Hunting Greek Unicorns #40
Rock and roll in cybereconomy, funding environment heating up, DeFi, angel investing in Greece, empathetic management and Ted Lasso, jobs, events, and more
👋 Happy Friday! Welcome to Hunting Greek Unicorns #40. I’m a startup geek based in Greece, and every two weeks I send out a newsletter with everything you need to know about the Greek startup industry.
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Rock and Roll in Cybereconomy: Greek-founded Crypto and Blockchain Startups
“Cyberspace transcends locality. It involves nothing less than the instantaneous sharing of data everywhere and nowhere at once. The emerging information economy is based in the interconnections linking and relinking millions of users of millions of computers. Its essence lies in the new possibilities that arise from these connections”.
This excerpt is from the book “The Sovereign Individual”, written by Davidson and Rees-Mogg in 1997. In there, the authors predicted the rise of the Information Revolution and the existence of a full-blown cybereconomy with cybermoney, which supersedes fiat money issued by governments, at the centre of it. This new digital form of money, denationalized and consisting of encrypted sequences of multi hundred-digit prime numbers, they argued, is destined to play a pivotal role in cybercommerce, leading to one of the greatest economic and political transitions of our times; a transition that will irrevocably alter the power of governments.
Fast forward to 2021, the cybereconomy is alive and kicking. Just like Davidson and Rees-Mogg foresaw. Bitcoin surpassed Swiss Franc to become the world’s 13th largest currency in market capitalization with countries accepting it as legal tender. Visa spent nearly $150,000 to buy a CryptoPunk, 1 out of a 10,000 NFT collection - unique digital collectibles living on Ethereum, arguing that “NFTs will play an important role in the future of retail, social media, entertainment, and commerce”. Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) aka teams coordinating through a shared set of programmatically enforced rules are holding billions of dollars worth of digital assets in their treasuries and are now legally recognized organizations in US states. At the same time, the total amount of collateral locked in DeFi platforms (a collective term for financial products and services on public blockchains where you can lend, borrow, long/short, earn interest, and more) currently sits right above $100 billion according to DeFi Pulse.
The cybereconomy, comprised of crypto-economic networks, is transforming money, financial institutions, culture, corporate structures, and more, with blockchains at its core. Blockchains are cryptographically secured chains of blocks or lists of records linked together using cryptography, described in 1982 by David Chaum and later on in 1991 by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta. Nevertheless, they weren’t popularised until 2008, when used by a person (or group of people) using the name Satoshi Nakamoto to serve as the public distributed ledger in Bitcoin (here’s the whitepaper). Since then, blockchains have served as key components in several applications, kickstarting the Web3 era.
I will use the following graph from Fabric Ventures to illustrate this evolution:
This era, as Max Mersch and Richard Muirhead wrote, is a leap forward to open (built from open-source software), trustless (the network itself allows participants to interact publicly or privately without a trusted third party) and permissionless (anyone can participate without authorisation from a governing body) networks. A decentralized evolution of the internet with decentralized apps that run on the blockchain. To get a better sense of what decentralization means I’d recommend reading this article by Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum, while a full list of resources to navigate this space by VC fund a16z is here.
Going down the rabbit hole, I was curious to explore which Greek-founded startups are building crypto and blockchain products. From blockchain analytics tools to crypto wallets and NFT marketplaces to peer-to-peer code collaboration platforms, here’s a list of 26 teams.
Disclaimer: The list is by no means exhaustive. Funding information was gathered from public online sources and for companies that haven’t publicly disclosed their funding amount or are bootstrapped the equivalent field is blank.
If you’re building a web3 product, I’d love to hear from you. Just hit reply to this email and let’s connect!
🦄 Startup Jobs
Looking for your next opportunity? Check out job postings from Greek startups in Greece, abroad, and remotely. Company information is also available.
Six funding rounds were announced in the past two weeks for Greek-founded startups! The space is certainly heating up, with more and more investments and top international VC funds backing teams. Things are just getting started 🚀 Let’s see the latest updates:
Privacy-first, physical world analytics startup Ariadne Maps raised a €2m seed round led by Marathon Venture Capital. At the intersection of AI and real-world apps, the team brings real-time analytics to areas with heavy foot traffic (stores, transportation stations, etc).
New $14m funding round for Plum. This is the first close of an anticipated $24m Series A round. European expansion, new features and more investment assets coming up next for the team, with a crowdfunding round also happening in October.
Maritime recruitment platform Seafair raised a $5.7m seed round from a list of investors including General Catalyst, Firstminute Capital, SV Angel, Speedinvest and more. Greek Signal Ventures is also a backer.
Riding the speedy grocery delivery wave, Pop Market launched in Athens with its own network of dark stores and announced a $3.5m seed round led by Global Founders Capital and 468 Capital.
Seervision, a startup using AI to automate high-quality video production, announced a 3.7m CHF round from investors including Metavallon.
Flexciton, an optimisation technology company that is improving the efficiency and productivity of semiconductor manufacturing processes, secured €17.8m in funding.
Applications are open for the ACEin acceleration program until December 23.
🤓 Interesting Reads
Nikos Drandakis, ex-founder/CEO of Beat, pulled back the curtain on his new venture, called Flyway. Here are more details on how Flyway is planning to create a smarter way to own and enjoy a second home.
Ted Lasso and a model for empathetic management by Zaharenia Atzitzikaki, Design leader and previously VP at Workable.
Michael Petychakis, CTO at Orfium, on how the company is revolutionising the music tech industry, and the potential of Greek human capital in the tech space, here.
A post by Nicolas Huber, co-founder of noopd, discussing product data, automation and implementing Profit on Ad Spend (POAS) as a sanity metric of real profitability for your ad spend.
Jon Vlachogiannis, founder of OMGDrops, on five reasons why you cannot sell your NFTs, here.
Monolith diaries by Lazarus Lazaridis, Software Engineer & Tech Lead at Skroutz, describing the process of upgrading Rails and organizing this milestone to deliver without blocking an engineering team of 160+ developers.
A podcast with Stavros Papadopoulos, founder & CEO of TileDB, talking about the early days of TileDB, his journey making data management universal, lessons learned, and more.
Christos Trochalakis, CTO of Skroutz, on how the different product teams at Skroutz are organised, their product discovery process and more, here.
An introduction to angel investing, and the current landscape and incentives in Greece from Apostolos Lerios, here.
Panel discussion with Dionysis Zindros, Cryptography/Blockchains post-doc researcher at Stanford University, on privacy and security in DeFi.
Antonis Kalipetis and Paris Kasidiaris kickstarting their 3rd Mikri Kouventa season, with a podcast on software craftsmanship.
Interesting events coming up from the Greek tech community:
“18o Open Coffee Heraklion” by Open Coffee Heraklion on October 30
“Building a time machine with CQRS and Event Sourcing” by Thessaloniki .NET Meetup on November 1
“UX Greece welcomes Louis Rosenfeld” by UX Greece on November 3
“57th Athens Agile Meetup” by Agile Greece on November 3
“Let's talk about building a successful startup” by Serres Software Development Meetup on November 5
“3rd Global Bitcoin Meetup” by Bitcoin & Blockchain Tech Meetup (Athens) on November 6
“Greektech Talks #09 Founder Panel” by GreekTech (NYC) on November 10
“Continuous Product Discovery by Blueground” by Product Community Greece on November 11
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Thanks for reading and see you in two weeks,
Greek Startup Pirate 👋