Top 10 Best Unicorns in Greece 2022.
Greece is sometimes disregarded as a startup hotbed despite being on the periphery of Europe. However, 2021 set a new investment record for the nation, receiving more than $500 million in the capital.
Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou, founder and partner of Velocity Partners, a venture capital fund specializing in pre-seed and seed-stage Greek software entrepreneurs, and the founder of Greek accelerators Foundation, claims, “We’re approaching the international radar.” International investors haven’t suddenly realized Greece, but they have undoubtedly been paying attention during the past three to four years.
Greece’s startup scene is picking up steam, but will this upward trend last through 2022? How far has the ecology progressed, and in what direction is it headed?
According to Kalavros-Gousiou, the rise in the number of exits of the country’s startup ecosystem, which gave Greek innovation a lot of publicity, is a significant factor in Greece’s startup success.
In terms of exits, he claims that the years 2020 and 2021 were “quite an exciting couple of years.” “Activity generates headlines, and headlines attract the attention of investors and aspiring founders, who then use that attention to build momentum.”
According to Foundation’s Startups in Greece report, Greek startups experienced six exits in 2017. Network analytics business Biometrics and data startup Lenses.io are anticipated to make more than €70 million each from their leaves.
The first commercial VC in Greece, Venture Friends, which began raising money in 2015, has Apostolos Apostolakis to be a partner. He concurs that the ecosystem gained momentum as a result of companies’ success in the global arena.
“As a business owner, I’ve long believed that Greece lacks founder-friendly venture capitalists. I genuinely thought Greek companies offered the possibility, and he tells Sifted.
“Those first businesses demonstrated that it was possible to launch from Greece and achieve global success, and other founders soon followed. People with the motivation merely need to be persuaded that their idea is realistic. They want to understand that they may find supportive peers and investors in their endeavours.
Because they have witnessed what it takes to create something from scratch, many members of the leadership teams, C-level teams, and senior teams of Greek scaleups will eventually become innovators or even angel investors in the future years, according to Kalavros-Gousiou. They are fostering talent that will ultimately launch new businesses.
The Greek VC ecosystem has been majorly influenced by the European Investment Fund (EIF), which launched a €500 million investment program last year to aid Greek companies. According to David Dana, head of VC investments at the EIF, “publicly financed programs were important to launch something and shift the thinking.”
The eventual aim of financial investment is to generate returns, which is the current focus because this is how we will draw in more private investors. Developmental investment is no longer the only type of investment being made today.
A wealth of highly trained people, government backing, tax incentives, and progressive attitudes towards startups and unicorns are critical elements in Greece’s success with these companies.
1. Viva Wallet
With a presence in 24 European countries, Viva Wallet is the first Neobank in Europe to be totally cloud-based and run on Microsoft Azure. For the purposes of purchasing and issuing services, Viva Wallet is a Premier Member of both Visa and Mastercard.
The cutting-edge Viva Wallet POS application, add-on Google Play devices, and sophisticated payment gateways in digital storefronts are just a few of the ways that Viva Wallet provide card acceptance services to businesses of all kinds. Corporate Viva Wallet Mastercard cards and company accounts with local IBAN are available.
According to the terms of the PSD II Directive, Viva Wallet Holdings operates to be a foreign Greek banking firm (VIVABANK SA) and a subordinate E-money Institution with pass port rights across the entire EEA Region.
A fully cloud-based global digital payments factory, Viva Wallet, provides innovative, dependable, and safe payment solutions.
2. OPAP Technologies
The only games OPAP conducts, supervise, organizes, and operates in Athens are the lottery, sports betting, and monitoring games. OPAP is one of the most well-known brands in its sector globally and the top gaming corporation in Greece. The business was established in 1958 as the nation’s national lottery and was listed on the Athens Exchange in 2001. It holds the only operating license for all numerical lottery (7 games), sports gambling (4 games), and horse racing.
Additionally, it controls (67 percent) a joint venture that solely runs Greece’s immediate (scratch) games and passive lotteries. The Hellenic Republic gradually decreased its stake in the Company’s share capital through a series of secondary offers that took place after the Initial Public Offering (IPO) in 2002, 2003, and 2005. The Company was finally fully privatized as of Q4 2013 through an international auction, which gave it the boost it needed to continue developing and remain competitive globally.
Our games are sold through the largest (more than 4,000) network of retail locations in Greece, which are specialized businesses with distinctive brands that sell only OPAP’s goods. These organizations represent businesses and are paid based on performance commissions. Alternative 3,800 POS systems expand the dissemination of Instant and Passive Lotteries in addition to the agencies’ network (street vendors, etc.).
BibeCoffee offers IoT real-time local administration and monitoring services. Get quick access to all of your coffee makers while gathering insightful data. Make the most of your coffee makers to increase the productivity of your Company. Keep an eye on your coffee makers’ proper use and operation in real-time. Ensure the Company’s brand of your espresso and give your customers a better experience.
Reduce your maintenance expenditures by reviewing your metrics remotely. Reduce the expense of your technicians’ visits by giving them the ability to find problems remotely. No matter the manufacturer, model, or year of production, you may connect any kind of automatic and super-automatic professional coffee machine. You can track your different coffee machines’ locations and get notifications in case of any unauthorized move. Never lose sight of your coffee machines, no matter where they are. Beat
By putting customers in touch with nearby, available drivers in real-time time, Beat provides customers with a novel transportation experience. The Beat is a mobile application that revolutionizes how people travel around cities. Through the redesign of more effective and user-friendly transportation solutions, we hope to improve urban environments as places to live. The Beat is currently the application in Latin America with the fastest growth.
4. Welcome Pickups
By streamlining, making it amiable, and personalizing the in-destination travel experience through a single point of contact, Welcome is changing it. Welcome is the first firm to provide a comprehensive, in-destination travel experience. It was established in 2015 in Athens, Greece. Welcome goes far beyond mass-market-market transfer service. Welcome provides all of a traveller’s travel needs (transfers, tour packages, activities to do, information) from the moment they arrive in a new location until they come home in the simplest, excellent, and most individualized way possible.
We challenge conventional logic, place a premium on design, prioritize usability and simplicity, and produce memorable experiences. We never stop learning and looking into better methods to help our community, develop as people, and become leaders in our fields. We have extensive and ambitious ambitions, but we maintain humility along the way and have a “pay it forward” philosophy.
The used car business platform Spotawheel sets the standard for customer confidence. With the help of effective and customer-focused proprietary technology, Spotawheel, the fastest-growing used automobile marketplace in Europe, enables consumers to purchase a dependable vehicle.
Automate the precise application of agricultural inputs in real-time using deep learning to boost output, improve quality, and reduce input costs. The culmination of years of toil, extensive testing, and consistent effort put forward to make that dream a reality is the Augmenta System. It has been given both the Outstanding Agricultural Aspects Blue Award for 2020–2021 and the EIMA’s First Prize for “Technological Innovation.” Currently, more than 40 members of the Augmente Team are all highly qualified academics with distinct areas of expertise (M.Sc or PhD in Engineering, Robotics, Agriculture, Maths, and Business).
We are professionals in manufacturing, software and hardware engineering, agronomy, operations, and communication, and we have the business and technological know-how to turn creative agricultural concepts into reality.
In order to provide farmers with long-lasting, precise automation, Augmenta has already raised over $11 million in venture funding (including those from major players like CNHi). Thanks to the Augmented System, farmers are now more conscious of a better way. It’s now commercially available in numerous nations across Europe, the CIS, North and South America, and Australia, and it’s poised to revolutionize the agricultural industry.
7. Convert Group
It is a market analysis and data-driven eCommerce consultancy company called Convert Group. Although we value individualism, our greatest strength is working as a team. Success in groups is just as crucial as success in individuals. Some of the most well-known figures in business, from all of our target markets, make up our board of directors. Leaders in their respective industries expect opportunities and make intelligent choices to drive the Company’s goal a reality.
Operators of vacation rentals can use Syncbnb to control their channels. Hosthub is a calendar synchronization application for owners of vacation rental properties who wish to list their residences on numerous websites (like Airbnb, Vrbo, Hotels.com, Tripadvisor, etc.) and requires a tool to assist them in preventing double bookings. We provide a 100 success rate across all accessible listing services, making us the only solution available online today. This is no easy task, but we can accomplish it by merging Advanced AI with Human Quality Assurance.
We are a group of software developers that own holiday properties. We searched for a reliable tool to synchronize our property listings across numerous services (like Airbnb, Airbnb, Vrbo, Tripadvisor, etc.), but we were unable to locate any.
It was only a matter of time until we decided to establish Hosthub ourselves, given our combined experience of over 40 years in application and website development, customer experience, and usability.
Hosthub’s co-founder and CEO are Alexander. Before advancing to C-level roles in major Tech businesses in Greece, he performed as a web designer, website designer, project manager, team leader, SEO/SEM specialist, and social media manager since 1995. He recently resigned from a managing partner role in one of Greece’s top Fintech businesses to launch Hosthub (formerly Syncbnb) with his friend Petros.
The founder and CTO of Hosthub are Petros. Petros has more than 15 years of experience as professional software and website engineer. He has previously co-founded several online startups and worked to be the senior developer for some of Greece’s top website development companies and internationally. In order to co-found Hosthub, he recently resigned from his role to be the lead developer for European Fintech.
Forky wants to be the food brand you always turn to for the most convenient, delicious, and healthy food. We value timely delivery, wholesome food, and contented customers. Because of this, we developed Forky, a service that gives you a healthy and delicious diet, so you can simply enjoy home-cooked cuisine, no matter how tired you are.
Our chefs are constantly adding fresh, original foods to the menu. The meal is meticulously made with just the freshest, healthiest ingredients. The menu is set up so that you can use our service as frequently as you’d like, whether during the day or at night and enjoy delectable, contemporary Mediterranean food while doing so. With Forky, you can quickly and easily order amazing meals online and have them delivered to your table.
1) Every day, our cooks create delectable main and side dishes.
2) Using the website or the app, ordering is very straightforward and only requires two steps.
3) You may get hot, fresh meals delivered to your home in a matter of minutes.
According to research by Foundation, the most popular industry in the Greek startup ecosystem right now is life sciences. The director of outreach and content at the Foundation, Maria Kokidou, believes these industries will continue to expand.
According to her, “life sciences, including health tech, fintech, and industries related to nanotechnology, deep technology, and big data, will continue to grow in the coming years.” “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen significant investments from foreign corporations rise in the country, such the creation of research centers and cloud services by Pfizer and Microsoft.”
Kokidou claims that the Greek government has been actively addressing the “brain drain,” which has caused almost 400,000 people to leave the country since 2010—of them, 90% have degrees, and 64% have masters or doctoral degrees.
“Brain drain is a major concern here, and we have a pretty robust scientific community here,” she claims. The government is working to change this by promoting foreign investment and developing innovation hubs in many Greek cities that will bring together both academia and business. According to Lymperopoulou, it’s paying off because talent is already making a comeback to Greece.
“Many Greeks have traveled overseas owing to the ten-year financial catastrophe that we suffered, and they are progressively returning,” she adds. It’s a pivotal time in recent Greek history and a once-in-a-lifetime chance. The HDBI plays different roles for the country and the ecology, some of which are overt and others latent, with brain gain falling into the latter group.
There is still a long way to go before Athens can be compared in absolute numbers to cities like London, Berlin, or Paris, claims Tsakiris. Despite the fact that our ecology is still in its infancy, we are hopeful about its future growth.
After a historic decline in 2020 based on the health crisis, the Greek economy was pleasantly surprised on the upside in 2021. The European Commission predicts that the GDP will increase by more than 7% this year and by roughly 5% in 2022, maintaining a robust pace. The employment market is showing a positive trend. In September, the jobless percentage dropped to 13%, the lowest since the spring of 2010.
Of course, we need to consider the bigger picture. Greece is still suffering from the effects of the 2008 and 2011 financial crises. The country’s economy is still much weaker than it was 15 years ago, the youth unemployment rate is still unacceptably high, and investment as a percentage of GDP is the lowest in Europe. With the coronavirus outbreak, the total amount of public debt has climbed further and presently exceeds 200 per cent of GDP. Greece is still being closely watched by the European Commission.
In July 2018, the parties agreed to a surveillance program with the goal of pursuing major structural changes in consideration for debt restructuring measures. Midway through 2022, this surveillance program will terminate. There have been some systemic advancements, though. FDI inflows into the nation have increased majorly since 2016, and while they decreased in 2020 based on a health crisis, they have since experienced a major resurgence.
Additionally, Greece will receive sizable sums from a number of European institutions, particularly the Next Generation EU program, which will serve as an important long-term lever for growth and investment in the country. By 2026, this fund will have disbursed a total of 31 billion euros. According to projections made by the European Commission, this might lead to the formation of 60,000 jobs added by 2024.
While still precarious, the state of the financial industry is also improving. Last June, the stock of non-performing mortgages represented about 20% of all outstanding loans, which is half the level seen at the end of 2019. The government introduced the Hercule deposit insurance program in October 2019. Its aim is to assist banks in reducing the amount of non-performing loans in their portfolio, mainly through the establishment of a state assurance on so-called senior tiers. The initiative was first set to terminate in March 2021. However, because of its effectiveness, it has been prolonged until October 2022.
In conclusion, despite the fact that Greece’s economic and social situation is still challenging, the country is showing accurate indications of recovery, and we can only hope that these promising trends are expected in 2022, provided, of course, that the health situation continues to be under control.
Greece ranks 77th in the freest economies in the 2022 Index, with an economic freedom score of 61.5. Greece is placed 38th out of 45 nations in Europe and the Asia Pacific, and it has an overall score that is higher than the global average but lower than the average for the region.
Greece’s five-year economic improvement has been erased by a severe fall in 2020. But a five-year pattern of increasing financial independence has persisted.
Greece’s five-year economic improvement has been erased by a severe fall in 2020. But a five-year pattern of increasing financial independence has persisted. Greece has improved its overall economic freedom score by 6.5 points from 2017 and has now earned its place in the “Moderately Free” category after falling into the “Mostly Unfree” classification for over a decade. This improvement was made possible by Greece’s considerably higher scores for the legal system (private property, government integrity, and government integrity). Trade and monetary independence are vital, but the economy is nonetheless hampered by excessive government spending.
Edited by Prakriti Arora