A lifeline for Greek tech firms

A lifeline for Greek tech firms

Two young Greek entrepreneurs are lending a helping hand to Greek tech firms, which, due to the imposition of strict capital controls by the Greek government last Monday, are now unable to take care of their basic business transactions. Yiannis Vlachoyiannis and Panos Papadopoulos, founders of Greek tech start-up BugSense, bought by San Francisco based company Splunk, state that they are willing to undertake the expenditures of Greek companies which, due to restrictions imposed on capital movement, are unable to settle their bills for basic services such as server hosting, domain names, online advertising etc.

Given that they cannot assist all businesses that face such problems, they prioritize companies’ necessities based on information the firms themselves provide in online applications. In the meantime, via Twitter, they call upon Greeks living abroad to act as proxies for Greek online businesses at this difficult juncture.

“Unfortunately, all these Internet-based businesses and their credit card transactions with companies abroad were not taken into consideration ahead of the legal decree by which the capital controls were imposed,” says Dimosthenis Kaponis, co-founder of the popular mobile phone application AthensBook. “One hundred percent of all Greek credit cards have been blocked, preventing many businessmen from settling their bills.” Most of these businesses, to a large extent, depend on foreign companies for utilities as basic as server hosting to more advanced services such as account and stock management. “We have received e-mails from foreign companies saying that they won’t charge us for their services for some weeks, so we won’t be put in an awkward position. However, we do not have these problems, since we settled our bills some months ago. But it is a problem for other companies. Most companies have 80 percent of their infrastructure abroad, so there is an immediate issue concerning their sustainability. If we, for example, could not pay our providers, we would lose almost all of our online activity.”

“When an economy reaches this state, the imposition of capital controls is understandable, but it is one thing to cut off disbursements and another to cut off all monetary transactions, even for legal entities,” says Kaponis.

Other Greek start-ups are already mobilizing in this effort. Nikos Moraitakis, founder and CEO of Workable, an innovative software that simplifies a company’s recruiting process, announced on Facebook that “Workable will not charge its Greek customers for a three-month period so that their credit card charges will not present a problem. All our customers have been informed. We know we’re not saving anyone with free recruiting software but we can at least alleviate companies that are challenged by capital controls from one more concern.” Reciprocally, Greek e-mail marketing platform Moosend, which is active in four countries, announced to its Greece-based customers that “they can be served from the Greek company instead of the British one in order for them to continue their e-mail campaigns uninterrupted.”

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