There Has Never Been a Better Time to Invest in Greece
If you are looking at this title with incredulity, I understand. But after I’ve made my case, I think you’ll agree too.
Assessing opportunities and taking calculated risks are part of the job description for a VC. My calculations for Greece, as an investor, all come up positive. And it’s not mere speculation—there are real world results backing this up.
A few definitions:
A private, early-stage–high risk investor gets a number of shares and hopes that in the mid-term there will be buyers willing to purchase those shares at a (much) higher price.
Investing at an early stage means you get a larger share of a company for a relatively smaller amount of money. It also means increased risk.
What’s special about Greece is that Greek startups are undervalued compared with American and other European ones.
This allows early stage investors to buy at Greek prices and then sell at (much higher) Western European or American valuations. It doesn’t get any better than this.
While the “Greek startup ecosystem” is still in its early development, there are success stories and strong indicators that it can produce companies of considerable value. BugSense, Crypteia Networks, AbZorba Games, e–Food.gr and others were founded and developed in Greece, and then sold to foreign buyers.
That’s not to say success is easy, but it is certainly within reach, and that makes an increased number of talented entrepreneurs have a go at it, presenting early stage–high risk investors with a formidable, and mostly untapped, selection of investment opportunities.
Another important factor is that there’s now a lot of hard earned experience. The last several years a lot of investment money vanquished in a painful, but necessary, attempt to create a new investment marketplace. Entrepreneurs who failed at their first attempts are back in the game, but this time much more experienced and with a much better sense of the business side of things. In short, current conditions are especially welcoming to early stage–high risk investments.
The European Investment Fund recently made available 260 million Euros for the creation of investment funds for Greek startups, an acknowledgment that an organization such as the EIF recognizes the investment opportunities that Greece presents—though it is still upon the Greek private investors, who are called to participate in these funds, whether the program will be a success or not.
I believe the Greek entrepreneurial and investment ecosystems have matured to the point of making it investor attractive—an opportunity we should not ignore!
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