The European Investment Fund (EIF) will invest €20M in Genesis Ventures, an angel investment platform for Greek entrepreneurs, with the goal of transforming Greece into a tech hub for the region. Over 60 pre-seed and very early-stage Greek startups in the ICT sector will benefit from the new specialist equity funding in the next five years.
Bringing experience back to the local market
Genesis Ventures is an angel investment platform for entrepreneurs with a connection to Greece who are at the early stages of building a startup.
It was launched by Greek investor Dimitrious Maroulis and Greek tech entrepreneur Stergios Anastasiadis, now co-leading the company as General Partners. Their combined experience is nothing short of impressive. Dimitrious served as a Venture Partner at Antler, the largest global early stage VC and had 60 pre-seed investments in the last two years, while Stergios has founded six startups, had three acquisitions, one IPO, and eight angel investments, out of which six in Greece.
After having invested in early-stage tech startups around the world, the two partners are determined to set up shop in Greece and support their homeland’s tech ecosystem with know-how and funding, Dimitrios announced.
What it means for the Greek startup and investment ecosystems
Back in 2007, Greece was a pioneer in signing the JEREMIE Funding Agreement with EIF to unlock the use of EU Structural Funds for SME investments. By 2016, close to €200M was channeled as equity and loan instruments towards ~3,000 SMEs from Greece. More than half of the initial resources have already been repaid.
Today, the new EIF funding marks a new beginning, as the first engagement to use reflows from past successful investments undertaken through JEREMIE.
In total, Genesis Ventures plans to unlock €40M in venture capital equity investment the next five years from co-investing alongside angel investors.
For Greek startups, this will complement existing equity investments and help fuel the booming local startup ecosystem. It will also unlock the power of angel investors to guide and support the local ecosystem with specialist knowledge.
In 2021, Greek startups raised over half a billion euro, three times more than last year. The ecosystem also produced the first Greek unicorn – professional and language skills certifier PeopleCert – and 6 exists.
Since 2016, EquiFund, a fund of funds and an initiative backed by ESIF resources has managed to attract over 620M in total funding from more than 120 investors for 119 companies launched by Greek entrepreneurs.
Yet early-stage activity in the Greek startup ecosystem is also growing. The number of startups getting funded has increased by 30% this year, while half of these companies are up to 4 years old. This means that startups will be looking for more funding in the years to come.
“This signature initiates a new era in the SME financing in Greece. By having the first business angels’ co-financing mechanism we can be sure that we are filling the last missing piece of the equity-financing puzzle in the Greek startup ecosystem,” announced Ioannis Tsakiris, Deputy Minister of Development & Investments.
In turn, this growth in available funding for Greek startups will help them expand, unlock new opportunities, and make Greece more attractive as a destination for tech investments.
+++For more information on the state of the Greek innovation ecosystem, as well as funding opportunities for Greek startups, check out this article.+++