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Inside the Greek startup and VC ecosystem with Apostolos Apostolakis, co-founder and partner at VentureFriends

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VentureFriends (VF) had the first 100% private venture capital fund in Greece. Launched in 2016 by Apostolos Apostolakis and George Dimopoulos, both serial entrepreneurs with vast experience as angel investors. In 2018, the firm raised a second €50M fund with support from the European Investment Fund (EIF). VF has invested in over 37 companies, with 13 of the startups exceeding €1M ARR. 

Portfolio includes online delivery company InstaShop (whose record-breaking €302M exit happened in August 2020), marketplace startup Spotawheel and the prospective unicorn-to-be real estate startup Blueground. 

“Deciding to create a startup requires determination and a conscious decision to work very hard and maintain hard standards for your work in order for the company to be globally scalable. The way for people to understand what high standards are is to work in an environment that is demanding,” shared Apostolos Apostolakis with The Recursive team.

With a new bigger fund on the horizon, VentureFriends is now also potentially moving towards more regional investments, led by the belief that investing in other founders, cultures, and startups enhances the collective understanding of the space and ultimately improves the ecosystem.

Read more:  Investor and founder of GMG Ventures Denise Xifara: How VCs can add value to your business

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https://therecursive.com/author/irina/

Irina started her career path in Vienna, working in media and communications. In 2016, she made her first attempt as an entrepreneur when she co-founded WelcomeBuddy - a platform for expats Austria. The venture failed to launch, but the experience gained had a huge effect on her decisions later on. On one side, by observing how migration trends in Europe lead to massive brain drain in Southeast Europe, Irina identified a new mission. On the other hand, Irina also developed a strong passion for disruptive business models and the startup world. Later on, she gained experience in digital marketing and sales working for various tech companies in the B2B segment in DACH. In 2018, Irina decided to move back to Bulgaria - and the media sector, helping establish the first international outlet of Trending Topics in Sofia. Three years later, she and her co-founder, Etien Yovchev, launched the regional media project The Recursive. By combining news media with ecosystem mapping and a content marketing agency, their mission is to help innovative ventures from Emerging Europe scale internationally and get the visibility they deserve. Irina holds a degree in Mass Media & Communication Studies from the University of Vienna. In 2021, she was awarded Female Entrepreneur of the Year by La French Tech community in Bucharest. As a member of the advisory board of Entrepreneurs in Class, Irina is committed to inspiring entrepreneurial mindset in young students.