BUSINESS

Greek startups create a €3.5 bln industry

DESPINA KONTI

TAGS: Technology, Business

Greek startups have created a local industry worth billions of euros, with funding and takeover deals sending valuations soaring and prompting investors to view some of them as potential "unicorns," that is technological companies with a value in excess of $1 billion.

These firm mostly belong to Greek owners, often with a significant presence in Greece, and offer a technological product or service that is attracting the interest of foreign investors.

Market professionals put the capitalization of Greek-owned startups at 3.5 billion euros, up from €2.5 billion last year and zero just eight years back. This has been achieved with the steady increase in value by some 30% per annum over the last seven to eight years.

According to market estimates, hi-tech companies such as Blueground, Workable, Upstream, Viva, Persado, Beat, Softomotive, Skroutz, etc are valued above €100 million, while coming near that threshold are companies such as Orfium, Marine Traffic, Netdata and Instashop, among others.

“Companies like Persado and Netdata are extremely well positioned to compete not just with their peers in Europe but with companies in the USA and globally as well,” says Scott Friend, partner at US investment fund Bain Capital Ventures, which has invested in the two Greek startups. “We have found the caliber of engineering and product teams in Greece to be world-class. The raw entrepreneurial talent of the founders at companies like Persado and Netdata are among the strongest across our portfolio of hundreds of companies,” he tells Kathimerini.

Persado, a marketing technology company, has gathered funds of €83.6 million, and “while not technically a unicorn yet (since they haven’t raised equity capital in many years), at the current annual revenue rate of well over $50 million and burning very little cash, Persado would likely be valued as a unicorn today if it were to raise more money,” comments Friend.

International interest in Greek startups is growing, notes Christos Gasteratos, an analyst at Marathon Venture Capital, which recently invested in Netdata, along with Bain. “That interest signals a new phase of maturing in the Greek startup industry. All necessary resources are now available for Greek startups to become fully competitive on an international level,” he says.

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