WorkShop on Start-ups,Incubators and Venture Capital
in the context of
8th Panhellenic Conference on Informatics
Nicosia, Cyprus, November 8-10, 2001

Open Ratings: Founding a technology
By Giorgos Zacharia  (Starting at 14:45)


Based on preliminary academic research, Open Ratings' patent-pending technology was commercialized in 1999 to simulate and improve the decision-making processes used by buyers, including supplier selection, evaluation and monitoring activities. Today, Open Ratings is the global standard for predictive supplier performance solutions for the Global 3000. Open Ratings is capable of providing performance ratings and business information about millions of companies around the world, giving buyers the tools to evaluate in real time how a supplier is likely to perform in the future - in terms of product quality, timeliness, and responsiveness to queries - empowering buyers to fulfill their strategic responsibilities in a way never before possible.

I will talk about the following milestones in the evolution of the company:
a) First business plan
b) Raising angel money, and first round of VC financing
c) Hiring management team
d) Refining business plan, testing with customers
e) Outsourcing development for inital product launch.
f) Raising 2nd round of VC financing, partnering with an old economy player, closing first deals
g) Reinventing business model as economy downturn diminishes market size.
h) Closing first deals
i) Managing bottom line to survive economy downturn.

Venture Capital ,Start-ups and Incubators the Greek experience
By George Kintis  (Starting at 15:15)


The Greek experience with venture capital has so far been limited. Most of the players have focused on private equity, which is unsurprising, given how lucrative pre-IPO investments have been in recent years. A number of listed companies also tried to emulate venture capitalists. Their efforts pushed up asset prices and met with limited success. The bursting of the global high-tech bubble, coupled with the drop on the Athens Stock Exchange, present venture capitalists with a new reality, which in fact is a very old one: VCs should nurture companies for awhile, before taking them public, and they shouldn't bother with companies which can never make money. This new environment also presents opportunities: listed companies will be looking to divest some of their subsidiaries, so expect a wave of MBOs and MBIs. Finally, please spare a thought for that relic of the dot-com era: the incubator. It can be argued that, while incubators add little value in countries like the US and the UK, they may very well have a role to play in less developed markets.

Title: E-business in Eastern Europe and the challenge of CRM
By Theodoros Evgeniou  (Starting at 15:45)


How can one make sense of the dynamics of ebusiness development in an Easter European economy? In this talk i will discuss some preliminary ideas from a recently started study on ebusiness in Easter Europe. I will present a framework for thinking about the important factors and dynamics for the success of ebusiness in Easter European countries. One of the axis of the framework is the changes in the relations of companies with customers that ebusiness brings. I will expand on this axis discussing how one can think about customer relations in the new economy in general. The evolving relations of companies with customers is one of the factors that can lead to a number of new opportunities for new companies.

Title: Key Success factors in Venture Capital
By Theodoros Theodorou  (Starting at 16:30)


Venture capital is primarily a vehicle for financing companies past the initial investigative phase, and which require capital to grow the business. As such, venture capital is a key driver in financing business growth, especially in technology sectors, which typically have difficulty in meeting requirements of lending institutions. A venture capitalist will offer not only funds but also management support to the business, in areas which the entrepreneur will lack experience. The key success factors in a venture are, naturally, an attractive concept, but mostly capable managers, that can implement a project successfully, responding to unforeseen challenges, and a sound plan that allows for additional financing for emergencies. In Cyprus, the size of the local market is a key constraint. An outlook beyond the local borders is usually a prerequisite for success.