Investments in Greek Startups, 2010-2016

Posted by on July 27th, 2017

In an attempt to estimate the size of the Greek startup market, we have put together some data regarding investments that took place between 2010 and 2016 in technology companies based in Greece. For the purposes of our research, we have included companies building technology products and maintaining the core part of their employee base in Greece. Although we cannot claim that we tracked everything, we did our best to include data from public and private data sources that we believe captures the dynamics of the market.

The first graph presents the number of investment rounds. From the original Openfund investments in 2010, the market has grown to more than 40 investments taking place every year starting from 2013, with 137 companies receiving 214 rounds in total. Much of this influx of capital can be attributed to the Greek State and the European Investment Fund, that anchored four technology funds via the Jeremie initiative back in 2013.

In the second graph, we tracked the aggregate amount of money invested in Greek startups per year. More than €200M have been invested in total so far and, again, the impact of the Jeremie funds is evident. In general, local funds and angels participate early, followed by international investors taking the lead in later stage rounds. This also suggests that, as more companies mature, more investments by international players are to be expected.

A number of companies have followed the acquisition of Bugsense in 2013. Exits are a lagging indicator, as they take a few years after starting a company and raising capital to materialize. That said, with five acquisitions that took place in 2016 and a similar number that has happened already in 2017, the trend is clear; more and bigger exits are bound to happen.

There are two ways to read the above. An external observer may focus on the absolute numbers, which are by any metric still quite small. There is no question that we have a long way to go for the Greek market to mature and help ambitious founders and their promising companies reach their full potential.

For those in the likes of George and Panos, though, who have been there from the start, the story is different. With thousands of people working in technology and accumulating experience as product, business and company builders, interesting companies are getting started every day and capital is following suit.

Equifund, the new initiative of the Greek State and the European Investment Fund, is expected to anchor more new funds later this year. As a result, we anticipate early stage investment activity to grow 2-3x; we believe it is realistic to expect 100 investment rounds per year, followed by more international funds participating and a fast growing number of exits. We definitely look forward having an impact on that!

Marathon VC Podcast Episode 2: Drones

Posted by on July 18th, 2017

In this podcast, we are discussing with George Papavasileiou of Mindcore.gr about the most deployed robots in the world: drones. How they work, what are the use cases, what is the impact, what are the business models and what is the current regulatory framework? Learn about drones and take skyborne selfies or build the next big thing!

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Marathon VC Podcast Episode 1: Nick Papanotas on bots, Slack and distributed work

Posted by on June 29th, 2017

We are starting a new series of podcasts (in Greek) to present exciting new technologies, business models and the heroes of our ecosystem. In our inaugural episode, we are hosting Nick Papanotas of Geekbot.io, one of the most successful Slack bots. Panos and Nick will be discussing bots, Slack, the need for management tools and the nature of distributed work.

Let us know at Twitter or Facebook who would you like us to host in the future!

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Seed Stage Due Diligence Guidelines

Posted by on June 21st, 2017

If your startup is successful in securing a term sheet from a VC (congrats!), you must keep in mind that there is still some way to go before money is in the bank. After signing the term sheet, the due diligence process will run in parallel with the preparation of the final legal docs (articles of association, shareholders agreement and employment agreement for the founders). The full process can last from two to four weeks, depending on the availability of the information and response times.

Due diligence has the reputation of a time consuming process but can actually run smoothly when the team is well prepared. More importantly, a due diligence process done right can set the foundations of a long-term partnership on the basis of transparency and trust while the experience can prove useful in future rounds.

So how much preparation is required? The investors will look at the financial / accounting and legal good standing of the company as well as the technical aspects relevant to the product, technology and business model. The list provided in this document is an attempt to gauge the scope of the accounting / finance and legal due diligence by outlining the main requirements for seed stage investments and providing the investor’s rationale behind each request.

The set of docs required might seem extensive, but the process is not as complex as it looks. At a high level, the investor primarily wants to ensure they are not getting involved in any type of legal or accounting issues that may hinder the company’s development in the future. Keep in mind that some of the requirements might not apply depending on the company stage. In some cases, the due diligence process can serve as an opportunity to level up your corporate governance practice.

Here at Marathon Venture Capital we treat due diligence as an opportunity to help founders build a better company. We perform the process trying to address any issues early enough, while respecting a startup’s ultimate asset, i.e. founders time. We hope that these guidelines will help founders get a better understanding of the process and its underlying rationale, towards the efficient completion of an investment.

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