different degree each as a fund and to an extent as a Greek ecosystem because it has set the precedent for present and future founders and has cemented the assumption {that a} Greek crew can certainly register an enormous worldwide success.

Who’re key startup individuals you see creating success domestically, whether or not buyers, founders and even different kinds of startup ecosystems roles like legal professionals, designers, development specialists, and many others. We’re attempting to spotlight the movers and shakers who outsiders won’t know.

The native workplace of Endeavor is certainly a bunch of people that somebody have to be linked to. They’re very well-connected throughout the ecosystem of startup and with gamers of the standard financial system. They’ll actually add worth to a younger firm that’s looking for methods to get in contact with extra conventional enterprise individuals.

Another ideas you need to share with TechCrunch readers?

If somebody had informed me in January 2019 that finish of 2019 and the entire 2020-2021 we might be coping with a pandemic, I’d most likely have tried to discover a solution to get entry to antidepressants. Nonetheless right here we’re immediately type of getting a glimpse of the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel. On a worldwide degree, I believe that total governments and central banks have managed the state of affairs higher than anticipated and given the state of affairs we’re doing OK. On a extra regional degree, Greece beat expectations when it comes to managing the pandemic whereas supporting the financial system. We now have had a wonderful efficiency in the course of the first wave and now in the course of the second wave we’re among the many international locations with the decrease instances/inhabitants. The federal government has launched 4-5 rounds of supporting initiatives whereas additionally making Greece a gorgeous funding vacation spot for direct investments. All these are very promising of what to anticipate from this nation when issues in some way normalize.

George Karantonis, associate, Metavallon

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

We’re a horizontal fund understanding higher the B2B biz mannequin and focus in groups with a relation to Greece.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

Biopix-T.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

We want to have invested in startups lively within the huge blue financial system sector.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

We’re searching for extra skilled groups with full plans for aggressive market enlargement.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

Tourism/hospitality has become a problematic sector today — additionally a lot of the market discover it tough to keep up buyer traction.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

Properly above 50% as a result of nature of the funds underneath administration (80% comes from GR structural funds and the EIF). Exception is corporations based overseas from members of the Greek diaspora, or they’ve/need to construct some sort of exercise in Greece.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run? What are corporations you might be enthusiastic about (your portfolio or not), which founders?

All the things that has to do with logistics, distant collaboration and coaching, well being tech, in addition to fintech.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

An ecosystem in an early accelerating development stage with good high quality of technical expertise.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

This seems like an inexpensive situation.

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Tourism/hospitality, marketplaces. I imagine founders ought to focus now greater than ever on actual/wants and issues.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

The priority is how tough it will be to shut rounds on this enterprise surroundings. to this point, now we have made it, however because the disaster is extended it turns into extra of a problem. The recommendation is to begin fundraising as quickly as potential with greater than typical reserves/runway.

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income development, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?

Sure — SaaS/cloud corporations, well being tech and digital productions corporations are doing nice.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

That we managed to have an exit and shut one seed and two Sequence A rounds inside the pandemic.

Who’re key startup individuals you see creating success domestically, whether or not buyers, founders and even different kinds of startup ecosystems roles like legal professionals, designers, development specialists, and many others. We’re attempting to spotlight the movers and shakers who outsiders won’t know.

The distinction right here is that for the primary time now we have 4-6 funds focusing in early-stage tech startups.

Katerina Pramatari, founding associate, Uni.Fund

What tendencies are you most enthusiastic about investing in, usually?

Tech-transfer and broader tech house, retail tech, AI, analytics, IoT, SaaS.

What’s your newest, most fun funding?

Kinvent.

Are there startups that you just want you’d see within the trade however don’t? What are some missed alternatives proper now?

Local weather, environmental sustainability.

What are you searching for in your subsequent funding, typically?

Passionate crew with robust IP that has generated (restricted) revenues to check the market.

Which areas are both oversaturated or can be too laborious to compete in at this level for a brand new startup? What different kinds of merchandise/companies are you cautious or involved about?

B2C, particularly in journey, tourism, tradition.

How a lot are you centered on investing in your native ecosystem versus different startup hubs (or in all places) typically? Greater than 50%? Much less?

Greater than 80%.

Which industries in your metropolis and area appear well-positioned to thrive, or not, long run?

Retail, tourism, delivery trade, agrofood. Firms I’m enthusiastic about: Kinvent, BibeCoffee, Flexcar, ExitBee, Tekmon, BeSpot, Cyrus, Nanoplasmas.

How ought to buyers in different cities take into consideration the general funding local weather and alternatives in your metropolis?

Nice momentum, ecosystem actually rising, a whole lot of untapped potential particularly across the universities and analysis house.

Do you count on to see a surge in additional founders coming from geographies exterior main cities within the years to come back, with startup hubs shedding individuals as a result of pandemic and lingering considerations, plus the attraction of distant work?

Sure, already taking place.

Which trade segments that you just put money into look weaker or extra uncovered to potential shifts in client and enterprise conduct due to COVID-19? What are the alternatives startups might be able to faucet into throughout these unprecedented occasions?

Journey and tourism for certain. E-commerce and new service fashions from the optimistic course.

How has COVID-19 impacted your funding technique? What are the largest worries of the founders in your portfolio? What’s your recommendation to startups in your portfolio proper now?

We had been following a “cash-flow optimistic development” technique already earlier than COVID and COVID had little affect on our portfolio. Some corporations had been critically affected however turned this into a possibility by unlocking new income streams. The general sentiment amongst all our founders has been optimistic. Whole portfolio revenues have elevated by 4x for the reason that begin and 2x throughout COVID.

Are you seeing “inexperienced shoots” concerning income development, retention or different momentum in your portfolio as they adapt to the pandemic?

We foresee a 5x income enhance within the whole portfolio in 2021, primarily pushed by six corporations.

What’s a second that has given you hope within the final month or so? This may be skilled, private or a mixture of the 2.

Vital contracts (of above $1 million worth) signed by two corporations, time period sheet of above $1 million rejected, buy-out supply rejected, partial exit to a multinational consulting firm of a small portion for nice worth, important traction getting into the U.S. market.

Who’re key startup individuals you see creating success domestically, whether or not buyers, founders and even different kinds of startup ecosystems roles like legal professionals, designers, development specialists, and many others. We’re attempting to spotlight the movers and shakers who outsiders won’t know.

Apostolos Apostolakis, Marco Veremis, Sotiris Papantonopoulos, Aristos Doxiadis, George Karantonis, myself for my function round universities and the analysis house, Angeliki Karagiannaki, Spyros Arsenis, Roula Bachtalia, George Nounesis, Dimitris Tsingos.

Another ideas you need to share with TechCrunch readers?

Greece is now growing its startup ecosystem and there’s nice momentum within the nation. Other than nice individuals with excessive expertise, huge smiles and resilience, the nation affords splendid circumstances for the brand new mannequin of working from dwelling (sea, solar, nice meals and, hopefully quickly after the pandemic, tradition).



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