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Greece Has A New Atlas: Marine Traffic CEO Demitris Memos (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 10th 2016

Sramana Mitra: Listening to you and the story, you’ve already hit your stride. You’re growing at 60% year over year. You’ve got internally generated cash. If I were you, I would probably not take external financing. How does this company become a billion dollar company? That question is not clear.

On the other hand, you don’t need to become a billion dollar company unless you take $10 million from VCs. If you can’t convince VCs how you’re going to become a billion dollar company, they’re not going to give you $10 million. At some level, you may not want to waste your time chasing venture capital. Just focus on chasing customers and before you know it, you have a $50 million company that you and your partners will own yourselves.

Demitri Memos: That’s exactly the rationale. For now, we’ve decided that we’re not going to raise any capital. We are making some small acquisitions so we can grow a bit faster. We are growing our team cautiously. Right now, we’re 43 people.

Sramana Mitra: These 43 people are in Athens?

Demitri Memos: Most of them are in Athens. We’ve got a team of four, which will soon be five, in the UK.

Sramana Mitra: Fantastic. This is probably one of the most reassuring and encouraging stories about Greece that I’ve done. It’s wonderful to see that you are actually building a meaningful technology company in Greece. Congratulations!

Demitri Memos: It’s exciting for us as well. As I said, Marine Traffic is pretty popular and known. We’ve got five to six million active users. As you know, Greece has got a pretty active shipping industry.

Sramana Mitra: My father actually is in shipping so I know very well the Greek role in shipping.

Demitri Memos: They are always excited when we would tell them where Marine Traffic is. They usually think the distributor of Marine Traffic is in Greece.

Sramana Mitra: I have just a couple of parting questions. What is going on around you in terms of entrepreneurship? Are you seeing other entrepreneurs develop? Are you, in an way, involved in helping other companies getting started in Greece?

Demitri Memos: The startup ecosystem in Greece is pretty active. We’ve been growing a lot in the last couple of years. It’s possibly the only thing that’s moving in Greece. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to survive in Greece right now. For startups, access to capital is very minimal. Also, access to knowledge is minimal. There are very few success cases in Greece. This is something we’re lacking right now.

I guess we can only talk of only 10 success cases in Greece. As you can imagine, it’s very difficult for a young entrepreneur to get started without any guidance. That’s what I experienced firsthand in the beginning of my journey. Now, things are much easier. I’m personally involved in the entrepreneur’s organisation. We’ve set up a chapter in Greece a couple of years ago.

Our mission is to learn and grow and help entrepreneurs in Greece. This year, we’re going to start an accelerator in Greece aiming to help young entrepreneurs grow faster in their early days. This is for existing companies and not ideas. Generally, I am trying to get involved. Again, I’m pretty cautious giving advice to people, especially the young ones. I think one need to live the journey on his own as well. I am trying to share my experience but not yet helping as a mentor. That’s also the plan. We’re also planning to launch a mentorship program for younger entrepreneurs.

Sramana Mitra: You should look into One Million by One Million and plug your entrepreneurship community. It connects you directly to Silicon Valley and you can leverage all our resources.

Demitri Memos: I’ve only had a brief look into the website. We’ll look into it further.

Sramana Mitra: It was a real pleasure talking to you. I’m thrilled to bits to hear your story. Good luck and I hope you keep building. I hope more entrepreneurs get inspired by your story in Greece and start to achieve some success.

Demitri Memos: We need role models. Someone needs to step up.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Greece Has A New Atlas: Marine Traffic CEO Demitris Memos
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