With the opening of new local innovation hubs, and the appointment of its first Chief Digital Officer in 2017, Athens is showing promise as a future GovTech leader.
In recent years, Athens has partnered with the likes of the European Investment Fund and Bloomberg Associates to bring new, innovative offerings to the public sector. One of these initiatives includes the recently-established Athens Digital Lab, which provides the city with its own research and development laboratory to develop small-scale smart city initiatives. The first iteration of this programme has seen the Lab award capital and support to four fledgling ventures offering new solutions for urban management: from smart recycling bins, to data dashboards for urban management. In 2017, Athens appointed its first chief digital officer, Constantinos Hambidis. A former engineer, Hambidis is committed to making Athens ‘a better place to be’ by providing the right conditions for technological innovation and digitizing public services.
In parallel to the city’s public efforts, other private and non-profit initiatives are emerging to support Athens’ start-up ecosystem. The Cube, Athens’ first co-working space, was established in 2013 and serves as a nerve centre for the city’s entrepreneurial community. Mindspace is a project that aims to help students and young graduates transfer their skills and knowledge to the entrepreneurial space. And Campfire Innovation is an NGO founded in 2016 that is ‘dedicated to helping social enterprises and non-profits communicate, scale and think in a more entrepreneurial way’.
Additionally, there has been a surge of financial capital being directed to Greek-founded startups in recent years. This has included major funding rounds for new Athenian FinTech companies, including Hellas Direct (€7.4m in 2018) and GlobelMoney (€4.2m in 2017) A new fund-of-funds programme called Equifund was launched this year to provide a total of €300 million to up to 200 early-stage, Greek-founded companies over the next five years. This fund, backed by the Greek government and EU investment channels is making commitments in professional and independently managed funds with the goal of ‘strengthening the venture capital market in Greece…to grow businesses and attract private sector investment’.
The list of the top 10 GovTech startups in Athens is reflective of the major public issues facing Greece as a whole. Startups attempting to transform agriculture and empower younger generations seem appropriate for a nation with tremendous natural resources as well as issues with youth unemployment.
Top 10 GovTech Startups
novoville is a citizen engagement platform that allows users to apply for services, report problems, and share opinions with their local council.
EduTailors is a platform that connects public tutors with students, utilising ratings and reviews for more accurate pairing
CareAcross is a web application that provides expert information on cancer treatments and options, as well as a community support network for cancer patients.
Recytrust develops smart bins that use IoT sensors, real-time feedback and gamification techniques to incentivise citizens to recycle correctly.
College Link is a platform that connects graduating students with employers to maximise employment potential.
Therapeek is a data analytics platform that helps mental health professionals to monitor and manage the progress of their patients.
MyJobNow is an app that connects employers and blue-collar workers, allowing job seekers to find opportunities and employers to review and hire employees.
Doctoranytime allows patients to the right doctor or medical center (based on criteria like full profile, reviews, insurance affiliation) and book an appointment online.
Kinems creates educational games based on therapeutic protocols aimed to help children with disabilities such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and dyscalculia.
Augmenta is a plug and play multispectral camera that uses machine learning to analyse crop yields and pesticide usage.