Published on 10/12/2015 in AIS Sessions

Afternoon Thematic Session on Technology and Start-ups


Mr. Stavros Messinis, Founder and CEO, The Cube Athens


Mr. Stavros Messinis, Founder and CEO, The Cube Athens

The Greek Start-up Ecosystem: Recent Developments and Prospects

Mr. Nikos Drandakis, Founder and CEO, Taxibeat

Growing a Start-up in Greece and Internationally



Session Summary

Often overlooked by both government policy and “mainstream” investors, the Greek technology sector has seen the rapid growth of a start-up culture and new business launches. Greek start-ups such as Taxibeat and Workable have excelled, expanding internationally and attracting funding rounds from domestic and international investors. Financers such as the Open Fund have provided cornerstone seed capital and early stage financing. Organisations such as The Cube, OpenCoffee and others provide networking, acceleration, incubation and a framework where like-minded, ambitious and motivated entrepreneurs can meet and develop.

This afternoon thematic session turns its focus on the Greek tech / start-up scenes. Topics to be explored include:

  • How large is this sector in terms of start-ups, capital and total employment?

  • What are the main themes or ideas Greek start-ups are working on?

  • How difficult is it to base a start-up in Greece?

  • What advantages does Greece offer start-ups, if not in terms of business environment, then at least in terms of programmers, staff motivation, technical resources, etc?

  • How have the success stories in Greece fared in practical terms? How do they evaluate their success? What competitive advantages can they point to?

  • What are some main issues investors should look for when evaluating whether to invest in a Greek start-up?

  • What type of international growth strategy should be followed?

Each speaker will present for 8-10 minutes, and there will be a moderated panel discussion together with questions from the audience. The working language of the session will be English only: simultaneous translation will not be provided.


The Speakers

We are grateful for the participation of three of the leading lights of the Greek tech and start-up sectors.


Mr. Stravros Messinis, The Cube Athens

Mr. Stavros Messinis is Founder and Community Curator of The Cube Athens, Greece's largest start-up cluster. The Cube acts as an event, co-working and maker space and hosts over 25 technology start-ups.

Mr. Messinis is also a member of the global facilitator team of Startup Weekends, having facilitated their organisation in Cologne, Athens, Jeddah, Hamburg, Utrecht, Chisinau, Nicosia, Milton Keynes and Saarbrücken. Furthermore, Mr. Messinis is facilitator of SWNext, an experiential entrepreneurial curriculum delivered in collaboration with Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Steve Blank.

Previously, he had cofounded the CoLab Athens at the Startup Weekend Athens in 2009. CoLab was Greece's first co-working space and went on to become Greece's biggest network of co-working spaces with presence in 3 cities. He sold his stake in CoLab in February 2013 and has since started The Cube among other activities in the Greek start-up scene.

His most recent initiatives have been, a global community of start-up founders, socialising and networking in cities around the world at casual meals to exchange best practices and ideas. His latest initiative is, a non-profit, entrepreneurship themed roadshow travelling around Greece to set up an entrepreneurship campus in each city for a week with the goal to leave behind an energised local community.

Mr. Messinis also curates the StartupDigest newsletter in Athens.


Mr. Nikos Drandakis, Taxibeat

Mr. Nikos Drandakis is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Taxibeat, a mobile application that allows users to select and hail their taxi online without phone calls.

Mr. Drandakis launched Taxibeat in 2011 with 3 co-founders, receiving a total of $ 8 million in seed funds and subsequent funding rounds by the Openfund.  

Seeing the prevailing economic crisis in Greece as an opportunity for innovative ideas, Mr. Drandakis managed to turn the concept into a profitable international business. Today, Taxibeat is rated a prime example of high-profile success within the Greek ICT start-up scene, having expanded to London, New York and other markets.

With a technical background as a programmer, Mr. Drandakis founded his first tech start-up in the late 1990s with, a B2B marketplace allowing businesses to order their supplies online. After selling his first company two years later, he and 2 co-founders launched in 2006, a blog aggregator and social networking app for bloggers in Greece.

Besides building his own businesses, Mr. Drandakis worked as Business Development Manager for Profile S.A.; social media consultant for iTeam; and as Digital Head of Action Global Communications in Greece and Cyprus.  He is guest lecturer at the Communication and Advertising Laboratory of Panteion University in Athens.