There’s talent and funding, tax incentives and bold reforms expected this year to foster innovation and propel startup growth in Greece.

The Greek startup ecosystem may have experienced a few slow years, but experts now see it reaching a value of $8.2 billion and evolving into a leader in venture funding in Southeastern Europe.

According to the “Startups in Greece Venture Financing 2023-2024” report conducted by Found.ation and EIT Digital, 11 new exits made headlines in 2023, some exceeding €100 million in value.

At the same time, Greek startups are turning heads. Last year, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Intel, and Dell completed acquisitions. Add to that swelling interest by bigwigs like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, players in LinkedIn, Asana, Microsoft, the Agnelli family, and JP Morgan, and it’s clear that there’s plenty of talent in Greece to get the ball rolling.

Greece Startups Making Slow but Steady Steps

Last year was pretty slow, says Dimitris Kalavros-Gousiou, VC Investor & Entrepreneur, co-founder of Found.ation, an innovation management consulting firm and a strategic partner of EIT Digital.

Some 70 startups received a total of €485 million in funding. Only 20% of these had a female among the founders.

“However, this quietude should not be mistaken for stagnation. Rather, it’s the precursor to a significant shift we anticipate in 2024 as these funds begin actively deploying capital in the market,” he says.

According to Kalavros-Gousiou, international venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) firms have actively supported Greek companies. This, he says, demonstrates the maturity and resilience of the Greek venture market. “The sustained interest of international players in Greek startups underscores the global recognition of the innovation and potential inherent in our local market,” he says.

Greece Becoming More Startup-friendly

Globally, Greece ranked 32nd among 62 of the world’s most startup-friendly countries in 2024, according to CEOWORLD. A year earlier, startup ecosystem map and research center, StartupBlink, ranked Greece 37th – up six spots – in its Τοp 100 countries for startup-business friendliness.

To establish itself further, says Kalavros-Gousiou, Greece needs to boost early-stage capital and mentorship to emerging startups. At the same time, he adds, the government must streamline and simplify tax incentivization schemes for angel investors. Offering potential private investors incentives to participate in Greek VC funds is crucial for sustaining the momentum, he explains.

New Era for Greece’s Startup Landscape

Improving global confidence in the Greek economy and fresh funding options through the EU’s NSRF 2021-2027 program and Greece’s 2.0 resilience plan are set to further nurture the Greek ecosystem’s growth and broaden its horizons.

Indicatively, funding channelled into the Greek startup ecosystem has gone from under €50 million in 2018 to €670 million in 2021, dropping in 2022 to €632 million and to €485 million in 2023. In Europe, funding dropped by 38%. However, despite the 24.5% decline in funding in Greece, its ecosystem increased by 4.2% reflecting a strong momentum, the report found.

Angel investors participated in 42% of funding rounds, alongside family offices and corporate VCs. Despite funding fluctuations, Greece’s startup scene continues to evolve, promising growth and resilience in 2024.

There are currently 13 active Greek VC funds focused mainly on startups with a total size of €545 million. These funds were invested in 62 startups in 2023, accounting for about 85% of the total volume of deals.

Key Areas of Startup Activity

 As Greece’s venture capital landscape matures, new investment opportunities are only a matter of time. Most funded sectors in the 2023 Greek startup ecosystem were retail tech, AI (artificial intelligence), and agritech with 22% of investors from Greece, 24% from the EU, 33% from the US, 12% from the UK, and 9% from other countries.

Other areas attracting investor interest include: commercial real estate, semiconductors, health tech, information technology, e-commerce, education tech, manufacturing, mobility, software, Greentech, Fintech, Blockchain, big data, and transportation.

The 10 Most Funded Greek Startups

The Top 10 most funded Greek startups are Viva Wallet, FlexCar, Skroutz, Blueground, Spotawheel, EdgeQ, Causaly, Persado, Plum, and Workable.

The report defines a startup as being Greek if it currently, or at some point in the past, maintained headquarters, a branch, or an R&D department in Greece, or if a significant number of its founders and employees are Greek citizens.

Based on the report, the 10 most funded startups last year were on average 5.2 years old, with 51-100 employees, held 3.7 funding rounds, waited 1.8 years to first funding, had 8.7 investors, and three in 10 had a branch office in the US.

In the meantime, leading Greek startup exits include Instashop, Softomotive, Augmenta, MarineTraffic, Helic, Niometrics Pollfish,, Accusonus, and DeepSea.

To demonstrate the size: Augmenta, an agritechnology startup from Volos, Central Greece, was purchased by CNH Industrial, an Agnelli family interest, for $110 million.

Innovation Made in Greece

Speaking at this year’s Delphi Forum held earlier this month, Theofilos Vasileiadis, CEO at Kariera Group, spoke of his own experience. Securing funding years ago, he said, was very difficult. However, Greek companies that have started to succeed are paving the way for a more sophisticated ecosystem allowing easier access to funds.

According to the report’s innovation map, the bulk of Greece’s startup activity, which includes accelerators, incubators, European Digital Innovation Hubs, and co-working spaces is found in Xanthi, Kavala, Drama, Thessaloniki, Kozani, Volos, Larissa, Trikala, Ioannina, Mytilene, Samos, Attica, Laconia, Kalamata, Patra, Chania and Heraklio, Crete.

Athens, meanwhile, boasts 21 accelerators, 22 incubators, two European Digital Innovation Hubs, and 25 co-working spaces in Kifissia, Marousi, Halandri, Peristeri, Athens, Piraeus, and Glyfada.

Looking Ahead

 Looking ahead, a Found.ation poll found that for 2024, Greek VCs are cautiously optimistic rating prospects at 3.8 on a scale of 5 and forecasting growth and resilience.

Challenges cited include inflation and geopolitical tensions but on a positive note, Greece’s improving economic standing, supportive government policies that are bolstering confidence, a growing pool of entrepreneurial talent, and Greek startup success stories are bound to attract interest and investments.