2021 was a record year for the Greek startup ecosystem, with investors showing their confidence in the growth prospects of startups. The majority of the investments were made through equifund, but a not inconsiderable share of the funding came from non-cooperating with the mechanism, VCs, which confirms the expansion of the ecosystem
According to the data reported in the new Found.ation study in collaboration with EIT Digital, the top 10 Startups raised a total of almost 400 million euros almost four times more than last year. In total, Greek start-ups raised 494.7 million euros. But as in previous years, so this year the “lion’s share” was occupied by 3 companies (Blueground, Viva Wallet, FlexCar), which raised almost 50% of the total funds.Although the negative effects of the pandemic continue to affect Greece, Greek Startups have shown excellent growth rates, while at the same time they have seen improvement in the areas of innovation and product development. In Greek startups, “Business Angels” and VCs found new investment opportunities, proving that the Greek ecosystem not only withstood the pandemic but, on the contrary, it thrived.
The Startup, which is active in the leasing of furnished apartments, announced in September that it has secured from investors and Silicon Valley Bank (in the form of a loan) funds totalling 154 million euros, taking the first place in the relevant list. The funding round led by Laurence Tosi’s WestCap was also attended by Geolo Capital, an investment arm of the billionaire John Pritzker, as well as VentureFriends and Prime Ventures. The new funds will be used to fuel Blueground’s expansion, from the 5,000 apartments it already owns to 15 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, Seattle and Istanbul, according to chief executive Alexandros Hadjieleftheriou. The company plans to operate in parallel in Miami, Madrid, Zurich and Berlin by the end of 2021, and aims to gain a presence in at least 50 cities by 2025.
In April, the leading force in European fintech announced funding of 66.3 million euros from 3 technology and fintech investors: Tencent, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the US Breyer Capital which has an impressive investment portofolio. Viva Wallet will leverage the new funding to accelerate the development of the “Tap on Phone” feature for store payments.The “Tap on Phone” feature turns any Android device into a terminal, allowing businesses to accept contactless payments or with a PIN, without the need for a terminal. For e-commerce payments, Viva Wallet also launches the innovative “one-line-of-code-integration” Smart-Checkout, which dynamically adapts to the location and preferences of customers and greatly improves conversion rates.
At the end of June the company announced one of the largest investments in startups. FlexCar raised 50 million euros. International investors, such as the Spanish Seaya Ventures, which invested for the first time in a Greek company, also participated in the funding. The funds raised by the company will be invested entirely for its development, in Greece and abroad.
The Greek Cypriot insurance company,aiming to expand to new countries and credit products, raised 32 million euros this year. The total funding amounts to 56 million euros.The company also welcomed a major investor, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). EBRD entered with Hellas Direct in a mandatory convertible loan agreement of 10 million euros to support the company’s growth as well as to strengthen its necessary regulatory capital. EBRD is added to the list of major investors that support Hellas Direct, such as Portag3, IFC (a Member of the World Bank), Endeavor Catalyst and well-known family agencies, including those of Jon Moulton and Lord O’ Neal.
The creator of the eponymous software platform for the production, promotion and marketing of online courses secured funding of 27.6 million euros by Insight Partners. With the new funding, LearnWorlds intends to grow even further, enhancing its product and aiming at the complete satisfaction of its customers. It also aims to enhance the marketing and sales part, with an eye on small and medium-sized enterprises on a global scale.
In addition to Viva Wallet, the Greek fintech was also worthily represented by Plum, which in 2021 secured 20.5 million euros. The most recent funding round was led by a consortium of investors such as dmg ventures and Ventura Capital, while funds that have already invested in Plum such as Global Brain, VentureFriends and 500 Startups were also involved. The new funding came after a period of intense growth for Plum, as savers and investors across Europe look for fintechs to help them increase their “wealth” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has seen its customers double, with more than 1 million people all over Europe to save and invest through Plum. In 2022, the company plans to offer its clients more assets to invest in, such as shares in the EU and the UK as well as cryptocurrencies.
Byrd, taking advantage of the explosion in e-commerce, secured 16 million euros in funding this year.The company has created software to manage warehouses and logistics operations, and also manages a service that helps online merchants store, select and deliver their orders. The round was led by Mouro Capital, a VC that focuses primarily on e-commerce and fintech, while Speedinvest, Verve Ventures, Rider Global and the Greek VentureFriends participated. According to a report by TechCrunch, the company is set to leverage the new funding to expand into five new markets in eastern, northern and southern Europe. Today, Byrd operates in Austria, as well as in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and France. In these countries, it has about 15 warehouses and 200 customers, including companies such as Durex, Scholl, Freeletics and other brands operating in areas such as health, beauty and fashion.
Causaly, a software developer that allows researchers to search for information within vast amounts of data in the biomedical space and accelerate the discovery of new therapies, announced in May the completion of a 14 million euros investment. The investment was led by Index Ventures, a famous VC that is behind companies such as Adyen, Datadog, Discord, Figma, Robinhood, and Roblox, while Marathon Venture Capital, Pentech and EBRD also participated.The new funding will support the company’s growth as it expands into new markets and increases the size of its team.
The Greek Startup, whose software is revolutionizing the development of medicines, raised funding of 10.2 million euros to expand its customer base and product base. The funding round was led by the investment firm MTIP which focuses on healthtech investments, while existing investors of the company, including the Big Pi, also participated. With the new funding, Intelligencia will expand its R&D team in Athens, while developing its sales and customer success teams in the U.S. and Europe. It will also work even more closely with customers and partners seeking to integrate their data in the company’s models.
Hack The Box, a creator of cybersecurity education software, announced in April the completion of a Series A investment of 6.7 million euros. The company’s new funding, which aims to make cybersecurity education more accessible, will support the company’s growth as it expands into the U.S. market and creates new products for its users and corporate customers.