Phaistos Investment Fund, the Greek €93M+ fund that is focused on enabling the development of a Greek 5G ecosystem, received a €3M investment from the German Deutsche Telekom. This is the first investment of Deutsche Telekom in Greece and the first collaboration between foreign private and local public funds.
Founded at the beginning of 2021, Phaistos Investment Fund has already completed its internal and investment regulations. The first round of fundraising from private investors also heads towards completion and Phaistos Fund is expected to launch investment activity in the coming months. The fund has already been approached by 31 companies that develop 5G-related digital services with interest for potential investments.
“The plan for 2022 is to make the first investments in established or newly-founded companies. We see that interest in the development of 5G and 5G-related products & services comes from a broad spectrum of sectors including manufacturing, tourism & entertainment, cybersecurity, Space, health, and agri-food,” Nikos Moumouris, Communication and Public Relations Officer at 5G Ventures S.A., shares for The Recursive.
How does Phaistos Fund support the Greek 5G ecosystem
Phaistos Investment Fund is a Greek state initiative that aims to support SMEs and startups that develop services and products enabling the 5G disruption of traditional models. The Greek state, and more specifically the Ministry of Digital Governance, is the anchor investor in the Fund. The initial size of the fund of €93M was 25% of the revenue of the recent tender for 5G spectrum administration. Phaistos Fund combines funds from the Public (€93M) and the Private Sector (currently, Deutsche Telekom AG and Latsco Family Office).
Phaistos Fund is managed by 5G Ventures S.A. – an independent fund management company that is run by a team of experienced professionals with a background in Telecommunications, VC, and PE management.
The fund supports startups at seed, Series A, or Series B stages that operate in Greece or have activities in Greece. In terms of sectors, the Fund invests in businesses that are involved in 5G-related research and the development of 5G-related products and services in Greece, in sectors such as transport and logistics, manufacturing, public goods and utilities, health, tourism, information, and media.
A key part of the strategy of the fund is to establish relationships with local incubators, accelerators, VCs, industry members, and academic R&D institutions. It has built a network that includes institutions such as the University of Patras and NCSR “Demokritos”, which will provide the know-how to the investees, and industry players such as Cosmote, Vantage Towers, Nokia, and Corallia.
Moumouris highlights that the Funds extends beyond the typical VC mindset as it provides investees with access to reserved parts of the spectrum, facilitating testing in real-world conditions. It also provides portfolio companies with access to its network of academic institutions and high-profile industry players.
The Phaistos Fund’s role in EU 5G policy objectives
According to the Digital Compass Policy Programme of the European Commission, by 2030 all households should have gigabit connectivity and all populated areas should be covered by 5G.
Research by the European Telecommunications Networks Operators’ Association (ETNO) highlights that by 2025 5G technology can help EU economies generate an additional €113B in total GDP and create some 2.4M new jobs.
“Our objective when we created Phaistos was two-fold. First, to build a venture capital fund along the lines of the private sector’s blueprint and provide financing. Secondly, to provide the tools, such as strategic and operational resources, for companies to grow,” Antonis Tzortzakakis, CEO of 5G Ventures, said in a recent press release.
The Phaistos Investment Fund plays a significant role in allowing Greece to catch up with EU targets regarding connectivity and digital technology, including the improvement of its Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Currently, Greece is among the countries with the lowest DESI scores in the EU together with Romania and Bulgaria.