TIF 2019: Showcasing the Growth of a More Digital Greece
Last weekend marks the wrap up of another successful Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), driving many new learnings and international perspectives. The exciting annual week-long event was filled exciting interactions with notable local and foreign leaders, insightful talks from thought leaders in the local tech ecosystem, and getting to know the bright minds behind Greece’s growing number of startup ventures (hosted in the Digital Greece Pavilion, a new pavilion that was first introduced last year and is still growing through its infancy).
In the expo aftermath of conference summaries and discussions around what the following year will hold, here’s another perspective recapping the three main themes and trends from this year’s TIF — and the implications they carry for Greek tech’s road ahead.
1. Increased investment in ‘Digital Greece’ unites an increased number of innovative Greek ventures and industries.
Anyone who walked through the Digital Greece Pavilion at last year’s fair could see a noticeable difference not only from a size perspective, but in terms of the number and quality of startups featured. Last year, in the pavilion’s first year, one could see the main players and more established startups that came the main well-known accelerators and portfolios in the space, most of which lied in a familiar set of industry categories (i.e., travel and tourism, food and agro tech, fintech).
This year, the Pavilion nearly doubled in size, hosting over 100 startups from across various verticals (both existing and new) in Greece and abroad that were featured in a new, well-organized pavilion layout by industry category. Among others, here were a couple of our personal favorites:
Doitforme.eu: A Volos-based venture founded by Luigi Goulians changing up the marketplace game by being a social, community-drive marketplace enabling locals to more easily find and book services from professional sellers and local vendors. The Doitforme platform has innovatively started out first in the more remote areas of Greece, where the demand for such a servicesuch a service is much higher, and plans to move into the larger cities this year.
Robinfood: A sustainable food venture (that you may have first heard of from last year’s Startup Weekend Thessaloniki) still in stealth mode, with the very socially-conscious mission of reducing food waste. To do so, the Robinfood platform will essentialy act as a database of all food that may be leftover at a restaurant day’s end, or is close to expiration at a supermarket, and make it available at lower cost for more cost-conscious consumers.
After speaking with the founders who had been both at last year and this year’s fair, it was evident that this was a direct result of the targeted resources invested by the new administration, signaling a reinforcement of the vision that technology and innovative ventures will help drive the way forward.
2. More global perspectives, from investors to entrepreneurs, broadens local ecosystem horizons.
When it comes to looking at the increased globality of this year’s fair, it was clear not only from the fact that this year’s honored country was the beautiful and tech-enabled India, but also from the fact that at any given moment, any stage or booth in the Digital Greece Pavilion had at least one speaker that came with experience from abroad or a global outlook.
This trend was one that was bolstered on an individual venture and investor as well. Investors from the big Demo Day hosted by OK!Thess came from far and wide, to meet with entrepreneurs from Greece and abroad pitching their ideas. Together, these events are evident of the trend of more globally-minded initiatives that broaden the local ecosystem horizons and hopefully inspire new ways of thought and innovation.
3. More tangible resources, support, and innovation continue to spur increased innovation.
As mentioned above, OK!Thess’ 5th Demo Day brought together investors and ventures, enabling founders and the entrepreneurially minded to gain access to a resource-filled venture environment that they previously may not have had before. OK!Thess is Thessaloniki’s premiere leading accelerator and in its fifth run of the Demo Day, the TIF platform and momentum helped to drive an increased number of venture applications received, reviewed, and pitched.
The Demo Day leads up to OK!Thess’ next venture cycle – accepting applications this Sunday, September 22 – a regular program that supports anyone with an idea with the resources to bring it to reality. Resources include a full, well-rounded, entrepreneurial masterclass program (featuring workshops like The Port’s Marketing for Startups) and access to top coaches and investors in the local and neighboring tech ecosystems.
As resources like OK!Thess and its programs continue increase and be more accessible to the aspiring founders across Greece, they in turn spur more innovation and drive reinforce the tangible hope that entrepreneurship is continuing to pave the way to put Greek growth and innovation on the global map.
This year’s fair also brought some interesting on-the-ground insights from founders of the featured startups. Stay tuned for #ThoughtImports from these local entrepreneurs! To stay on top of all upcoming #ThoughtImports, #GreekTech updates, and #GlobalTech insights — subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.