Investment Panel Insights: Greeking Out in New York
By Endeavor Greece Dec 14, 2022
Our Greeking out in New York event was empowering, to say the least. Traveling halfway across the world, and seeing the traction that Greek Tech brings to a city like New York is astonishing! We were proud and humbled to have been surrounded by over 200 high-impact entrepreneurs, investors, and talent from all over the world. The Diaspora community has never been closer, more active, and more engaged with the Greek transformation.
Our second panel of the evening was exceptional! We had Endeavor Board Member Andreas Stavropoulos, joined by Niko Bonatsos from General Catalyst & James Christopoulos Managing Director at CVC Capital Partners.
Niko Bonatsos started off the conversation by going over what drives investors to invest in early-stage companies - narrowing it down to being able to establish an exceptional product market fit. It's important to differentiate yourself from the competition (saturated or not) and position yourself properly in the market.
What do you emphasize on, now, in comparison to a year ago?
As an investor, James focuses on earnings and cashflows. Additionally, due to the current economic crisis, he's brought a big focus on seeing which teams are most adaptable both internally and with their product. This shows who will make it through the tough times.
Niko has been going to and from Greece for years now, and has seen the ecosystem take shape from the startup perspective. One key point is that high-impact founders, such as Lars Rasmussen, Founder of Google Maps, have relocated to Greece, proving that we need more mentors on the ground that can help entrepreneurs get started.
“Endeavor has been doing it, through networking especially & laying the ground floor for the tech scene,” says Niko Bonatsos
He also mentions that Greek founders should be more aggressive, in the sense that once they know that they have something that works, they should start cultivating a whole universe around the product, creating traction, and networking with customers & potential recruiters.
Given the current economic situation, questions around fundraising are constantly coming about. James touches on this topic and emphasizes some key characteristics that he looks at when a startup presents to CVC.
They request data from a year ago, to make an informed decision. This allows them to compare to the current year, and confirm that there is consistency in your promises
Relevancy: Are you still keeping up, and are relevant in the space you’re working in, in order to be able to raise your next round?
Timelines: Everything you communicate to investors, needs to happen on a straight timeline
Uniqueness: Are you a category leader? Are you exceeding your initial plans? Are you one of a kind?
“The capital is there,” says Andreas Stavropoulos.
He points out that during tough times, investors become more introverted, and look at their own portfolio companies. This goes to show, for new startups raising rounds, that it's more about an investor changing their allocation of money, rather than stopping the efforts altogether.
Women unfortunately have to prove what they are pitching, vs men who exaggerate more in their jobs and potential endeavors.
Is Greece 50 years behind in Women in Tech?
Not necessarily, more around 10-20 years behind, but the key point here, is that female founders need to ask for more and stand their ground. Considering that they are already at a disadvantage, with fewer opportunities, and more challenges. In Greece, there is a slow move in female participation, but on a positive note, there have been more investments and focused awareness & education in the last 30 years.
Andreas brings up the concept of investing in female founders to “check off a box”. He says that you need to invest in female founders at the end of the day because that's the best place to put your money, not to hit a quota.
Series C + Company Must Have's:
Learning Animals - be a world-class expert.
Ambitious founders and leaders that can attract others to follow along on the journey
A Few Red Flags:
Not Knowing your customer or numbers
Not showing up on time
People showing up “on behalf of you”
Unsustainable funding rounds
“We are very optimistic about the Greek ecosystem and where it’s heading,” says James Christopoulos.
What we’re seeing across the board in the companies that we’ve invested in is great. From Research and Development investments to acquisitions and partnerships with local startups, there is an accelerating ecosystem across all industries. This kind of traction is what will bring the Greek Diaspora back to Greece, as well as new talent, founders, and executives to innovate, mentor, and create.
Greeks in Tech
We also had 4 Endeavor Entrepreneurs join Panagitois Karampinis, Managing Director at Endeavor Greece in a panel discussion, where they shared various insights on their respective industries, companies, and the Greek Tech Ecosystem.
It was great to have Dr. Maria Chatzou Dunford CEO & Founder of Lifebit, Thomas Douzis, Founder & CEO of Ergon Foods, John Papadakis, Founder & CEO of Pollfish, and Stavros Papadopoulos, Founder & CEO of TileDB with us in New York! Coming from different backgrounds such as Enterprise Software & Services, Food & Beverage, Market Research & Intelligence, and Healthcare and Life Sciences, it was interesting to see their perspectives on the acceleration of the Greek Tech Industry and the roles they play as industry leaders.
Bringing together outstanding Endeavor Entrepreneurs in New York goes to show how the involvement of our local office in global initiatives, accelerates Greek Tech and puts us on the Global map.
Thank you to everyone that joined us in New York. It was an absolute pleasure connecting with old friends and new ones, to talk about the trends in the Greek Tech Ecosystem - and what the future holds!
About Greeking out
Greeking out is the first-ever ecosystem report that captures the progress of Greece’s tech scene. We worked with Sifted, Financial Times' top tech spin-off in Europe, and spoke to some of the brightest and most promising individuals from the Greek network, to find out how the Greek startup landscape is carving out a name for itself and placing itself on the global map. We explored trends such as brain regain, and the under-the-radar startups, and spoke with founders, investors, and senior executives on what they value most about the scene, and what they’d like to see change!
After our launch back in July 2022, we decided to take our “Greeking out in” series global. Our first stop was Greece, followed by London in October and now New York in December. It’s been absolutely wonderful getting together with our Greek Diaspora and high-impact community worldwide. As our Greeking out events continue, they keep on growing in size and in impact thanks to our community!