Webcast: Why build a Startup in Greece? 300 Million Reasons under the Sun
The video recording can be watched
The video recording can be watched here.
Thursday, January 14, 2021
9:00 – 10:00 am (San Francisco)
12:00 – 13:00 pm (Boston/New York)
19:00 – 20:00 (Athens/Nicosia)
- Apostolos Apostolakis, VentureFriends VC
- Alexandra Choli, Metavallon VC
- Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou, Velocity Partners VC
- Katerina Pramatari, Unifund VC
- George Tziralis, Marathon VC
- Marco Veremis, Big Pi VC
- Moderated by: Dean Dimizas, Cambridge Associates
Greece is not simply the land of sunshine and holidays. With the European Investment Fund enabling a €300 million investment in Greek startups, opportunities are taking off in tech entrepreneurship. Six venture capitalists investing in Greek startups will share their experiences in a fast-paced roundtable, demonstrating the opportunity for Greece to create jobs and demonstrating the opportunity for Greece to create jobs and become a regional technology hub supporting successful startups and leading to more and larger exits such as the latest ones of Instashop and Softomotive. Assuming work-from-home remains common post-Covid, Greece could attract non-Greeks as well, which would accelerate the learning curve of the local ecosystem.
|Apostolos Apostolakis, VentureFriends
Apostolos Apostolakis is an entrepreneur-turned-investor in the technology sector. He began his internet career by cofounding e-shop.gr, the first e-tailer in Greece. Subsequently he was an early investor and on the board of Beat until the sale of the company to Daimler, a Co-Founder at e-food.gr, that exited to DeliveryHero, and a Co-founder at doctoranytime.
As an angel investor, Apostolos has invested in many startups in Europe and the US including Spotahome, Booksy, Packhelp and Shift. In 2015 he cofounded Venturefriends, a Venture capital fund that has raised 70 mil euros over two funds. VentureFriends invests at seed stage software startups mainly in the B2C and SaaS space. VentureFriends has supported 25+ startups including Blueground, Instashop, Spotawheel and Plum.
|Alexandra Choli, Metavallon
Alexandra Choli is a Founding Partner at Metavallon VC, a venture capital fund investing in very early stage technology companies in Greece and Europe. She is an experienced professional in the fields of operations, business development and strategy, an avid entrepreneur and founder of both impact and mainstream ventures, and an active angel and institutional investor in Greece and internationally.
|Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou, Velocity Partners
Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou is an entrepreneur and investor who works at the intersection of technology culture and new media. He serves as Co-Founder and General Partner at Velocity.Partners, a pre-seed and seed Venture Capital Fund active in Greece and SEE.
He is best known as the Founder and Curator of TEDxAthens, the most impactful platform for ideas, dialogue and talks in Greece. Prior to his role at Velocity.Partners, Dimitris co-founded Found.ation (a leading startup acceleration and innovation hub in the Balkans), TechTalent School (a coding school) and TechTalent Pool (a recruiting SaaS for developers).
From 2011 to 2013, Dimitris served as a Referrer for pre-seed investment firm HackFwd, leading its pipeline in Greece and Southeast Europe. DKG holds a Law degree from the University of Kent at Canterbury and an LLM (Master of Laws) in Computer and Communications Law from the Queen Mary University of London. He is a 2X alumnus of U.S. Department of State “International Visitor Leadership Program”, classes of 2013 and 2017, the latter under the prestigious “Gold Stars” program, and a member of the Global Shapers Community of the World Economic Forum. Dimitris regularly speaks on the topics of entrepreneurship, technology, design thinking, digital storytelling and leadership.
|Katerina Pramatari, UniFund
Katerina Pramatari is founding Partner at Uni.Fund, a Greek VC fund of €30M in the tech-transfer and innovation window of Equifund that invests in start-ups and spin-offs at pre-seed and seed stage, supporting the growth of new ventures and leveraging the hidden potential that exists in the Greek Universities, R&D and Tech Space. Katerina has extensive entrepreneurial experience and has been the founder of two technology start-ups.
She also serves as Associate Professor at the Department of Management Science and Technology of the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) and is among the top European experts/academics in the fields of Internet-of-Things (IoT), retail and business analytics. She is a key founder of ACEin, a leading University accelerator that has been awarded for bridging the corporate world with University start-ups. Over the last years she has supported more than 300 teams in the setup of their own ventures and has been among the initiators and supporters of various activities fostering youth entrepreneurship.
|George Tziralis, Marathon
Back in 2007, I was trying to turn my Ph.D. research into a startup and wondered if there were other like-minded people in my home country. I decided to look for them by staging a small event for entrepreneurs. A dozen founders showed up. It became a monthly thing. Over time it attracted dozens and then hundreds, an entrepreneurial community was born. We had the numbers but no matter how hard we worked, how timely our ideas were, they failed. Mine failed as well, I know how it feels. I took a step back and tried to work out why. The reasons that emerged were twofold: a profound lack of capital and relevant advice. True founders build; they start from a deep belief, focus on what they have, and try to make the best out of it.
My intuition told me that my community peers could do great things. There were makers, builders, tech enthusiasts. It was my deeply-held belief that they could build successful companies. I had to do whatever it took to make this happen. In my first fund, we proved that a $10m technology company could be built in Greece. In my second, we raised that bar to $100m and it will be cleared. With Marathon, we aim higher again. My journey feels too short to have been told this many times that something “cannot be done.” There are many good reasons for this to be the case. “It has never happened here before” is not one of them.
I like being early and starting small. You help things take shape. I also like working with people who want things as much as I do. You can usually tell straight away if the desire is there. If it is, it will sustain you. Venture is beautiful. Amid rejections and failures, you get to watch the best perform. Someone’s life’s work unfolds in front of you, getting them a bit further makes the journey worth it.
|Marco Veremis, Big Pi
Marco Veremis is Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Upstream and Partner at BigPi Venture Capital. He holds a BA from the University of Warwick and an MPhil from Oxford University. Marco started his career in 1996, as a marketing strategist with Omnicom, WPP and IPG, where he developed global communication strategies for brands such as Nestlé, Smithkline Beecham, Johnson & Johnson and Sony Electronics. In 2002, he returned to Greece and, along with Alex Vratskides, co-founded Upstream. Since then, Upstream has evolved into a leading global technology company within the field of mobile commerce, conducting business in over 45 markets.
Marco served as Upstream’s CEO until June 2017, and today is its Executive Chairman of the Board, while also a partner at BigPi Venture Capital. Marco is an active angel investor and member of the board in technology companies such as Persado, Workable and Hellas Direct. In parallel, Marco is the President of SEN/Junior Achievement Greece and a Board member of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (ΙΟΒΕ), of Endeavor and of the research and policy institute diaNEOsis. Marco has been awarded with the EY Greek “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, in 2013.
|Moderator: Dean Dimizas, Cambridge Associates
Dean Dimizas is a Chief Investment Officer at CA Capital Management, Cambridge Associates’ outsourced investment office. In his role as Chief Investment Officer, Dean constructs and manages portfolios for nonprofit institutions and families globally. Typically these clients have significant exposure to alternative assets. In addition to managing client portfolios, Dean and his team allocate a meaningful part of their time on manager research, sourcing and evaluating new managers across all asset classes for our clients’ portfolios.
Prior to joining Cambridge Associates in 2004, Dean worked as an investment banking summer associate with Goldman Sachs in London while attending business school. Previously he worked as an Associate Director for four years at EFG Telesis Finance, a leading investment bank in Greece. In this role, he advised large corporate clients on a wide range of corporate finance transactions. Education CFA Charterholder MBA, Harvard Business School BS in Business Administration, American College of Greece (Deree College)
Hellenic Innovation Network, with the support of the Greek Consulate of Boston and MIT Enterprise Forum Greece, was created to empower technology-based startups from Greece and Cyprus with a bridge to the U.S. through pitching and networking opportunities. Our dedicated group from the tech startup ecosystems in Boston and Athens organizes events twice per year to educate the Greek diaspora about Greek startup activity, and to offer Greek entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch and network in the US. Our CEO group meets monthly to discuss common challenges. Our online platform allows for virtual connections of our members in between events, so please register at hellenic.org to become part of our community.
While our events are typically held in Boston, due to Covid-19 we are instead hosting a webcast series in order to keep our community connected until our next in-person event.
During our live webcast, please send in questions with your name, and the speakers will address them at the end.
If you missed our prior webcasts, you can catch up here
(Thursday) 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm