Navigator Consulting attended the 2023 European Business Angels Network (EBAN) Annual Congress in Thessaloniki Greece on May 24-26, 2023. The meeting was organized by EBAN with the support of the Hellenic Business Angels Network (HeBAN), InvestEU and Enterprise Greece.
EBAN is the European organisation for angel investors and other early-stage supporters. It comprises more than 100 members in more than 50 countries. EBAN represents a sector estimated to invest € 11.4 billion Euros a year which is vital to supporting early stage entrepreneurs and innovators, as well as later stage scale-ups and companies.
In recent years, the Greek technology entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem has rapidly developed. One of the reasons for this was the launch of Equifund, a public / private commitment to invest in venture capital for the Greek tech system. Equifund was co-financed by the European Investment Fund as well as through private capital. Over € 300 million was committed for financing from 2017 onwards.
Equifund's emergence has fuelled the growth of Greece's venture capital landscape, providing a much-needed injection of capital and expertise. Venture capital funds, such as Marathon Venture Capital, Metavallon, Openfund, and VentureFriends have experienced significant success, facilitating the financing of early-stage and growth-stage startups across various technology sectors. Other specialised funds not participating in EIB/EIF facilities, such as Brookstreet Capital, have also played an important role.
Numerous Greek tech success stories have emerged, including online travel platform Travelplanet24, e-commerce platform Workable, and digital health startup Intelligo. Perhaps the greatest success story is Viva, an online payment system that was recently partially acquired by JP Morgan, making it Greece’s first unicorn in the fintech space.
Beyond Equifund, Greece has seen the development of various initiatives and organizations fostering entrepreneurship and innovation. StartupGreece, a provides support and resources to startups, including mentoring programs and access to networks. Co-working spaces, such as The Cube Athens, Orange Grove and Impact Hub Athens, provide a collaborative environment for startups to thrive and connect with like-minded entrepreneurs. Endeavor Greece, The Hellenic Initiative, and the MIT Enterprise Forum Greece also play a major role in supporting the Greek ecosystem.
According to Enterprise Greece, the Greek tech ecosystem was valued at € 8 billion in 2022, while according to Marathon Venture Capital, Greek start-ups raised $ 3 billion in 2021 and $ 2 billion in 2022.
The growing sophistication and scale of the Greek tech ecosystem was on full disply at the EBAN Annual Congress. The event attracted over 500 angel investors, entrepreneurs, and experts from around the globe to explore the latest trends, opportunities, and challenges in the global startup ecosystem.
One of the most positive aspects of the Annual Congress was the quality of round table discussions and presentations. Panelists addressed some of the most pressing issues in tech investing, such as due diligence for artificial intelligence investments, building startup ecosystems, or the role of cross-border angel investments.
The event included a pitching session featuring a wide range of Greek and international startups, as well as a startup exhibition.
The event was supported significantly by the Greek tech ecosystem, with HeBAN, Egg (Enter-Grow-Go), the Alexander Innovation Zone, Helexpo, CapsultT Accelerator, BeyondExpo, ICEX, RRIStart, Bioanopolys, the Spread2Inno Project and many media partners supporting the event.
The 2024 EBAN Annual Congress will be held in Tallinn, Estonia, and we plan to be there!
All photos provided by and (c) EBAN