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OPENFUND The Business Plan Draft version - June 2009

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Abstract The document at hand consists of the specifications of a seed venture capital fund, focused specifically on innovative efforts immediately related to the Internet and High Technologies. The initiative capitalizes on the global promise and best practices of creating a disruptive start-up enterprise, next to the lack of proper early-stage investment infrastructure in the area of south eastern Europe. Moreover, it leverages on the locally available brainpower and traction developed around innovation and entrepreneurship, as this is manifested through the lasting momentum of Open Coffee meetings in Greece. A brief description of the above potential is initially illustrated, together with the portrait of the current situation in the local venture capital market, and some facts figuring out the latent opportunity. Then, a detailed description of the formulated process is deployed, providing all the specifications of the open call for applications, the selection and seeding procedures, a process which is to be iterated for a number of rounds. The document then moves on to shape out in detail the organizational structure of the fund, including the liabilities and benefits of the Executive and Investor Boards, as well as the Board of Advisors. An extended analysis of both the international and local markets follows to document the funding void and investment opportunity to be addressed. Further on, a financial analysis of the scheme is presented, covering the amount needed to be raised, together with a breakdown of the operational cost of the vehicle. The expected return on investment profiles are also put forward, next to the various exit strategies to be targeted at. Finally, the fund’s goals, under the perspective of each one of the participating entities are stated, while also appendixes with application and evaluation templates, and the short bios of the members of the Executive Board are provided. The specifications provided within the document have matured over a broad time window and a number of reengineering cycles to finally shape out what is believed to be a solid and close to optimal approach to the given problem and investment opportunity. At the same time, it is clearly stated that all contents are subject to change and the document on hand does not convey any legal powers or responsibilities.

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Contents 1 Executive Summary

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2 Status & Promise

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2.1

Global Promise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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2.2

Local Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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2.3

Open Coffee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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3 Description

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3.1

Phases . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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3.2

Cycle iteration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4 Structure 4.1

4.2

4.3

4.4

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Executive Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4.1.1

Liabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4.1.2

Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Investor Board . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4.2.1

Liabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4.2.2

Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Board of Advisors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4.3.1

Liabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4.3.2

Benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Corporate Processes and Policies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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5 Market analysis

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5.1

International Market Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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5.2

Local market attributes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6 Financial analysis

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6.1

Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6.2

Return on Investment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6.3

Exit strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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7 Goals

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A Application & Evaluation Templates

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A.1 Application template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

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A.2 Evaluation template . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . B Composition of the Executive Board B.1 Georgios Tziralis . . . . . . . . . . B.2 Georgios Kasselakis . . . . . . . . B.3 Dimitrios Athanasiadis . . . . . . . B.4 Onic Palandjian . . . . . . . . . . B.5 Spiros Xanthos . . . . . . . . . . . B.6 Apostolos Apostolakis . . . . . . . B.7 Sokratis Papafloratos . . . . . . . B.8 Teresa Farmaki . . . . . . . . . . .

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Executive Summary

Openfund is targeting towards developing globally innovative start-ups that will eventually return benefits, and profits, to everyone participated in the Openfund endeavor. To achieve this, Openfund aims at bringing together all the parts needed to succeed in starting-up, including the best and brightest of teams of entrepreneurs and start-up ideas, a number of investors, a wellconnected network of advisors and a carefully selected Executive Board to fine tune the whole set of processes. In brief, this is made possible firstly by setting up a competition that allows the creation or discovery of start-ups with vision and potential. Following that, these start-ups are provided with proper advice, guidance and support to accelerate their maturation until a subsequent round or exit. The competition is based on a call for interest for start-ups that are to submit their business proposals within two months. The submitted proposals are then to be judged by the Executive Board of the Openfund, while the successful ones are summoned for a brief interview. The proposals that pass this second round of judgment are called in for further interviewing in front of both the Executive and Investors Boards of the scheme. The chosen submissions are granted access to the support of the Openfund partners. This includes advice, networking and affiliations with the partners’ allies. The newly formed businesses are continuously nurtured and mentored throughout their funding steps in all necessary aspects. Support includes, among others, legal and tax issues, hands-on mentoring in management, business and financial subjects, while technological and marketing consulting is also given when required. These are the main benefits of participating in the Openfund. However, to help jumpstart their business, start-ups also receive a seed round funding of 20 to 30.000 euro. This funding is provided over 4 months during which the participants work full-time on their venture and are monitored, supported and advised by the Openfund. The goal is for the teams to be provided with enough time to develop a fully functional product and a business based on it, instead of a simple business plan. This stands as another reason why we focus on web services, since the creation of prototypes in this industry is feasible in such a strict time window. Furthermore, the support of a next round of funding will be under consideration, as well as a potential exit from the investment, or the extended support of the accepted start-ups. The suggested scheme is designed to operate in iteration cycles of 4 months. In this document, all details of the Openfund’s are provided. Among them, a brief description of the current status regarding high-tech entrepreneurship, next to the local problems and potential, are outlined. A detailed description of the steps and phases of the whole process, the structure of the people running it, a financial analysis demonstrating the Openfund sheets and 5


samples for the submission and judgment forms are also provided.

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2

Status & Promise

2.1

Global Promise

New technologies in general and the web in particular offer today the opportunity to build disruptive businesses, by initially spending very limited time and resources. If Google, Skype and Facebook stand as the legends of our times, they are nothing but the tip of an iceberg, comprised out of thousands of examples of less or more successful enterprises, built by taking advantage of software and the web. The promise of a couple of aspiring entrepreneurs with very little resources, developing a prototype application within a few months, and opening their service to the world straight from their garage has almost evolved into a myth, but at the same time paves the way for those willing to give what it takes to bring their vision into reality and change the world. ‘The age of entrepreneur’ in numbers translates in US and 2008 alone in Venture Capital firms which invested 28.3 billion $ in 3803 enterprises, with seed and early stage investments counting for 6.8 billion $ and 1453 of the total deals. At the same time, Information Technologies was the biggest sector with a share of 13.3 billions in total, and software/internet-specific deals counted for 5.0 billions1 . In Europe, Venture Capital fund allocation in 2007 was equal to 10.3 billion euro (not including buyout and acquisition deals), out of which 7.2 billions were invested in high-tech. Interestingly, out of these 7.2 billions, 3.3 were invested in early stage enterprises (seed and start-up phases), while the number of total deals closed across industries was finally equal to 32752 . Investment activity in Europe is proportionally strong as the American counterpart and the above numbers paint an optimistic picture regarding, if not anything else, the entrepreneurial spirit and trend to start-up, regardless of the general economic situation. And, at least according to investors’ decisions and entrepreneurs’ will, the promise and potential of high-tech entrepreneurship is a tremendous one.

2.2

Local Status

Given the promise and premise described above, it is clear that Greece and south-eastern Europe in general have yet to jump on the bandwagon of web entrepreneurship. The number of startups is small, if any, the deal flow remains far from strong, with few deals taking place, and the whole entrepreneurial ecosystem in general is striving, or simply does not exist, with the best and brightest of brains typically draining away in search of better opportunities. 1 2

source: PricewaterhouseCoopers, National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree Report source: European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, Private Equity Activity Survey 2008

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To provide some numbers on the above and considering Greece as a typical example of the status quo in the south-eastern european region, the corresponding metrics in 2007 indicate that venture deals contributed 0.002% of GDP (last in EU), while the expected allocation of funds raised for high-tech, early-stage investments was equal to 0 euro3 . Moreover, there is virtually no business angels’ network, no mature incubators, a few local companies that could buy-out smaller companies and a very low activity of universities and public research institutions on making seed capital investments in their researchers’ new ventures4 . To make matters worse, local venture capitalists lack the knowledge regarding companies of the new economy, featuring technological innovation and significant growth5 . And assuming that the core components of a start-up ecosystem are its existing brainpower, its active community, its investment funding and any proper advisory available, it is obvious that the ecosystem in Greece is in a bad shape, regarding its latter two components at least. However, there also exist some indicators that the needed ingredients for such an ecosystem are in place and are simply lacking a reliable trigger to ignite the whole start-up cycle. For example, regarding brainpower, Greece joins the top EU countries when it comes to higher education indices (without considering the significant number of greek students and researchers abroad) and availability of scientists and engineers6 . Moreover, some late developments with regard to networking, cultivating interest and promoting high-tech entrepreneurship offer a tangible promise of optimism. These developments which we consider sustainable and expandable are described in more detail in the following paragraphs.

2.3

Open Coffee

Before describing in detail the suggested funding scheme, it is considered necessary to share the Open Coffee Greece story, which actually is where this proposition comes from, while shaping an overview of the present condition of Greek technology-oriented start-ups. A representative portrait of the latter one can be drawn by extending the description of the community built around the Open Coffee initiative. Open Coffee as a movement began originally on February 27, 2007, when the British investor Saul Klein announced on his personal blog that the following Thursday he would be at a Starbucks caf´e in central London, available to anyone who was interested in meeting him. Of course this 3

source: European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association, Private Equity Activity Survey 2008 source: M. Bakatsaki-Manoudaki, K. Kosmidou, G. Papadopoulos, C. Zopounidis, The Venture Capital Investment Process In Greece: Some Evaluation Aspects, The Greek Industry Towards the Knowledge Economy, Conference of Technical Chamber of Greece, July 3-5, 2006, Athens 5 source: Overview of the Greek Venture Capital Market, Presentation of the existing situation in Greece, Atlantis Consulting, 2007 6 source: The Global Competitiveness Report 2007-2008, London: Palgrave MacMillan 4

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would be for mutual benefit. “Let’s establish from this point on a stable meeting point for open and periodical meet-ups of entrepreneurs, investors or anyone who is interested, in a completely informal environment”, he suggested. A few months later, the original idea had spread like an epidemic over more than 60 cities around the globe. The need and vision of setting such an event seemed to be rather distant for Greece, when in June 2007, a small group of people interested in technological entrepreneurship gathered for the first time at a bookstore’s humble caf´e, responding to a call by George Tziralis. The investors were absent, however the inertia quickly gave in to enthusiasm, as the compatible start-up-related interests sparked. People got to know each other, ideas were exchanged, next to experiences and business cards, along with the promise for this pleasant experiment to repeat itself soon. Since then many milestones have been reached, placing the Greek Open Coffee among the top of similar events around the world, if not the most prominent one, with respect to attendance count at least. Initially, the concept was enhanced with that of technological meetings in New York, where each first Tuesday of a month, starting 7pm, up to 6 speakers got to pitch their ideas or businesses over 5-10 minutes, to the most hip entrepreneurs of the city. Next –while keeping the quality unchanged— the idea was spread to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in the country, under the supervision and organization of Georgios Kasselakis, where it was met with success comparable to that of Athens. Following that, it has also spread in Ioannina and Patras with similar results. Finally, the 1-year anniversary of the event was marked by the co-hosting of an event with the largest technology-related blog on the planet, TechCrunch.com, leading to ever quicker expansion of the existing network of contacts and evangelists. Today, two years after the first timid attempt, Open Coffee can report more than 40 meetings in 6 cities around Greece, with almost a hundred and fifty of guest speakers and many hundreds (a few thousands in total) participants (the last events in Athens gathered almost 300 people per se), which quickly turn themselves into evangelists of the event and the start- up concept at large. To give some further details, some of the most prominent speakers hosted so far include: • International targeted local technology start-ups such as Wadja, Darkfall’s Aventurine, Upstream Systems and Grebooca; next to a significant number of other, yet less known enterprises • Successful entrepreneurs from Greece and abroad, including Jason Calacanis, Patrick De Laive, Tim O’Reilly and others, in total more than 70 entrepreneurs, many of which had just commenced their operation • Investors and funding schemes such as TANEO (New Economy Fund), Attica Ventures, Velti SA, and Vasilis Makios, the driving force behind the Corallia Cluster. 9


• Representatives from the area of politics such as Anna Diamantopoulou (former EU commissioner and minister of development) and Kiriakos Mitsotakis (ex- investment banker, member of the parliament) Moreover, many other events have been triggered or co-organized with companies such as Microsoft, the international Startup Weekend and many others with special interest groups on technology and business issues. No matter of the amount of traction created or the criteria to call this a success, even maybe a grassroots change, what remains without dispute is the main ingredient behind the vision and people behind the Greek Open Coffee: The passion, ambition and drive to put the pieces of latent potential together and transform the infeasible to a tangible reality.

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3

Description

Openfund is created with the single fundamental scope of boosting the local technological startup scene, and reaping the fruits out of this development. This target is to be delivered by filling the existing gap in seed level funding and support for entrepreneurial attempts related to new technologies and the internet. In the paragraphs to follow, the road map, time plan and processes, from the creation of the scheme till the funding of the targeted start-ups, are presented. The majority of these processes, from the creation to the operation of the scheme, are to be handled by the Executive Board. These include, among others, collection and evaluation of applications, early and final selection of the most capable among them, then support, advice, funding and monitoring their way to launching their business, therefore providing exit opportunities to the funding scheme itself. The Executive Board is comprised of a team of highly capable consultants, covering all the range of expertise required for a start-up’s operations. Resumes for the members of the Executive Board are also provided in this document (see App.B).

3.1

Phases

Openfund is to be built around iterative start-up contests, out of which the most capable of submissions are selected to receive the Openfund benefits. A detailed description of these operations is provided hereafter, starting from the announcement of the contest, to the selection of proposals to the investment and maturity processes, a cycle which is repeated for a number of iterations initially spanning 3 years. Call of interest (expected duration: 2 months): Starting at month ‘n’, a call of interest for submission of applications for Openfund opens. The call remains open for two full months, thereby the deadline is at the end of the month ‘n+2’. Proposals submitted after the deadline are reviewed in the next round. The next call of interest starts at the beginning of month ‘n+4’ and lasts till the end of month ‘n+6’, and so forth. Submitters are requested to form teams of 2 to 4 persons and fill the Application Template, which is also provided within this document (one-member teams submissions may be reviewed, however they are not encouraged). Calls of interest are to be communicated mostly by leveraging the width and traction of the Open Coffee community, apart from all other available media outlets. First judgment (expected duration: 1 month): Starting at the time of submission, each proposal is assigned to two members of the Executive Board; their decision is finally validated by a third member, who also decides if the recommendations do not coincide. A positive judgment is announced to the rest of the Board and successful applicants (expected to be around 40 at this stage) are requested to provide more details on their submission and appear at a short interview 11


(15’ including Q&A). The whole judgment process including the announcement of results and the ‘interview day’ (which is common for all those successful in this stage) lasts 30 days, thus be completed at the end of month ‘n+3’. Second judgment (expected duration: 15 days): The ‘interview day’ is followed by a briefing of the applicants on their failure or success at this stage. Successful applicants are invited to attend and give a 20’ presentation in front of the judges at a full day workshop called ‘Start-up Day’, which is expected to take place in the middle of month ‘n+4’ and which is also be heavily promoted and open to the public. The ‘Start-up Day’ typically also includes quick seminars by prestigious speakers, sharing their experiences and viewpoints on building a successful start-up, aiming to better prepare the successful teams that are the subject of investment. Seminars take place in the morning, followed by the submissions pitches and Q&A. All 8 members of the Executive Board serve as judges, plus 4 members of the Investor Board. All judges vote on each submission, and the 5 proposals that get the most votes are selected. According to our financial analysis support is planned for a maximum of 5 submissions per round. For a submission to be selected, it should receive 7 positive votes at least. Moreover, 3 members of the Investor Board could exercise a veto. Winners are announced in the same night or the morning that follows. Seed preparation (expected duration: 15 days): Finally chosen submissions are given 15 days to accept and sign the terms of contract. The latter one defines a seed financing of 20.000 euro to 30.000 euro (typically, this is expected to be 20.000 euro for a two member team, plus 5.000 euro for each extra member, namely 25.000 euro for a three member team and 30.000 euro for a four member team; however the criteria may vary). Accepting the contract results in an Openfund share of 20% in the company that is formed out of the submission. Another fundamental term of the contract prescribes that the team works exclusively on their project for the duration of 4 months, which is hereby called the Seeding Timeframe and is described in detail below. The investment is not delivered at once, but gradually as the expenses come in and the milestones defined by the Executive Board are met. Typically, each funded proposal receives 5.000 euro per month, while the extra amount granted for larger teams is to be given at the beginning of the third month of the Timeframe. The time window from the ‘Start-up Day’ till the start of the Seeding Timeframe is defined as 15 days and is completed at the end of month ‘n+4’. Seeding Timeframe (expected duration: 4 months): As mentioned, this lasts 4 months during which the receivers of the investment work exclusively on all their submission and its business. This time window is provided to turn an idea to a working prototype and a business that is launched, even if not at full operational capacity. The team will operate under a separate legal entity (for each submission) which will have to be initiated if it does not exist. In order to avoid wasting the entrepreneurs resources on the legal details and administration, two measures have 12


been taken. For one thing the legal process is identical and streamlined so that all submissions go through the same steps and ideally require no customisation or alteration. For another, there is legal help available in the form of the Board of Advisors members for the cases where it is absolutely necessary. Both the Executive Board and the Board of Advisors provide extensive support to the teams, including advisory in technical and business aspects, apart from giving access into an extended network of contacts. Three members of the Executive Board are assigned with the close monitoring of each start-up, while each start-up presents its progress to the full Executive Board at the end of each month, to secure the investment flow for the next month. Upon initiation of the Seeding Timeframe milestones are set jointly by the Executive Board members allocated to the team and the team itself. It is these milestones that need to be achieved for the investment installments to be deposited to the team. Moreover, each team submits a short progress report on a weekly basis and discusses its problems or achievements with its assigned executives in an almost daily basis. The Seeding Timeframe of the first cycle will be completed in month ‘n+8’. Exit (expected duration: undefined): Without diminishing the processes described here, the main purpose of a fund remains nevertheless to be profitable. The alumni start-ups of the Openfund are provided with full support to grow, so as to end up in a further round of funding or acquisition, providing exit opportunities for the fund’s investment. Within this context, all members of the Investor Board are granted priority in considering a round A investment for the start-ups, while all Boards contribute towards securing one of the previous options for each one of the alumni start-ups. The aforementioned legal entities created out of the teams which successfully submitted an idea to the Openfund will have already in place all the requirements necessary to make them an enticing target for further funding whether that originates locally or abroad.

3.2

Cycle iteration

The aforementioned process is to be repeated in cycles that are designed in order to maximize the operational efficiency of the Board and provide a steady flow of submissions, start-ups, resources absorption and exit opportunities. As such, the next cycle starts with a new call of interest right after when the winners of the previous round are selected (month ‘n+5’), while the announcement of the new winners coincides with the end of the Seeding Timeframe for the start-ups of the previous rounds, and so forth. These become clearer into the flowchart of Fig.1. Finally, these iterations are designed to continue for as long as a sufficient capital is provided, ideally for a period of 3 years and 7 iterations. Naturally, each iteration builds upon and is improved by the experiences and skills that gathered from the previous ones. The overall process can also be examined in detail in Gantt format in Fig.2. 13


Figure 1: Openfund operations flowchart 14


Figure 2: Gantt diagram for Openfund 15


4

Structure

Openfund is essentially a three-component system which needs to be optimized so that all parties involved (the start-ups, the Executive Board, the Board of Advisors and the Investor Board) get the best deal possible. To ensure this a number of procedures are in place as already mentioned.

4.1

Executive Board

The Executive Board is comprised of 8 executive members and is in charge of running the Openfund. Two of the executive members hold the position of executive director, while the Board’s liabilities include, among others, fund raising, running the call of interest, judgment and selection processes, next to facilitating anything related to the seeding of selected start-ups and other activities. The above liabilities, as well as the benefits received by the Executive Board, are described in detail in the following paragraphs, while the short bios of all members of the Executive Board are included in App. B. 4.1.1

Liabilities

With the Executive Board being the driving force behind the Openfund, its liabilities extend to practically everything related to the fund’s operations. Starting from specifying in detail the framework of operation, to fund raising, to running the open call for submissions and the seeding of the selected start-ups, the Executive Board needs to orchestrate the whole endeavor and optimize the use of existing resources, together with the cooperation of entrepreneurs with the Investor Board and Board of Advisors. Regarding the more demanding of iterative processes, namely the review of applications and the monitoring of selected start-ups, provision is drafted so as to secure the smooth and efficient distribution of the needed tasks. Specifically, as figured out in Sec. 3.1, each proposal submitted is assigned to two members of the Executive Board, of complementary backgrounds. Moreover, the Executive Board members are those in close collaboration with their allocated start-ups. Although this does not mean that Executive Board members are ‘embedded’ in the start-up team in order to help with management or other decisions, it involves regular meetings and frequent communication to ensure that issues and challenges that arise in the start-up’s progress are dealt with as efficiently as possible – either by the assigned Executive Board members providing advice or by them referring the start-up to the relevant member of the Board of Advisors. Progress reports are produced by the entrepreneurs on a weekly basis for the assigned Executive Board members. A monthly presentation of the results achieved is to be given for the entire Executive Board to ensure that good progress has been made and to authorize the next installment of the 16


start-up investment. Overall, the Executive Board is responsible for carrying out and managing successfully all the steps outlined in Sec.3.1. Another significant set of liabilities regards the communication and the liaison with investors. For one thing, the Executive Board is responsible for the information flow towards the investors regarding their progress of their investment. For another, among the pool of investors with a given interest in participating in the fund, it is the Executive Board that selects those who are to invest in the forthcoming iteration. This process takes place at the beginning of each round and the amount raised is sufficient for both the seed capital granted to the start-ups to be selected, plus the operational expenses of the Openfund (for funding details see Sec.5). Moreover, the Executive Board is responsible for raising further funds and ensuring a stable flow of commitment and investment partners. Lastly, the Executive Board is responsible for handling all matters related to its management, administration, next to legal and tax matters (excluding issues that are outsourced to affiliated partners - e.g. legal firms). It also means handling all publicity efforts involving traditional media (press, magazines, TV, radio etc) as well as new media. This translates in maintaining a web presence both based on an official homepage as well as by participating in the online community (answering email, following blogs, twitter etc). Furthermore, the Executive Board is responsible for organising, promoting and seeing through the special events occurring at the end of each investment cycle.

4.1.2

Benefits

The single most important of benefits that each one of the members of the Executive Board receives is a stake of 1% from each start-up created via the Openfund. Such a stake is considered to provide, apart from a capable compensation, a sustainable and secure commitment to the operation of both the Openfund, and the start-ups to be created. With each one of the Executive Board members being a shareholder and partner in the start-ups, their best of efforts and support to the new enterprises –and the Openfund– are guaranteed, as this lies in their best interests. Other benefits include limited monthly wages. These are to be given into the members of the executive board who are going to spend a significant (or full-time) amount of time and resources into the Openfund, typically those who are holding a position of an executive director. Last, but not least, the members of the Executive Board are co-shaping an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and business ventures and they are expected to gain access into this extensive network of connections and projects, next to a considerable amount of exposure and publicity. These stand as another significant benefit of joining the Executive Board. 17


4.2

Investor Board

The Fund’s structure under the investors’ need for due diligence is designed with a single goal in mind: To minimize the extent of necessary investor interference, by providing a clear and transparent framework of predefined processes for all of the Openfund’s operations. Given also the limited size of the fund raised and especially its distributed character, this objective leads to the following minimal set of liabilities for the Investors Board. 4.2.1

Liabilities

Minimum participation of each investor is defined equal to 30,000 euro (practically, one cannot invest an amount less than the needed funding for one start-up), while each investor receives a share on each start-up, fully equivalent to the amount he has invested in. For example, if 5 investors were to contribute 35,000 euro each for a specific round, then each one would essentially own 2.4% of each start-ups’ shares (12% total share of the Investment Board). The seed capitals are then pooled and invested according to the Openfund guidelines. Investors are not given an ownership percentage over the Openfund but instead directly over the companies. This percentage is distributed according to the amount of money that they have pledged over each round. So, if at a given point in time the Openfund has money from a number of investors, they all invest and receive a proportional stake in the companies that receive funding in the following round. As the money from certain investors expire, so do their rights of a stake in future investments - unless they reinvest new funds of course. This scheme is thus set up as a way to protect the Openfund’s long term viability and the ability of smaller investors to participate. Since start-up funding is not the primary problem that the Openfund addresses, smaller investments from individual entrepreneurs and others that can also contribute with mentoring and professional insight are considered very important. It is also important to note though that investments in Openfund are organised in batches, rather than rounds. Each investor, by putting the minimum amount of 30,000 euro receives shares in 5 companies, no matter the number of the companies selected in the next round. In other words, a batch of investments represents 5 investment agreements. That is, if in the ‘x’ round only 3 companies are selected, the investor of this round will also receive shares from other 2 companies in the round ‘x+1’. This approach is selected so as to secure the full absorption of the minimum investment, moreover to provide the advertised spread of investors risk to 5 rather than less enterprises. Fig.3 provides a schematic representation of the above. Openfund’s operational expenses typically occur out of the investors’ participation, too. In general, these are expected to be equal to ‘the 6th start-up’, so roughly one sixth of each investor’s contribution will be spent for operational reasons. More details and a cost breakdown are provided 18


Figure 3: Openfund investment process flowchart

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in Section 6.1. Other than monetary, the liabilities of the Investor Board, which consists of the investors taking part in the ongoing iteration, are limited to participating in the final judgment of funding proposals with 4 members of the Investor Board, while also joining with one representative in the regular monthly meeting of the Executive Board. The investors, apart from this opportunity to examine the progress of the Openfund start-ups, also receive a short monthly report of the start-ups’ track record. Other than that, the investors’ involvement is not required as most of the work necessary to follow the start-ups’ development is undertaken by the Executive Board. All logistics and investment decisions are taken by the Executive Board with the investors obviously maintaining the right to veto some critical actions (see Sec.3.1). Moreover, the Investors Board may be perceived as a subset of the Board of Advisors, with any individual investor being encouraged to serve as an advisor too, contributing their valuable expertise and experience, next to their network of contacts to the Openfund start-ups.

4.2.2

Benefits

The investors have the de facto advantage of owning a stake at a few of the best available startups in the tech and IT industry in Greece and south-eastern Europe, which have been handpicked by experts that have been embedded in the community and the market for many years. As such the probability of having made a successful investment is maximised as is the expected ROI (to be outlined in Sec. 6). Other advantages for the Investor Board members include becoming acquainted and having an improved access to that particular sector of the local market which in its short lifetime has been known to be among the best in Europe (see Sec. 5). This is enabled by attracting the attention of entrepreneurs who will be willing to demonstrate their ideas and business plans to the publicly showcased investors - even outside and following the Openfund scope. Furthermore, the strength of an investment in EU stands a fair chance of having its potential enhanced by matching the amount invested by state or European funds. There are various programs in operation currently which can relatively easily be applied to the Openfund vehicle in its current legal format. It is stressed however that such processes are to run in the background; in any case public money will not be vital for the operation of the Openfund and it will only be pursued as a secondary target to support the private investments. Finally, investing in the Openfund apart from its immediate gains related to the particular startups results in actually creating a new market in the area. And although particular investments no matter how carefully selected may not after all fulfill their potential for external reasons, ensuring a continuous deal-flow is an even more important benefit for all parties involved but 20


especially for those with the role of an investor.

4.3

Board of Advisors

The Board of Advisors consists of a large number of experts covering a broad range of subjects: legal, financial, technological, marketing, business and other fields are covered by multiple experts based both in Greece and abroad. As such, it is ensured that start-ups accepted in the Openfund have the best available resources covering both their local issues that are a consequence of each start-ups established base (mainly legal, governmental and tax matters that are a consequence of each start-up’s established base), as well as the rest of their needs relating to their global scope. 4.3.1

Liabilities

The main role of the Board of Advisors is to provide consulting when required by the startups accepted in the Openfund. Requests for advice are monitored by the Executive Board to ensure that the Board of Advisors’ help is utilised in the instances that it is really necessary. The Executive Board also reserves the right to communicate with the Board of Advisors for counselling and advice for its own management matters. It is the aim of the Executive Board to achieve maximum efficiency and to make the most of the resources available by both the start-ups and the Board of Advisors. Therefore, consulting takes place primarily by employing all available means of remote communication (email, telephone, webconferencing etc) and only in the cases it is feasible and necessary by physical presence. In the rare occasion that a Board of Advisors member’s presence is absolutely necessary, every effort is made by the Executive Board for their expenses to be covered. Practically, however, the only requirement on the part of the Board of Advisors members is to be available for consulting on a reasonable time-scale (i.e. within 2-3 days for remote communication). The Board of Advisors members are also welcome and encouraged to participate in the start-up presentation and interview events that are regularly organised by Openfund - although their presence is not required. Lastly, it is also encouraged but left to the discretion of the Board of Advisors members to aid the Openfund start-ups as well as the Executive Board by utilising their own network of connections in the context of the Openfund. 4.3.2

Benefits

The Board of Advisors is kept up-to-date regarding all major developments solely by a regular newsletter and by the Openfund main means of communication and presence its website. This ensures a low overhead both for the Board of Advisors consuming updates and the Executive 21


Board producing them. The benefits of a professional becoming an Advisor are obvious in that sense: with minimum involvement and effort an Advisor has easy access to first-class possible collaborators and experts. These are the startups’ entrepreneurs themselves who having collaborated successfully with an Advisor are likely to request his services again. The Board of Advisors itself can also be a pool of possible collaborators for an Advisor - its members will be displayed publicly in the relevant section of the Openfund website along with a short bio and contact details. The Advisor’s presence there as well as the publicity associated with the efforts of the startups they choose to involve themselves with is another benefit for Board of Advisors members. Finally, Advisors get to participate in the technology and IT startup community and involve themselves in its stimulation an activity which can only benefit them in the long term.

4.4

Corporate Processes and Policies

available upon request

22


5

Market analysis

In this section the Openfund’s market environment is outlined categorised by locality. Firstly, the situation is described in the international market and secondly particular details are given for the Greek market.

5.1

International Market Analysis

In order to support that Openfund is a self-sustainable enterprise that is bound to generate income for its stakeholders and stimulate entrepreneurship at the seed level, three other similar ventures and their results are examined. Seedcamp, a similar European venture based in London, has ran for two years (2007 and 2008) and has micro-funded 6 and 7 start-ups respectively. Out of them, two have secured an unknown series A funding (mybuilder.com, kublax.com), another has secured multiple seed rounds of 400K in total (tablefinder.com) while another one, Zemanta, has secured 2.1M in seed funding. This translates in approximately a 30% success rate (or 1 in 3) and conservative valuations of more than 1M. Techstars, a US vehicle enabling seed funding based in Boulder, Colorado, has invested in 19 start-ups in its short lifespan. Out of them 8 (or 40%) made an exit: socialthing.com was acquired by AOL for a reported 6.8M, intensedebate.com was acquired by the Wordpress platform for an undisclosed amount, while madkast.com, ignighter.com, foodzie.com, filtrbox.com, eventvue.com and brightkite.com raised rounds of 300K, 1.2M, 1M, 0.5M, 0.25M and 1M respectively. The most famous venture in this category, YCombinator, which was initiated in Boston and has now moved to the Bay area, has funded more than 80 start-ups in the past 4 years. Its most successful exits include Xobni (raised 4.2M), justin.tv (2M), Loopt (12M), reddit.com (acquired by Cond´e Nast) and Scribd (3.7M) as well as the most recent tipjoy.com (1M) and rescuetime.com (0.9M). Furthermore, examples of investments in the broader southeast European region include Croatian-based start-up, shoutem.com which raised 350K in late 2008, the previously mentioned Zemanta of Slovenian origin and the Turkish befunky.com which has secured 0.8M. Thus, by looking at ventures similar to Openfund but also the market as a whole, it becomes apparent that there is a potential for seed funding start-ups whether the US or European sector is examined. Also, using those examples as case-studies it is possible to estimate indicators like rates of success (exits) and valuation levels that could also apply to Openfund-related forecasts. In fact, if the rates of success and investments of the previous case-studies are taken at face-value they may be considered to overestimate the Openfund potential. This is because they correspond 23


to the richer European and American market and in addition to this, some of those start-ups were invested on at a less difficult financial period. As such, in order to account for these factors, it is reasonable to consider the valuations described earlier as the maximum possible and the realistic exit rates to be significantly lower. This translates in exits of in the range of 1 to 3M (instead of the 4M or more) and success rates of 1 in 5 or even 1 in 10 (instead of 1 in 3). In order to further ameliorate the likelihood of success of the case-studies examined here, Openfund has an explicit aim in accepting only ventures which have global potential instead of those that are local-scoped. As such, it will be in a strong position to also raise funds from foreign sources of investment capitalising on its internationally-comprised Board of Advisors.

5.2

Local market attributes

Despite this international scope, the reference to other similar European or US ventures brings into question of whether a sufficient number of startups and founders exists who are willing to reply at the Openfund call and fully embrace its potential. Such a target group, under the given limits, does exist and waits for a proper trigger to flourish. Taking Greece as an example, the local population does enjoy one of the highest rate of PhDs per capita across EU and beyond; innovation in academia blooms, especially at the fields of Computer Science, Engineering and Business, both inside and outside of the Greek borders. However, that innovation does not extend into the entrepreneurial scene, papers typically do not turn into patents and business plans. The lack of a decent solution to seed capital funding is considered as a root cause underlying this fact; the vast majority of local Venture Capitals target at valuations bigger than 1M to start-up with. And that need is made more than clear in each opportunity available. For example, an innovation contest for business plans by Otenet corporation in 2006, giving as a prize a state subsidy of 50,000 euro to the winner, managed to gather more than 2,700 submissions, while a call for proposals on e-services by the Greek government was among the most popular ones in the last years, gathering thousands of applications. This impression is reinforced by the following two figures. Fig. 4 demonstrates Greece’s excellent standing compared to other European countries in terms of its capability in innovation in the computer science sector. Moreover, Fig. 5 demonstrates that the strongest Greek industries are indeed ICT and CS (along with real-estate). It is in these particular sectors that Greek human capital also excels compared to European averages. Because the IT startup market is anything but mature, it is relatively hard to collect quantitive data regarding valuations, acquisitions and other related indices. This is both because no formal 24


Figure 4: Greek market comparison with other EU countries in Computer Science (EIS 2005) dedicated body exists to track that particular section of the market, but also because deals are rather sparse. However, based on informal discussions and information exchange, it has been determined that the few valuations of the most mature startups that have happened were positioned in the 500K to 1M scale. Through organizing Open Coffee (see Sec.2.3) meetings in Greece and coming in direct contact with its participants, it has become clear that one of the main obstacles towards the creation of start-ups is the lack of initial (seed) funding. Even though the amounts of money required are very small, starting a company is made very difficult – especially to the younger and more creative crowd – due to the financial pressure they are under. Observations and numbers as those mentioned earlier consist a reliable indicator of existing wide interest and latent potential. The precious and proven sustainable community of entrepreneurs that are attending the Open Coffee events, guarantees the existence of a fertile ground for the Openfund’s deployment.

25


26 Figure 5: Greek industries’ comparison with other EU countries (EIS 2005)


6 6.1

Financial analysis Costs

available upon request

6.2

Return on Investment

available upon request

6.3

Exit strategies

available upon request

7

Goals

It should be by now clear that Openfund addresses an ambitious, yet realistic opportunity and tangible market need. And, by providing the missing links to bring the existing pieces together, Openfund aims at creating significant value for everyone participating in it. In this context, the goal is simple and straightforward: To form a number of stellar teams, help them turn their innovative ideas into globally-aimed, disruptive start-ups, and make them succeed. For the Openfund to prove itself operational and successful, all members of the equation should reap substantial benefits, both in the mid- and long-term, with regards to what they bring to the table. Entrepreneurs need to receive value which is corresponding to what they forfeit - the amount of shares they assign to the Openfund. Investors expect to make a profit -among other benefits- worthwhile of the risk they are taking by their participation, while the same applies, in a different scale of pledge, for advisors, too. Finally, executives need to receive a strong compensation, proportionate to the commitment and the value of their resources they offer to the Openfund. The above seem to compose a problem difficult to tackle and the failure to satisfy the needs of any of the above participants is clearly more than crucial for the Openfund’s viability. However, the creation of up to 15 exceptional enterprises per year is expected to offer multiple opportunities, capable of ensuring that all cogs will slide into place and resulting into a clockwork operation. It is typical to expect a significant amount of systemic and operational risk embedded in each one of Openfund’s critical processes, from fund raising to start-up selection and success. This is where the document at hand comes into the picture. It is strongly believed that the detailed specifications, extensively reengineered to shape the optimum solution given the known problem 27


and resources, and covering every aspect of the Openfund’s operations, are capable of massaging the embedded risk and turning the needed leap of faith for all Openfund’s participants into a safe bet. However, all of the above, lacking any further proof or track record under the local circumstances, stand as an experiment on paper which needs to be confirmed by running it in practice. It is therefore reasonable to expect that a number of the above assumptions and specifications will prove not to be operational or fully compatible with the actual needs of the local market. At this point, it is the strong commitment, experience and expertise of all members of the Executive Board that stands as the most important of Openfund’s assets. The Executive Board will be able to fine-tune the given details, as soon as actual feedback from the Openfund’s operation comes in, so as to further optimise all of the operational specifications. It is the amount of work mirrored within this document plus the strong commitment that the Executive Board puts in place that finally serve to secure the fulfillment of the Openfund’s fundamental goals. If founding a company stands as the most efficient way to create wealth, for both founders and investors, or the society at large, it is firmly believed that the Openfund stands as the optimum way and shortest path from the current defunct situation into an enterprising ecosystem that provides tangible benefits to all of its participants, yet alone the ones who have caused its blossoming.

28


A A.1

Application & Evaluation Templates Application template

This is provided online so that the data are immediately in processable format – hence the lack of space to reply to the questions. Idea description Describe your idea in 200 words or less Team

Name Surname URL Snail mail address Living abroad Technical skills

Business skills Finance skills Level of studies

eg blog, company site, project portfolio Yes—No 1—2—3—4—5

Rate your technical skills (eg programming, webpage design, project management) of every team member in the 1-5 scale.

1—2—3—4—5 1—2—3—4—5 Secondary Education (High School, Baccalaureate, ...) — Bachelor — Master — Doctorate — Post Doc

Field of study

Usually a member is an expert in a field or has a skill that makes him or her indispensable for the team. This can be a technical (eg translator) or a human skill (eg communicator, negotiator,etc) Whatever you think is important but doesn’t fit in anywhere else.

Comments

29


Product

Innovation

Revenue model Product usefulness Idea maturity Mockup (Video, Directorware, Schematic) — Implemented Parts — Prototype — First implementation — Mature Prototype address

Next phases of development

Competitors I 30

Describe, if applicable, the difference between your idea and other solutions to the same problem How do you plan to make money? Why is your product necessary to the customer? Proposals that prove that their creators can actually do what they are suggesting are appreciated. An address of the product – don’t forget access details if required. What are the steps you have decided to take and will happen in the foreseeable future?


Do you have Yes — No known competition in Europe? Do you have Yes — No known competition internationally? What are your differentiating points from them? Unfair advantage

Name your competition

Do you believe there is an element in your team, in your intellectual property or in another field that gives you an advantage over your competition?

Competitors II

Established intellectual property

Have you established any patents for your intellectual property?

Where Europe — USA Is there intellectual property that requires protection? Do you need Yes — No — Unclear patent license?

Have you come up with a process that is worthy of protection in a software or hardware patent? Do you need patent licenses for the processes you employ?

Corporate 31


What type of company do you have Where is your company based? Have you received funding in the past? What percent of your company belongs to the funding party mentioned above?

No company yet — EE — OE — EPE — AE — Other

No — Loan — Venture Capital

1-100

Please give the percentage per funding body

Funding 32


Amount

#

Rounds

Seed—A

How much money do you need for the fully functional start of your business (e.g. first version of your product) Seed, if you haven’t received funding in the past. A, if you have. Is there something particularly expensive that is necessary or helpful and can be bought with the investment? How much do you think running your business per month costs (in euro)? Even if the company has not been founded, calculate the cost based on the time you spend on the project and your current salary. What else do you plan to do with the investment apart from the previously mentioned needs?

Needs

Maintenance cost

#

Utilization

Technology 33


What is the basic platform on which you are developing (if relevant)? Database Experience the tools

There is no bias on our part.

What database or other storage methods are you using? How many months of experience with your tools does your team have collectively? Have you done something with those tools in the past? It helps if there is an address and an indication this is indeed your work. Usually there is a principal technical person which makes all the relevant final decisions and implements the solutions – although there can be more than one.

with

Previous use

Principal technical lesson

Goals What are measurable gets for the quarter? What are measurable gets for the year?

your tarnext

Achieving which goals would mean your efforts have been considered a success?

your tarnext

Achieving which goals would mean your efforts have been considered a success

The evaluation is simply an example and some details may be inaccurate. The rankings provided vary between 1 and 5 (5 being the best). The first part of the form is filled in by the applicant. The section starting with the evaluation is filled in by the members of the Executive Board. 34


A.2

Evaluation template

Project summary • Description • What is its usefulness and/or its innovation Team members Project contact: One of the 2-4

Name

Name

Member 2

Email

Email

URL

URL

Background

Technical/ Business / Science

Level

Level

Member 3

Special skills Special skills Product maturity

Development Phase

Mockup (Video, Directorware, Schematic) / Implemented Parts / Prototype / First implementation/ Mature

Location

URL

Comments Funding details

Amount Round

Seed/A

Use Exit Strategy Points of importance • positive points • negative points 35

Member 4


Recommendation • General impression • Usefulness evaluation • Problems • Realistic, in terms of the market • Realistic in terms of team’s capabilities • In need of funding • In need of consulting and support Proposition VC suitability

1-5

Competitive advantage

1-5

Quality of work

1-5

Intellectual property

1-5

Team completeness

1-5

Usefulness

1-5

Overall evaluation

1-5

36


B

Composition of the Executive Board

The human part of the Openfund scheme can be split in three layers. The first is the Executive Board and has an executive role being responsible for taking initiatives and making decisions. It’s also the team that has the final say over judgment and investment of various companies. The second body, the Board of Advisors is there to provide their advice and adds with their experience and technical expertise in the Openfund in their respective very specific entrepreneurial niches. The third, the Funding Board is comprised of the investors, funding bodies and initiatives that are participating in the legal entity behind the Openfund with a percentage proportional to their monetary contribution.

B.1

Georgios Tziralis

Georgios Tziralis, 27, has received a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering with a specialty in Operations Research from the National Technical University of Athens. His PhD research covers the area of Forecasting, ranging from Econometrics and Time Series Analysis to Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence. His late research endeavors focus on the topic of prediction markets, with a number of academic contributions that already enjoy international recognition. In parallel, he teaches -in a purely innovative way- Algorithms for Pattern Recognition at the NTUA’s post-graduate program of Applied Mathematical Sciences. As an entrepreneur, G. Tziralis serves since 2007 as co-founder and CEO of AskMarkets UnLtd (www.askmarkets.com), a start-up attempting to bring the promise and potential of prediction markets to the masses. Other activities include co-founding MineKnowledge Ltd (http://mineknowledge.com), an agency providing simplified data mining services on demand and the ‘comparison search engine’ WebSource.it (http://websource.it). Finally, G. Tziralis is widely identified as the initiator of Greek Open Coffee.

B.2

Georgios Kasselakis

Georgios Kasselakis, 24, is an Informatics BSc from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, focused on Internet-related Technology and the syndication of data over it, as well as Algorithm Theory and Procedural Analysis. Over time he has worked as a hardware repairman, software engineer, software architect and recently project manager for informational systems built by commission. Past works worthy of mention include the first asynchronous e-learning platform to achieve a SCORM 1.2 certification in the world for System Consulting SA and the architectural supervision of an expert system that automatically designs hydraulic elevators and integrates them in the existing CRM of Kleemann SA. He has participated and excelled in competitions for 37


entrepreneurial ideas and software design such as the Innovation 2006 (top 1.4% of all proposals) and ImagineCup 2005 (2nd place in Greece). He is now working on his personal project, Sojourner which aims to leave a permanent mark –at an international level – on the way we manage and distribute RSS Feeds. The first fruit of this effort is Twittastic (www.twittastic.net). In his free time he also organizes the Open Coffee Thessaloniki event.

B.3

Dimitrios Athanasiadis

Dimitrios Athanasiadis, 31, is a graduate from the Physics Department of the University of Athens (2001) with a PhD in Radioastronomy from the University of Manchester (2004). During his studies in the UK he has worked on reviews, data analysis using programming techniques, scientific observation, participating in various working groups, writing and presenting scientific publications, teaching to undergraduates and so on. He was also charged with responsibilities over the security and representation of undergraduate students, helping with the operation and management of the student campus. In Greece he contributed with various articles in youth press, an activity which he pursued for 2.5 years. From 2005 to 2007 he was employed in the National Observatory of Athens as a researcher, a position which included data analysis, compiling results and presenting them to the scientific team, participating in competitions and so on. In 2006 he participated with a 5-strong team in the Innovation 2006 competition held by Otenet, where he took 4th place among 2700 submissions. His role included providing the original concept, writing a large part of the business plan and doing the final presentation before the judges. He has also worked in various blogs since 2004 (miaparea.blogpot.com, terrainnova.org, opencoffee.gr) and is an avid observer of all start-up and technology-related news he can get his eyes on. He also recently participated in various projects (websource.it, howsocial.ru, greekstart-ups.com etc), while co-organising the Open Coffee Athens events.

B.4

Onic Palandjian

Onic Palandjian, 38, has received a BSc in Management from Bentley and a CSS in Business Administration from Harvard. His 17-year business experience is diverse – ten years as a venture capitalist, four as an entrepreneur and three in financial services. Onic is the investment Director of Capital Connect since the fund’s inception in 2003. At present Onic focuses primarily on managing ‘green’ investments and is the founding investor of two recycling companies in Greece. Prior to joining Capital Connect, Onic founded two technology companies, ihavemoved Ltd in London and ich-zieh-um GmbH in Hamburg. He sourced $10 million from investors including Rothschild’s, RWE, Hyundai and MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte and subsequently, in 2003, Royal 38


Mail Plc and Deutsche Post AG acquired them. His early venture capital experience comes from Dorian Eagle Financial Partners (Hadjipateras Group), where he financed energy, transportation and technology investments. Onic started his career in 1992 as an executive at J.Hancock - now Manulife Financial - the 3rd largest Financial Services group in the world.

B.5

Spiros Xanthos

Spiros Xanthos, 27, is the co-founder and VP of Engineering at Pattern Insight, a software company based in Mountain View, CA. Before that, Spiros conducted research in Systems Mining and Reliability as a member of the Opera research group at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign that created the technology behind Pattern Insight. He has published several research papers in the areas of Systems and Software Engineering. Spiros holds an MSc in computer science from the University of Illinois and is currently on leave from the PhD program. He got his BSc in Computer Science from the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki Greece, where he conducted research in Software Engineering. He has previously worked at Google. Spiros’ interests include information mining from systems data, search engines, and large scale software systems development.

B.6

Apostolos Apostolakis

Apostolos Apostolakis, 35, has received his diploma in Civil Engineering from National Technical University of Athens in 1996. In 1998 he cofounded with 2 friends e-shop.gr where he was involved until 2000, when he went to New York to get his MBA from Columbia University. In 2002 after graduation, he joined Boston Consulting Group where he worked as a consultant until 2004. During his time with BCG he was involved with projects in consumer and corporate banking as well as heavy industrial operations. At some of his main projects he analyzed and improved credit processes for banks as well as helped formulate and implement revenue and cost allocation models between business units. In 2004 he rejoined e-shop.gr as a general manager where he serves until today. In 2008 e-shop.gr is the largest technology e-tailer in Greece and Cyprus, having 64 outlets in both countries, employing more than 500 people and expecting revenue for 2009 of 150 million euro. In the first years at e-shop.gr he was involved with all aspects of a growing company and since 2008 with the company having matured he is mainly involved with the marketing and the financial management of the company. 39


B.7

Sokratis Papafloratos

Sokratis Papafloratos, 31, is the CEO and co-founder of TrustedPlaces, which he launched with Walid Al Saqqaf in September 2006, before raising a total of ÂŁ1M in equity funding and leading the company to becoming one of the leading local review community sites in the UK. Prior to TrustedPlaces Sokratis headed up Operations for WideRay/Qwikker Europe, an American, mobile, technology start-up, funded by Sequoia Capital and Enterprise Partners Venture Capital. Before joining WideRay he spent four years in Vodafone in a variety of senior Strategy and Technology roles. Sokratis is originally from Thessaloniki Greece, where he grew up before moving to the UK to gain a MEng Electronic Engineering at the University of York.

B.8

Teresa Farmaki

Ms Teresa Farmaki, 30, has received a BSc in Economics from the National and Capidistrian University of Athens and an MBA from Columbia Business School in New York with particular focus in Entrepreneurship and Finance. She also studied one MBA semester at London Business School, where she supported Imperial College postgraduate students to complete commercialization studies on their innovation ideas. Teresa is currently Head of Private Equity at Piraeus Bank in Athens, where she evaluates a wide spectrum of venture capital and private equity investments in terms of size and maturity. In the beginning of 2009 she launched a 30M venture capital fund between Piraeus Bank and TANEO, which is now run by a team of three. Previously, she worked as an investment banking Associate at UBS Investment Bank in Mergers & Acquisitions in London and in Power and Renewable Energy in New York. She started her professional career in 2000 and has worked in several positions in asset management and consulting.

40

The Openfund Business Plan  

The Openfund Business Plan