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Interview with George Platanas, our newly appointed Country Manager for Greece

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Elena Ghinita

· 1 min read
George Platanas has more than 22 years of international business experience

George Platanas, our newly appointed Country Director for Greece, has more than 22 years of international business experience. He began his career as a financial and asset manager in shipping, and he served the industry for more than 17 years. Then, he led a series of entrepreneurial moves, from concept development to scaling, fundraising, and exit. Prior to joining SeedBlink, George was Head of Incubation and, later on, Regional Manager for Demium Greece, where he boosted the company into becoming the leading incubator/accelerator in the region. George also contributed to Demium SL receiving a €24.5 million investment from the Hellenic Development Bank of Investments.

How did you find your way into the world of startups and VC’s?

To answer this question, you have to consider what drives people to entrepreneurship. For some is the quest of following a dream while for others the need to be financially independent. For me was the passion for learning new things by pushing the boundaries, the joy of discovering new solutions, and the determination to never accept no for an answer. Everything starts with a simple question like “What if..?” or “Is there a better way to solve this?”.

As a person, I’m very curious and I tend to ask more questions than the average person; also, I don’t settle with the answers provided and I usually go & dig my own answers, too. So, although I had a very stable and well calculated professional life, there were many questions that I needed answered; this pushed me towards technology and startups.

In 2012 I got the first tech startup (in a series of many – some successful, some not) that caried me through a complete cycle of tremendous learning new things and a million of ways to make them successful. Alongside a startup you need funding, VC’s, Angel Investors, etc. So, to have a full view of the ecosystem I had to switch sides and find the rest of the answers. In 2019 I joined Demium – the Spanish VC/Incubator/Accelerator – and, among other things, I helped them apply for a local fund.

Can you tell our readers about your greatest success and failure in the investment world? What about the lessons learned?

Having almost a quarter of a century of diverse experience in business, startups, and investments, I have to admit that the greatest lesson learned is to always maintain a positive balance. Most of us invest in various ventures and opportunities, but at the end of the day, what really matters is to remain positive. And that doesn’t go just for the money!

My greatest success was 10 years ago when I believed in me, my team, and my startup, and managed to create something unique. Investment wise was my biggest success, too.

As everyone else, I do have a lot of failures too, some greater than others – but I can’t really recall what made them more impactful than others.

In conclusion, what I come to believe after all these years is that an investor needs to have a diversified investment portfolio with a little bit of everything, even if it’s not in their “Investment thesis”.

People, values, and ethics play a critical role in my decision making. We all tend to associate with alike people, and right from the first time I met the SeedBlink team I felt “at home”. We do have different backgrounds but we do share common goals, common values, passion, and the way we conduct business is based on ethics. So, even considering all the available options, I would still choose SeedBlink, 100%!

As for my role in the company: I will be running the Greek office, meaning that apart from being the point of contact between startups, investors, and the ecosystem, I will also work towards establishing SeedBlink’s dominant position in the market.

The Greek market has evolved a lot over the last 3 years. It finally starts to show levels of maturity on par to the rest of Europe, from both the startups and the investors sides. There are a lot of great opportunities, and the fact that we’ve just started to see the first local unicorns is an indication that entrepreneurs learned from the mistakes of the past, are now well prepared, and finally started to be extroverts. Same stands for the investment side, with Greek VC’s giving votes of trust to the top performers and the best solutions. We are still in the beginning, so the timing couldn’t be better.

SeedBlink’s solution is designed to fit any market rather than just the Greek one, as it gives people the opportunity to invest in the startups of their choice, in the same terms as investing through a VC. That, and many more, make SeedBlink unique.

Greek investors are aware that they need to diversify their portfolios and, despite the risks, startup investing pays off. And not just in money; the byproducts (creating development opportunities, creating jobs, and giving back to the society) are equally important.

As mentioned before, the timing couldn’t be better. There are amazing startups that we can help to raise their rounds and a lot of active VC’s that we’ve already partnered with. There are also many HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals) that need platforms like SeedBlink to get access to public & private deals, with all the terms, valuations, due diligence, and all paperwork already done, so that they can focus on what matters to them.

The main challenge we could face while launching SeedBlink in Greece is that there are traditional investors that could be skeptical before committing to an investment, or even joining the platform. I can appreciate that, as it is absolutely natural to question something that you are not accustomed with.

The SeedBlink way of investing may be relatively new – after all we’ve been operating for only 2.5 years – but if you take a closer look, not only at the volume of investments we have had but also at the chosen startups, you will realize the benefits and the opportunities that SeedBlink provides.

SeedBlink is democratizing the process of fundraising for startups. We don’t want to be just your “preferred investment platform”; SeedBlink helps investors, sophisticated or not, to build and grow a solid and diversified investment portfolio.

Let’s lead the way to innovation together!

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