TechCrunch Euro Tour – Hello, Athens

As part of the TechCrunch Euro Tour, TechCrunch and Athens’ OpenCoffee group have come together to create a TechCrunch meetup in Athens. Thanks to our generous sponsors, below. Watch out for the write-up later… Meanwhile, here are the pictures so far after I met with OpenCoffee organiser George Tziralis of AskMarkets and John Zarkadas of Wishdone.

We’ve had some local coverage so far from Pathfinder, Imerisia and E-go.

Gold Sponsors

Wadja is a device independent communication platform, offering all its users secure email messaging, free global sms delivery, communication with friends on popular social networks, and a fresh look at the way media content can be managed, viewed, and shared. Wadja is accessible on any PC or mobile web browser, from anywhere in the world. A free communication service that truly goes where you go, keeping you connected to friends, family, and trusted contacts. With its high growth rate and dedicated, fanatic, user base, Wadja has been recognized as a leader in the young and exciting mobile web industry, with millions of users worldwide, in over 200 local communities and 20 language specific interfaces. Wadja pioneers in the mobile web space, bridging the gaps of interface and service features between PC and mobile devices, and since its beta launch, in September 2006, has scooped up quite a few awards as well.

First Elements is a leading consultancy services provider and fund manager with a focus on entrepreneurship development and new venture creationt. FE uses its unique operational model, which includes consultancy services, but also accumulated know-how and an international network of collaborators, to emerge as a key player in SE Mediterranean & MENA region, especially in those sectors that aim to promote and develop entrepreneurship, innovation, competitiveness and technology. FE applies hands-on management methods and is actively involved in the strategic development, operational and financial management of projects and companies under its supervision. In supporting these entities, the FE team immerses itself in their operations retrieving data and acknowledging their “modus operandi” (mode of operation), mapping the environment and establishing their needs. Having successfully done so, FE prepares strategic roadmaps and feasibility studies that will shed light to their future prospects. Finally, business / strategic plans are prepared that are dynamic in nature, as the environment and the factors surrounding the company and its operations are also dynamic; ever changing. FE maintains a strong international network of strategic partners and associates that come from a wide range of fields ranging from academia to consultancy and from financial organizations to NGOs and International Industry Associations.

In an effort to foster local innovation and support the growth of the Greek software economy, Microsoft Hellas recently inaugurated the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) in Athens, Greece. With a vision to become an “innovation accelerator” for Greece, the MIC will focus on supporting two main groups: students and start-ups. The support will materialize in the form of tools, offering software to support the creation of innovative applications and solutions, as well as training, offering e-learning on technical and business topics. At the same time, the MIC will act as a gateway between innovators and the vast “social network” of Microsoft itself, offering them unprecedented access to internal resources, Microsoft’s partner ecosystem, local and global organizations, industry experts as well as investors and VCs. Finally, the MIC will use Microsoft’s established, worldwide marketing and PR engine to promote local innovation both within the country as well as globally, ensuring Greece is clearly visible on the world-wide “innovation map”. We’ve seen great potential, passion and talent during our day-to-day activities in Greece and we are here to offer our support in order to help local innovation take off! Please join the initial conversation and give us your feedback and ideas at our “Microsoft Innovation Center Athens” group in Facebook.

Silver Sponsors

In this contemporary economy of ideas, knowledge and creativity, VC funds should support any promising and innovative business endeavor. The success of any entrepreneurial venture should be founded upon human capital as well as proper use of financing. A firm by using VC funds is bound to exhibit spectacular growth vis-a-vis its competitors. For us in TANEO, VC funding is not just a pure financial injection; is the grass root for building solid and growth enhancing businesses. It is the vehicle for visions to come true and the way to identify and promote the intrinsic values within any business initiative.

Attica Ventures, established in 2003 is currently the most active VC company in Greece in the SMEs sector and manages a €30m fund, namely Zaitech Fund. Attica Ventures has 9 investments, two of which, Mastihashop and Doppler are listed in the ENA Market of ASE since February 2008. Our aim is to invest in SMEs that are in start-up or early development stage. We are mainly focused on cutting-edge sectors, i.e. telecommunications, IT, energy, e-commerce, biotechnology, new materials, logistics, real-estate but also on companies, existing or under establishment, from a broader range of sectors, having competitive advantages through the use of technology and innovation.

Bronze Sponsor

ACE-Hellas was founded in 1979 and started activating in the area of IT and software solutions. A series of acquisitions, strategic partnerships and investments enabled the company to evolve into one of the most rapidly developing providers of high-tech, integrated
solutions with profound knowledge of the market, extensive know-how and excellent financial structure.