Key Challenges for Greek IT Start Ups: An Analysis of Founder Perceptions

Key Challenges for Greek IT Start Ups: An Analysis of Founder Perceptions

Theocharis Stylianos Spyropoulos (Department of International Business, Perrotis College, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3648-3.ch003


The study examines the IT Greek start-up ecosystem, analyzing the founders' views, strategy, and current perception regarding their ICT start-ups. The study examines the views and perceptions of 143 founders of Greek IT start ups who participated in exhibitions as start-up companies between September 2018 and May 2019, and had completed at least one accelerator program.
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Recent academic study (Roy, 2019) highlights the economy’s and organization’s investments on innovation; for start-up companies, commitment to innovation is their very own for existence – and the way they will manage to overcome the challenges they meet will determine their very own survival.

The study examines the Greek start-up ecosystem, with a special focus on companies engaged in information technology solutions (IT sector). The objective is to identify the key challenges and priorities that Greek Start-Up founders are facing, based on their own perceptions. The study examines the IT Greek Start-Ups participating in exhibitions in Greece, in the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki, for the time period between September 2018 and May 2019.

Founders of the start-ups were all participants at least in one start-up boot camp or start-up accelerator program, operating in Greece. To this respect, the founders have received at least basic business and entrepreneurial training regarding the various aspects of establishing and managing a start-up company, such as company formation, product design, market selection, human resources, negotiations, and pitching to potential investors, and therefore can be considered to be trained to a satisfactory degree on the business and managerial aspects of running a start-up company.

Furthermore, the Greek macroeconomic and business environment in which Greek IT start-uppers are trying to develop their business activities and overcome their challenges has to be taken into account. The austerity measures, since 2009 resulted to an economy characterized with high unemployment levels and increased poverty, over taxation and dramatic cuts of income level for the majority of population, as well as corporate investment budgets for IT solutions.

The purpose of this study is to highlight the challenges the Greek IT start-ups are facing, as the actual founders of the start-ups perceive them. Furthermore the study examines the impact of these challenges to the start-ups and finally, provides a better understanding for the start-up ecosystem in Greece.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Start-Up: an organization, formally established or not, that aims to launch a new product or service proposal. The main aim of this entity is to test hypotheses, mainly of value to end customer and growth potential.

Disruptive: A type of innovation which offers some characteristics that offers superior value to specific market segments, but not the mainstream market.

Pitch: A presentation of the key characteristics and benefits of the Start-Up, including the problem addressed, market size and growth potential, team and competitive advantage.

Integration: The ability of software systems to communicate seamlessly, exchanging data and activating processes.

Intellectual Property: A set of company’s intangible assets protected by legal means, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, etc.

Prof of Concept: A demonstration of a product or service aiming to satisfy pre-agreed goals, and prove value to end customer.

Sales Cycle: The time required to turn a lead to an actual sale, according to the sales process

Business model: The way an organization plans its activities and key relationships with customers and suppliers, in order to create and capture value.

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