Although in Athens there are only a couple of incubators that offer funding to hosting companies (a typical standard in other startup ecosystems), there are a lot of incubation and acceleration programs here. They offer office space, mentors and guidance, services, educational programs and other perks, saving a lot of the resources needed to develop your early-stage startup. Below are listed all types of incubators and accelerators that exist in Athens, as well as classic sources of startup financing such as crowdfunding, angels and VCs.
- IQbility: It’s a joint venture between Quest (a big group of corporates in technology, retail and energy industries) and PJ Tech Catalyst Fund (one of the 4 Greek JEREMIE funds). It offers an angel round of financing (around €60.000-80.000 in cash and services) in exchange for equity, as well as office spaces and mentorship. It’s dedicated to technology startups operating in various verticals of the economy. It’s based in the Kallithea suburb.
- egg – enter, grow, go: It’s an incubation program that started from Eurobank (one of Greece’s biggest banks) as a Corporate Responsibility initiative in 2013. Recently the third batch of the program started and the bank will offer to its alumni loans of up to €75.000 under friendly conditions. It offers office space for 1 year, legal and financial services and, along with Corallia Clusters, entrepreneurial education, connection with mentors and networking. It’s not focused on technology; on the contrary, it hosts companies from various sectors of the economy. Hosted companies are contributing an amount each month that at the end of the program is being donated to a good cause. It’s based in the Kallithea suburb.
- Orange Grove: It’s a startup incubator set up in summer 2013 by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Athens. Sponsored by Dutch multinationals and their Greek subsidiaries, it offers office space, educational bootcamps, network and mentorship. It’s open to young entrepreneurs from different industries and every hosted company pays a small fee. It’s located in downtown Athens, across from Kallimarmaron Stadium.
- The Athens Incube (Θερμοκοιτίδα Νεοφυών Επιχειρήσεων Αθήνας): Incubator set up by the Municipality of Athens and the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry under the European Commission-funded program ‘Project Athens.’ It offers office space, services and mentorship. It’s located in downtown Athens.
- EkinisiLab: A second incubator set up under ‘Project Athens,’ this time in collaboration with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises. It’s mostly targeting scientists that want to turn their research into businesses. It’s located in downtown Athens.
- Athens Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Another incubator set up under ‘Project Athens,’ in collaboration with the Athens University of Economics and Business. It hosts startups created by students and young graduates, and offers education, office space, mentors and connections to service providers. It’s located in downtown Athens, near AUEB.
- Epi.noo: The last incubator that has been set up by the Municipality of Athens under the ‘Project Athens.’ This one, in partnership with the National Technical University of Athens, targets engineers and technologists that are trying to develop a startup business. It’s located in downtown Athens, near Omonoia and Monastiraki Squares.
- Aephoria.Net: A network of incubating programs, services and competitions for startups active in sustainability, environment, social responsibility, sea economy and related industries. It’s located in downtown Athens.
- Metavallon: It runs The Accelerator, a program that offers a pre-seed round of funding (around €25.000), business education, networking and a 1-month trip to Silicon Valley. In the last batch of the program, funding for each participating company will come from angel investors who will take equity in the startup. Metavallon dedicated to technology startups.
- InnovAthens: A multi-space for innovation set up by the Municipality of Athens and seven tech and entrepreneurship associations under ‘Project Athens.’ Among other activities, it runs its very own acceleration program for new companies. It’s located in downtown Athens, in the Keramikos/Gkazi area.
Crowd Investing Platforms:
- Open Circle Greece: A crowd-investing platform that connects startup companies looking for financing with private investors that want to invest in startups. Startups are declaring how much money they’re looking for and the equity they’re giving up, and investors have available all the details about the financials of the company and its business plan. It recently started operations and has run a few campaigns so far.
- WinnersFund: A crowd-funding platform for entrepreneurs and companies that are looking for alternative ways to finance their startup. Companies are setting their funding target and perks for contributing members. As of the time of writing this article, it hasn’t started operations yet.
- EVEA Business Angels Network (Δίκτυο Επιχειρηματικών Αγγέλων ΕΒΕΑ): Along with Athens Startups Incubator, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry runs a Business Angels Network that connects startups with registered angel investors. ACCI’s network is a member of the European Business Angels Network (EBAN).
- Angels Group by StartTech Ventures Incubation Fund: An organisation providing startups with equity investments and incubation, it was recently announced as a ‘side-car’ to their activity and their newly opened incubation space.
- A lot of Greek or Greek-origin private investors have listed themselves and their portfolio companies on platforms like AngelList or CrunchBase.
Venture Capital Investors:
- Openfund II: A JEREMIE VC fund that offers seed rounds of financing (up to €750.000 per company in two or three rounds). It focuses on software and app companies in several B2C and B2B sectors. It’s one of the most vocal funds in Greece and claims only 1% of reviewed companies receive funding.
- Piraeus Jeremie Tech Catalyst Fund: A JEREMIE fund set up together with Piraeus Bank (currently the largest bank in Greece). It offers seed rounds (up to €750.000 per company in usually two rounds) and focuses more on B2B solutions.
- Elikonos Jeremie Sicar: A JEREMIE fund active in later funding rounds of a startup life cycle. It has co-invested a couple of times with the rest of JEREMIE funds in million-Euro rounds.
- Odyssey Venture Partners: The last JEREMIE fund, also active in later rounds (Series A). It takes some high-tech perspective, while it also co-invests with the rest of JEREMIE funds*.
- Fundbox Capital: A recently launched private Venture Capital firm that invests in seed rounds. So far, it has executed two investments, one of them being in a Greek-origin company.
- NBG Business Seeds: A three-pillar program by the National Bank of Greece (one of Greece’s 4 biggest banks) for financing startups and high-growth SMEs. One of the pillars provides Venture Capital investments in tech startups and so far has executed one deal.
Grants & Subventions:
Grants for startup companies offer the following competitions and awards (among others):
- Greece Innovates (Η Ελλάδα Καινοτομεί – by Eurobank and Hellenic Federation of Enterprises)
- i-bank Innovation & Technology (by National Bank of Greece)
- e-nnovation (by AUEB)
- Hellenic Entrepreneurship Award (by Libra Group)
- MIT Enterprise Forum Greece Startup Competition: business acceleration and global networking format by MITEF Greece that culminates into a demo day/pitching competition
- Crazy Business Ideas (by IST College)
- ideatree (by the Greek Government’s General Secretary of the Youth)
- Social Impact Award (by Impact Hub Athens)
Other Investment Opportunities:
- Action Finance Initiative: In partnership with the Pancretan Cooperative Bank it offers micro-loans of up to €10.000 to new and existing companies that cannot secure financing otherwise. In collaboration with other partners and donors it also offers free services, mentorship and business guidance.