Incelligent Secures Pre-seed Funding for its Wireless Broadband Network Management System

Operators of wireless/mobile broadband networks (WMBNs) all face one fundamental problem: costs are increasing faster than revenues. The demand for traffic is growing more than ever before, while at the same time it is highly variable in time and space. High capital expenditure is needed to accommodate that traffic and increasing operational expenditure to manage a network of surging complexity, while there is increasing excess capacity in many parts of the system, which results in waste of energy and operating costs. The founding team of Incelligent, an Athens-based startup, has developed a management system for WBMNs to address this problem.

Some automated solutions already exist for self-organizing networks (SONs), but they cannot respond in real time and with the needed reliability to actual conditions, especially since complexity continues to increase. Incelligent goes further, combining existing edge technologies with knowledge, in order to reach faster, automated, predictive and more reliable decisions with respect to the allocation of resources (e.g., power, spectrum), selection of cells and radio access technologies. It converts legacy and emerging WMBNs to intelligent, automated, agile, cost- and energy-efficient systems. It is real-time, i.e. it will act dynamically, during the system operation, and it is knowledge-based because it exploits acquired contextual data and previously made decisions, in order to instantly match the best possible solutions to situations, which are encountered.

Among the founders of Incelligent, Dr. Kostas Tsagkaris and Dr. Serafim Kotrotsos, who combine a strong research background with business experience in the telecommunication software industry, expressed their enthusiasm for the collaboration with Openfund. Openfund will invest €80 thousand in pre-seed capital to support the team as they build and validate a functional prototype. We are very excited with the prospect that this company can become a leading-edge technology provider to the telecoms industry worldwide.

Comments

Discoveroom Raises €300k to Become The Tool of Choice for Small Lodging Owners

There is still a broad strip of the accommodation industry that largely remains untapped by the web, in an era when online travel agencies dominate hotel bookings, while marketplaces provide access to private houses.

Hundreds of thousands of lodgings, bnbs, inns or rooms to let -however they are called- are servicing millions of guests worldwide, despite being stuck with legacy tools, that make it hard for them to get discovered and hard to manage. To give an example, in Greece alone there are about 40 thousand “rooms to let” facilities. Most of them do not have an online booking option, as a result of managing their reservations on paper ledgers or raw excel files.

Discoveroom comes to change the scene and help this sector flourish. With a mobile app for reservations management that has been built from day one with small lodging owners in mind, it provides a solid basis to make lodgings’ operations efficient, for owners and guests alike.

The first version of the app for iOS and Android was released a couple of months ago, and is already being used by hundreds of lodgings, mostly in Greece, but also in geographies as disparate as South Africa, Malaysia and Alaska. What follows in the product roadmap is channel management and a internet booking engine, along with a consumer website aggregating lodging room inventories.

Since receiving a preseed investment of €100k last October, Nikos Anagnostou, the founder, has been instrumental in building a great team and a product that works. On the basis of the above, we are excited to announce we proceeded to a seed investment of €300k, to enable Discoveroom to grow and give this special part of the accommodation industry the attention it deserves.

Comments

Tapely brings taste back to online music

Music is much more than sound. Listening to an artist’s album and falling in love with the album’s artwork, or back in the day, discovering new music from a friend’s handmade mixtape, brought excitement long before the music played and continued well after that.

The transition to online revolutionized delivery and bundling, yet it truncated the music experience. Today, we have millions of songs available just a few key strokes away. Yet again, a search bar cannot create feelings and recommendation algorithms can only get you so far when it comes to taste. All in all, we are still at the MS-DOS era of music online – just check the look of online playlists.

Tapely comes to restore feelings back to music on the web. It’s a simple idea: Create and share personal, visually stunning mixtapes curated by people who love music. Pick some songs from online sources like Youtube and SoundCloud, add visuals like a background image, custom text and colors and you’re done. Yet, it can get you a really long way. Check this mixtape for example, or this one, or even this. You get the idea.

Alex Nikolaidis, the founder, left his senior consulting career at PwC to learn coding and build Tapely from scratch. When he appeared –along with a Velvet Underground LP– in front of us a few months ago, he had a prototype with thousands of passionate users and uniquely themed mixtapes. Correct, all these were music to our ears.

Tapely, now a team of four, embarks on a trip to become the default way to share music online. Truth be told; it is a crowded market, and a bold vision. But, here at Openfund, we are truly excited to partner with Alex and team and contribute an initial investment of €200,000. Now, let the music start.

Comments

Pockee Raises €100k to Bring FMCG Coupons to Your Smartphone

Over the past few years, we have received literally dozens of submissions in the mobile couponing area. For a number of reasons, every single time we passed. That was until we recently met Zissis and the Pockee team.

Zissis Tsairelis, the founder, was pursuing a marketing career at Procter & Gamble. During it, he came to realise first hand the challenges and inefficiencies of FMCG couponing for consumers, retailers and brands alike. To provide some context, the biggest innovation in grocery couponing during the last 125 years has been the shift of printing them online.

Zissis came up with an idea on how to make things work for everyone involved, quit his job, set up a top-notch team and here we go. We were excited to hear at last an idea that makes sense in this industry, and become part of Pockee’s vision.

Pockee brings coupons of popular FMCG brands right to your smartphone. Next time you visit a supermarket you check in, see the list of available offers, pick and scan the products you prefer and get the discount right to your bank account. Yes, an app that really makes you money.

At the same time, Pockee integrates with big supermarket retailers to validate transactions, while offering a platform to brands to facilitate coupon marketing the way it should be.

The app will become available featuring a number of well-known brands in various supermarket retailers across Greece within a few weeks. We really feel enthusiastic about the team’s progress so far and the opportunities lying ahead. Welcome, Pockee!

Comments

The spring Call for Proposals is now open – Apply by May 20

After a lot of hard work to make the new rounds for Workable and Locish , as well as a series of new investments, we are now ready to resume our focus on pre-seed applications.

We currently have open two tracks:

  •   –   Pre-seed , where founders may submit their ideas or half-finished products
  •   –   Seed, for founders with completed products and some revenues, seeking to grow their business further

The call will remain open until May 20th, a date after which we will start the intensive processing of this batch’s proposals. Initial feedback can be expected ahead of that.

Necessary ingredients for the pre-seed stage are: entrepreneurial teams based in (or willing to move to) Greece, with innovative ideas for software products that target significant, international markets. As an indication, we offer €50k-€100k, on top of our continued commitment to support.

Entrepreneurs or startup enthusiasts not ready to come up with their idea may consider applying for a job at one of our portfolio companies. CVs received here are visible to all of our Founders.

We look forward to working with you, to help you turn your ideas into successful businesses.

Should you have any further questions before submitting, do not hesitate to contact us .

Comments

Locish raises $820k to take its near realtime Q&A app stateside

locish logo

Our first contact with Locish was in a coworking space which its dedicated founders, Alex and Greg almost inhabited while continuously releasing small iterations, testing the assumptions thereof. We saw back then that their methodology and dedication was second to none and soon after we decided to become the first to invest in their vision.

Since then, Locish has launched in San Fransisco, New York, and –yes- Athens, providing travelers with customized tips regarding where they should go for food or a drink when visiting a new city. But beyond that, we quickly found out that even locals wanted to use it to find out about new places in their own city. The experience of users asking questions and receiving customized suggestions is a deeply engaging one.

Apparently Locish works, and they just announced one of the largest uprounds we’ve ever had. In the new round Odyssey Jeremie Venture Partners and Jeremie Openfund II as well as angels including our mentor Thanos Triant participated.

With the funds raised, the startup will relaunch with a completely redesigned application and expand further in the US market. Its renewed focus: finding where you’ll eat or drink next by bringing you answers from people like you.

Comments

Tribe raises €100k to build next generation wearables

Tribe, starting out of Komotini, Greece, announces today a €100k pre-seed investment round by Jeremie Openfund II.

Tribe and its founder, Demetres Stordopoulos, are on a mission to build wearable activity trackers that are actually  hidden in the fabric of sports gear. Taking advantage of integrated yet unobtrusive microelectronics, the vision is to provide key information on an athlete’s physical condition in real time.

Essentially bringing the monitoring capacity of a lab at one’s fingertips, Tribe aims to improve performance and lower risk injury at unprecedented levels.

A diverse and ambitious team of 4 is already hard at work to deliver a prototype and perform field experiments within a few months.

Comments

Workable raises $1.5m, led by Greylock IL

You may have heard the news already. We are excited to share that Greylock IL has led the latest, $1.5m funding round of Workable, along with Jeremie Openfund II and other private investors also participating.

We first invested in Workable 12 months ago. Since then, Nikos and Spyros have been out on a mission to build a world-class team and a top-notch product out of Athens, Greece. If you have used Workable before, you probably are aware of the results. If you haven’t yet, and you run a business or are about to do some hiring, go give it a try. One thing is for sure; what you think about recruitment will never be the same again.

When you take such a tedious process (think of piles of pdf resumes and excel files as the industry standard) and you improve it to the point that people want to experience it again and again, then you probably are onto something interesting. And, in this context, getting a partner of the caliber of Greylock IL and Laurel Bowden on board comes naturally as the next step.

Make no mistake, this is not the end of the road, or a success per se. As Spyros has put it, nice shoes can only get you so far when you are running a marathon. The most difficult part starts now, and we have plenty of good reasons to strongly believe it will also be the most exciting one. Onwards!

Comments

Openfund 2013 — Year in Review

What a year 2013 has been for Openfund!

- First things first, our Openfund I portfolio has progressed nicely: YouScan has matured to a solid SaaS business, we had a small exit with Imagga and Taxibeat just announced its latest $4 million round by Hummingbird.

- We launched Openfund II back in December 2012. Since then, we have made 10 investments: Incrediblue, Workable, Locish, Dopios, Longaccess, Total Eclipse, The Singularity Lab, Discoveroom, plus a couple more pending announcement. 3 of them have already secured a follow up round with other investors; stay tuned for the details.

- In this context, we have already allocated €2.5 million in our first year and we are on track to reach our target of 25-30 investments by the end of 2015.

- We just completed a small capital increase of €1.7 million, by both existing and new investors, to address what we consider to be a growing market opportunity in a rapidly maturing ecosystem.

- We are currently enabling dozens of entrepreneurs and a hundred great employees to build and market unique products that deliver value to thousands of customers; this is what gets us out of bed and drives us to perform better every single day.

- We’ve gone a long way to see our original vision taking shape, yet we’re still at the beginning. The stakes are high now, and we have no option than to move faster, higher, stronger; that’s exactly what we plan to do.

Thank you everyone for your support, onwards to a phenomenal 2014!

Comments

Singularity Lab is securing your website

WordPress is a great publishing platform, which is now used to power over 65M blogs and content sites. It’s versatility is extended even more, by its very vibrant ecosystem of theme and plugin makers.

Yet, while WordPress is great on a managed platform, it takes a toll on you when it comes to running it by yourself. Updates (even though an automated update system was introduced in 3.7) suddenly and inexplicably stop working, file permissions become confusing and in some times you might even get a worm if you delay your updates for long.

We get to know the above, right because we as well use WordPress a lot. And we got excited when Paraskevas Smirlakis and Notis Gasparis appeared in front of us with a solution.

The Singularity Lab is developing Ermis.co, a set-and-forget solution for managing your website. It automatically backups and updates your WordPress installation. What’s more, in case it gets infected, it rolls back both files and database to a working copy of a previous date, then it immediately applies security fixes.

Singularity Lab, the company, received a €80,000 investment from Openfund to build Ermis and take the hassle out of content management systems. Ermis for WordPress is already live, so you may sign up for the limited beta, while support for Drupal and Joomla is coming soon.

Comments