There is a momentum in the Greek startup ecosystem. The most recent news comes from Marathon Venture Capital, announcing the increase of their second fund to €70 million, from €40M when it launched a year ago.
- Fund II targets Greek founders from all corners of the world. Portfolio companies include Ariadne Maps, Causaly, Hack the Box, Augmenta, Avrio, and recently exited Lenses.io.
- Apart from existing backers, new investors got onboard, including institutional investors such as EBRD.
The fund’s strategy and success stories from the portfolio
With Fund II, Marathon Venture Capital will keep the same strategy, looking to invest in and partner with ambitious Greek founders in the first stages of building a tech startup, regardless of their location.
The ticket size will be of around €1 million or more, in exchange for 15-20% equity as a lead investor in the seed round. Then, the fund helps its portfolio companies with the first steps of building the business, from recruiting a team, to setting up shop, optimizing the product, and raising the next round.
Since its founding in 2017, Marathon Venture Capital has had a first exit, and 7 startups from its portfolio have raised a Series A. The $11B acquisition of Lenses.io, the UK-based DataOps portal for streaming applications and data, by enterprise software Celonis, was one of the most significant of the total of six exits in the local ecosystem last year.
Among its ten investments from the first fund, about half originated in Greece, and half internationally, from Munich and Berlin, to Stockholm, London, and San Francisco. As a largely agnostic fund, its investments span across multiple themes and sectors where software innovations can make an impact, from climate, to health, finance, education, AI, crypto, and real estate.
“What makes us thrilled is the fact that a remarkable part of our supporters are technology entrepreneurs themselves – from founders we have worked with, to community peers, to some truly successful entrepreneurs in Europe and the US,” says George Tziralis, Partner at Marathon Venture Capital.
Key developments in the Greek startup ecosystem
In line with the European trend, Greek startups have enjoyed considerably more access to venture capital funding in 2021. They raised more than half a billion euro, growing three times of the previous year.
This capital was split across 70 startups, 30% more companies than in 2020, showing an increase in early stage activity. Also, three out of 10 rounds were Series A. In this thriving environment, the first unicorns emerged from the Greek ecosystem – PeopleCert, which certifies professional and language skills, and neobank Viva Wallet, partially acquired by JP Morgan. Blueground is also closer to this goal, with a $750 million valuation.
The Greek diaspora also continued to be strong. Greek-founded startups raised their own record level of $4.5 billion investments, while the number of acquisitions and public listings doubled.
Finally, the investor’s space in the region is growing, with new funds launched in 2021including VentureFriends, with a €90M fund, and Genesis Ventures, with a €20 million pre-seed investment from EIF.