A few days ago the Techcrunch Meetup Athens event took place in the Museum of Benaki (#tcathens or #tcath, fotos from vrypan here), with more than 400 attendees from the startup community of Greece. The event was organized by Niko Bonatso and Alexia Tsotsis, with the support of OpenCoffee and Microsoft Innovation Center in Athens among others and there were different panels on startup founders, ecosystem builders – where I had the privilege of participating- and VC investors. You can find the full list here.
You can read (in Greek) a detailed analysis of the eventhere and here, where the interesting news came from Openfund II which announced a 100k investment in Incrediblue and a 600k investment in Workable HR, both Greek Startups.
My view is that there are 2 interesting observations which are being reinforced by this event, in addition to all the latest developments in the greek startup ecosystem:
1. The Greek Startup Community is Growing
Back in 2008, there were 20 people in the first OpenCoffee meetings and around 100 attendees in similar events. There were around 10-20 well-known startup efforts and funding (seed or VC) was rare and difficult to find. Except for the MIC co-working space, there were no other Fast forward in 2013, at MIC we have 150 startups in our Bizspark program and there are many ideas being incubated through Startup Weekends and other events, and quite a few well-known startup efforts with encouraging first results (e.g. , iKiosk, Anlock, iTrack, Taxibeat, etc..) and some that have received seed and VC funding. Of course, we have not yet matured to the level of Israel, Berlin, London but we the trend is certainly positive in the last 60 months. What remains to be proved is all this hype turned into real value for shareholders & investors and success stories that will feed this positive circle.
2. We may be in front of a great opportunity for the next 36 months
Young talent is here, startup ideas are here, media is here and funding is coming. There are now 4 VCs with funds from Jeremie, Odyssey Venture Partners, First Athens Corporate Finance, PJ Tech Catalyst and Openfund II with the below funds (source: imerisia.gr). A total of 110 million Euros, with 55 million Euros coming from Jeremie.
This means that these four VCs will seek to invest in a total of 30+ startup ideas in the next 36 months (funds may typically start from 150k and go up to millions if they double down on second rounds of investments). This may be a great opportunity to attract talent from the private sector who may prefer to work on startup ideas and of course an opportunity for the already established startups to expand internationally. Will it be easy to find so many good ideas to invest coming from Greek startups? No! Will it be easy to turn all these ideas into success? No! But it is certainly an opportunity that if it integrates well with the startup ecosystem, will give it an important boost.
Next event we are looking forward is the Athens Startup Weekend that we are organizing on the 15th of February 2013. A great opportunity to bring your idea into the next level. See you there!
Info about the Event:
List of Speakers: http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/20/techcrunch-greece/