Although Greece is in transition, it is the right moment to have a peek at the Greek startups, trying to get the full picture of the current situation and the potentials of development. Just before the end of 2018, Found.ation, a leading technology and innovation enabling platform in SE Europe, acting like a startup hub, partnered with EIT Digital, a leading European digital innovation and entrepreneurial education organization and Velocity. Partners VC. Together they released the ‘Startups in Greece’ report for the 2nd consecutive year. The report is an in-depth study of the Greek startup ecosystem in relation to the country’s financial situation and provides valuable insights into the Greek startup scene and the desirable development over the years.
This report focused on the top 10 most funded startups in Greece, some of them already well known in the international startup community, like Workable, Softomotive and Viva Wallet. But what about the companies they have not still gained popularity and they may be the newly mined diamonds of the Greek startup scene? That’s why we asked from Found.ation a meta-analysis of the data collected for the report focused on the companies with potentials.
Big fragmentation shows the absence of a national strategy
The business areas where the startup founders choose to operate are closely related to the production sector, but they are not identical. For example, Tourism comes third in the list of sectors where startup founders operate, while Healthcare is rated first. Although one could expect the reverse to be true, the explanation is more than reasonable. Greek startups follow an international trend of development in the field of Healthcare exploiting all technological advancements available along with access to more inexpensive sensors and hardware. Moreover, the healthcare sector requires skyrocketing financial flows which are now available through funds and this is the reason why startups turn to them to grow. There is also an increase of companies related to FinTech, AdTech and MarTech, areas where Big Data and Artificial Intelligence can be key factors for development to small-sized companies and give them the edge over their bigger counterparts.
Nowadays we can witness a rise in companies that use Deep Tech in sectors such as Energy and infrastructure. This might be an indication of the maturity of the ecosystem, turning to more traditional economic sectors, which definitely need modernization and startups can answer their needs and offer the best high tech solutions. As Maria Kokidou, Content and Innovation Strategist Found.ation quotes ‘The Greek ecosystem has now entered a phase where startups are being born in a friendlier environment; the path laid by their predecessors is now an easier one to follow. Yet there is much more to expect as the maturity phase has just started to dawn.’
Companies’ profile seeking out funding
Most of the companies that go after seed capital are B2B, the same happens at all the development stages, while B2B or B2B/B2C oriented companies are more likely to move on at a later post-seed stage. The fact that lately, more and more companies operate in the area of B2B indicates that more complete business proposals and more experienced founders enter the ecosystem with very clear targets and business orientation.
Before the EquiFund booster
Seven years ago success stories were nonexistent and the Greek field of startups started to develop only in 2008 when recession urged businesses to turn to alternative solutions. The first communities about technology and startup issues were born, such as Open Coffee where there was an electrifying atmosphere with events presenting good practices, like TEDx. Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou, Co-Founder & Partner Found.ation & Velocity.Partners goes a bit deeper, ‘During the 2008-2012 period, the ecosystem was going through the inspiration phase, looking to find its new heroes. This is when the TEDx and the OpenCoffee platforms first appeared in Greece and they both acted as catalysts of amplifying inspiring stories of people who tried and -against all odds- succeeded.’ A good number of the most successful Greek startups were founded in 2010-2012. Since then, when JEREMIE funds started, there has been a considerable shift and a lot of business ideas have been materialized. In 2018 EquiFund was a similar approach towards innovation, which is projected to bring more startups in Greece in the future, but mainly more mature and solid projects.
Last April Equifund changed dramatically the picture of Greek startups ecosystem because it announced that nearly €500 million will be poured into new businesses in the next five years. No matter how small this sum of money may sound compared with funding in more mature ecosystems, for the Greek standards, it is seen as a huge leap considered the circumstances of the previous years. The new fund of funds program targets SMEs that need private equity and venture capital in order to thrive.