Building the Greek success stories of 2028
The first quarter of this year provided ample reasons for optimism, with notable events such as Augmenta's acquisition and new funding rounds for HackTheBox and Instacar.
*blog by Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou
The Greek tech ecosystem continues to exhibit a strong sense of collectivity, distinguishing itself from other sectors of the country’s economy. Each milestone, success, funding round, or acquisition is celebrated as a harbinger of hope and prosperity by everyone involved.
The first quarter of this year provided ample reasons for optimism, with notable events such as Augmenta’s acquisition and new funding rounds for HackTheBox and Instacar. These companies share a common origin: they were all nurtured in the early years of EquiFund’s investment activity. As these pre-pandemic enterprises continue to grow and become the success stories of 2023, we must also cast our gaze toward the future.
Admittedly, last year was somewhat disappointing in terms of investments. Greek VCs are currently preparing their next funds, and amid global uncertainty, investment in Greek companies has diminished. The annual Startups in Greece Report, published by Found.ation, revealed that only 52 companies received funding last year, with half of them at the seed level. Although this 50% figure may seem encouraging, the absolute numbers remain discouragingly low, potentially jeopardizing the success stories of 2028.
Moving forward, our focus should be on the initial stages of a startup’s journey. The ideal—and attainable—goal would be to double the number of investments in seed-stage* startups each year for the next three years, exceeding 150-180 by 2025, or one investment every two days.
Realizing this ambition will require several changes. First, we must enhance the mobility of angel investors by extending tax incentives beyond Elevate Greece companies to also include startups outside this framework, following the British SEIS/EIS model. The government should offer corresponding tax incentives to encourage private investors to become Limited Partners in funds. Additionally, VCs should be more willing to take calculated risks while maintaining transparency and discipline in executing their strategies. Additionally, the concerted effort to attract foreign investors to the local tech industry must continue. The country has a lot to offer, including a skilled workforce. The tech industry is one of the most important drivers of economic growth in any country, and Greece is no exception.
It takes an ecosystem to create one.
*When talking about seed-stage investments, it is crucial to emphasize that we truly mean seed funding—overstatements and hyperboles have no place in our vision for the future. Besides, the term “seed” is one of the most illustrative ones in the world of finance: you literally sow something that needs to be cultivated before you can reap its harvest.
The first edition of this article was published in STARTUPPER MAG, April 2023 Issue.
# Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou
Venture Character (& Capital) Investor | Before that (and still part of) TEDxAthens & Found.ation LinkedIn