My experience of Open coffee LI .
I attended the Open coffee LI and it was a great moment for the greek startup community.It was a surreal experience. Three fund managers were trying to explain their vision and pitched to convince startupers that they not only had the money but also smart money. One moment was weird, when someone from the audience asked a simple question. The fund manager perceived this question as aggressive and took a defensive stance and presented his past career in order to clear any doubts. We all know that Fund managers are the ones who ask most of the questions but this event was different.
What is changing slow but steady ?
Until now a lot of Greek Startups were seeking for funding in other countries. It was a huge waste of their productivity to spend months and a lot of money in other countries and in another ecosystems. They have invest their energy in other unknown ecosystems with small possibilities of funding.
That means that these funds are a panacea?
Not at all. It only means that it would allow more startups to think Greece as an alternative for funding. Nothing else.
It is just a little more money for the startup companies. It is well-known that just a bit more money does not solve any real problems. We are an ecosystem with very little power in global public relations, tiny to incubate really big and innovative ideas, with very small experience in business development, fragmentation, divided into many camps, with lack of entrepreneurial mentality, with social perception issues towards entrepreneurship etc. To summarise we are just an infant ecosystem learning to crawl in comparison with other ecosystems which are in their peak productivity and creativity age.
All these and many more will not be vanished by having more money spent. All the money in the world could not solve these infant issues. It takes time and actually sometimes more money than necessary is an obstacle in the development of entrepreneurial mentality like our agricultural subsidies destroyed agriculture in Greece.
I assume that in the first open coffee when Tziralis said ” Greek start ups are here ” there were just a few startups in Greece. Greek and startups couldn’t go together, could not dance together. There were probably fewer that the fingers of our right hand. Startups were just an idea in the heads of brave people who wanted to embark on the entrepreneurship journey. After many years the ecosystem has involved. Our Perception has changed, lot of failures , some success but what is more important our volition, our will, our decision that we will make greek startups a global product.
Our volition, our will, our determination that we are not in any way inferior to anyone in the world. We may not have the same ecosystem but we have our intelligence, our determination, our creativity, our strength and we are going to do what is necessary to achieve success in this arena. Our decision, our realisation that although we live and breathe in Greece our target is the global market. Our city, our place, our predicaments in this troubled country will no longer define our destiny.Our city, our place, our predicaments in this troubled country will no longer limit our ambitions. Our ambition is to create world-class products and services for making our life better and our world a better place to live.
When just one person comes to this realisation, then it is a start, but when a vibrant community has realised this then a critical mass is created. A critical mass for Great teams, great products, successful business. This is the critical mass for bringing the greek startups in a different level. That’s why George next time you must change our definition/slogan ” Greek startups are everywhere”. “Greek startups are here” is already a reality, “Greek startups are everywhere” is the target.
Greek Startups are in the mobiles, Greek Startups own marketplaces for creative people, Greek Startups build great databases utilities, Greek Startups define the next keyboard experience, Greek Startups change the way we share food, Greek Startups change the way we hail a taxi. Our limitations are no longer the limits of our ecosystem but the limits of our imagination.
Ancient Greek spirit is everywhere Ancient Greek philosophy is everywhere . Ancient Greeks have contributed a lot to our civilization. Ancient Greeks have contributed in language, Theatre, Philosophy, mathematics, science, communication, astronomy, the Olympic games, architecture, democracy etc. Ancient Greece is everywhere. Ancient Greeks were having long journeys to set up new colonies. The reason was shortage of land and the need to Open up new trade routes and create a better life for everyone.
I have the feeling that we are not very different. We are building here something global and starting new colonies.
That’s why I am very happy to be in this place, this specific time and I am sure that the future of this community will be brilliant.