Greece’s startup scene is really only just getting going, with the country having missed out on the “all-encompassing tech boom” that other countries have seen in the last two decades, according to Alex Patelis, chief economic adviser to Greece’s prime minister.
But 2021 was a record year for the country, with investment into startups nearing €500m — more than double the total in 2020 — and earlier this year the country got its first unicorn in Viva Wallet.
“The total valuation of our tech in 2014 was about $340m; today it’s $8.5bn,” says Marco Veremis, partner at Big Pi Ventures, a VC firm in Athens.
And as Sifted continues to dispel myths about southern Europe being a sleepy continental backwater when it comes to cutting edge tech innovation, we’re now spotlighting some of Greece’s most promising young deeptech startups.
One of the country’s best-funded deeptech startups, Core — which uses machine learning algorithms to improve factory and warehouse operations — has shown that the nation can produce big companies in fields like artificial intelligence.
But which of the next generation of Greek deeptech startups should you have your eyes on? We asked three top investors from the country to send us their picks. There was just one rule: they could only pick one portfolio company.
Here are the Greek deeptech startups you need to know about
Myrto Papathanou, partner — Metavallon VC
Metavallon VC was founded in Athens in 2018 and invests at pre-seed and seed stage. The firm's portfolio includes haulage logistics startup Trucksters, prototype testing tool Useberry and drug testing company Purposeful.
MarineTraffic is using a range of datasets from the maritime industry to build much-needed analytics products. It’s managed to translate things like radio signals from shipping vessels into a commercial offering.
It’s grown organically and is now a scaleup with a team of 180 people. It’s attracted top talent, fostered a great company culture and has a large and diverse customer base from all over the world.
iCOMAT has developed “fibre steering process technology” that delivers lighter, stronger and more cost-effective composite products like fibreglass. These are used in the automotive and aerospace industries, allowing manufacturers to reliably deliver higher performing end products. The company is already in early production cycles with tier 1 manufacturers and is rapidly growing its team, client base and technology offering.
DeepMed is a relatively new company that’s using AI to increase the accuracy and speed of diagnostic processes and deliver personalised care solutions for patients. It’s developed an AI decision support tool to assist histopathologists and has been collaborating with the National Health Service in the UK. "What I also find interesting is that the team is also experimenting with synthetic data to train its models, hence overcoming both bias and data scarcity in the field," Papathanou says.
Cogitat (portfolio company)
The company uses AI to read brain waves and convert them into digital commands, seamlessly merging mind and machine. Cogitat powers virtual reality, which users navigate and interact with using only their thoughts. The applications include rehabilitation and gaming. The company has attracted top Greek engineers in the artificial intelligence/machine learning space in both Thessaloniki and London. It’s closely collaborating with Imperial College and is also backed by Creator Fund.
Stergios Anastasiadis and Dimitrios Maroulis, partners — Genesis Ventures
Launched in 2021 in Athens, Genesis is one of the newest kids on the block in Greek VC. It invests in early-stage startups based in Greece, or led by Greek founders. Portfolio companies include facial recognition startup Zenus, mental health wearable startup Feel Therapeutics and mobile ad campaign software Lerna AI.
Augmenta provides agricultural companies with innovative solutions to reduce production costs and increase crop yields. Augmenta’s precision farming solutions involve the use of cameras and an AI-based hardware platform. The goal of sustainable agriculture — to meet society’s need for food without compromising the needs of future generations — is one that Genesis considers very important.
Dyania uses natural language processing to program and train its algorithms to extract clinical value from unstructured patient data. This creates new therapies and outcomes for patients, in a field where more than 80% of healthcare data is unstructured. Dyania builds algorithms that are disease-specialised, with each tool trained to extract specific types of clinical information from physicians’ notes on patient histories.
Intelligencia uses predictive analytics to estimate the probability of success for clinical trials and optimises their design before the trials start. It partners with existing pharmaceutical companies to provide software that’s meant to minimise the risk of failure in drug development and clinical trials. It raised a Series A round of $12m in 2021.
Panos Papadopoulos, partner — Marathon Venture Capital
Athens-based Marathon has been running since 2017 and invests in seed stage software companies. Its portfolio includes AI-powered sales software Connectly, data analytics tool Avrio and “know your customer” blockchain platform norbloc.
A revolutionary data storage engine that specialises in the storage and very fast retrieval of scientific data like genomics and spatial data.
A breath analysis device that helps track important biomarkers in a very fast and cheap way.
A platform that aspires to be the Bloomberg of maritime data. It uses advanced natural language processing, satellite imagery and other data generated by vessels to help shipping companies, traders and forwarders collaborate.
Augmenta (portfolio company)
The startup automates farming processes such as fertilisation, using machine vision and robotics. This helps farmers to save on inputs but also increase yields.