Zerofund: An innovative platform to kickstart Greece’s startup scene

    Από: Startup Team


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Greece-based journalist Eleni Natsi. You can find her on LinkedinTwitter and Facebook.

In 2011 the leading French newspaper Liberation published an extensive report on the Greek economic crisis as well as what happened to the global financial markets following former Prime Minister George Papandreou’s decision to call for a referendum. The referendum asked Greek citizens to vote on whether or not they want to accept the EU bail out package and all its measures, or to exit the Eurozone and return to the drachma.

The title was “Le Chaos”.

“Le Chaos” turned itself from a news title to a dominant word for foreigners each time they refer to Greece since the beginning of the severe economic crisis back to 2009.

But is that the whole truth about Greece? Certainly not. Some people, especially the young generation, do their part to beat the crisis. And sometimes against all odds. Due to the crisis, government services were asked to undergo harsh budget cuts and companies started laying people off by the thousands. As a consequence, people started thinking of creating – and some of them actually funding – their own companies.

BugSenseTaxibeatHellas Direct, the newly funded by Openfund startups Incrediblue and Workable HR (a €100,000 investment in Incrediblue and €600,000 in Workable HR) are some of the successful Greek startups that were founded during the crisis, paving the way for a hopefully better future for Greece. Are we talking about the rebirth of the Greek startup ecosystem? This remains to be seen in the next few years but certainly something feels right about this.

Zerofund and how to fight startups’ “bugs”

If somebody wanted to identify the problems that Greek startups face, three words would surface: funding-networking-logistics. Also, if somebody asked who knows in detail the problems of a startup, the obvious answer would be “a startuper”. And here comes Zerofund.

Zerofund is a collective effort of Greek entrepreneurs, famous Greekamericans and others, to deal with the problems faced by startups in the country. It was founded by active startupers, John Vlachogiannis,Maria Nasioti and Panagiotis Papadopoulos, the core team of BugSense, a tool that collects and analyzes crash reports from mobile apps.

So, what is Zerofund?

Zerofund is essentially a social network of mentors from Greece and abroad and a funding and participation bridge to an acceleration program in the United States called Mindthebridge.

Almost all “heavy weights” of the Greek startup scene participate in the Mindthebridge platform as mentors: Pinnatta, Taxibeat, Hellas Direct, E-shope-food,  Doctoranytime and Weendy supported Zerofund from the very beginning along with many others such as Visionmobile, a market analysis and strategy firm in the mobile sector.

Behind the Zerofund curtain one can also find personalities with an international presence such as Alex Gounares (formerly AOL CTO and before that one of Bill Gates’ closest aides at Microsoft) Location Labs CEO Tasso Roumeliotis, as well as Google Product Managers from San Francisco and London who agreed to offer their knowledge to the Greek startups.

Is it like Kickstarter? Nope. This is how it actually works

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