startupselfie-1

#StartUpSelfie #1

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In my previous post I gave you a hint about what was the first thing I did as soon as I’ve arrived in Athens. Now, what follows, is to share who I took selfie with, at the end of our ‘startup discussion’ meeting.

It was my great pleasure that Konstantinos Politis (Co-Founder & Partner of Found.Ation) is the first person I got the chance to talk ‘all about startups’ with. Konstantinos has been involved in the Greek startup community since the very beginning.

We started our conversation very casually, it felt like this wasn’t our first meeting and that, helped a lot with my nerves (I must admit that I was a bit nervous about how things will go…).

“We started as a co-working space back in 2011. But, that wasn’t enough, because we wanted to contribute more to the current eco-system. That’s how our co-working space turned into a hub, providing different types of acceleration programs. I remember when we started, there were only around 20-30 startups, now we can proudly say that we’ve got more than 180 startups in our portfolio.” – Konstantinos said.

I was overwhelmed by their dedication to help young and aspiring entrepreneurs, but I wondered if the Greek government is supporting the startup community in any way?

“There were some initiatives about creating a legal framework about startups. But up to this date, aside of couple of meetings we (startup community representatives) had with government representatives, there aren’t any serious steps leading us in that direction. And it would of help to the whole community if we do have this legal framework. Because, now this community is growing a lot, there is a “noise” around the word startups, so many events, co-working spaces, acceleration programs, hackathons etc… And I am very happy that I can witness the change of the mentality, that many young people now want to be entrepreneurs instead of waiting to get employed.” – Mr. Politis stated.

This is when I realized, that they are facing the same obstacle as many Balkan (non-EU) startup communities. Even though it might take a while until this subject gets resolved and startups get legal framework I wanted to know what they think about collaboration with Balkan startups and accelerators.

“We have our doors open for all startup enthusiasts. There is always possibility for collaboration, if you are local, national, regional, or international startup, doesn’t matter. Get in touch and we will be happy to schedule a meeting and discuss everything.” – says Konstantinos.

It was a very pleasant and informative meeting. I strongly recommend to whoever is “startup involved” to visit Found.ation when in Athens. I will definitely come back and hopefully we can do #StartUpSelfie part 2,3,4…
Stay tuned, there are more “selfies” coming from my “getting to know the Athens startup community” journey 🙂

Cheers

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