Yell acquires a majority stake in YouScan, Openfund makes its second exit

YouScan’s was one of the first startups that Openfund invested in, focusing on social media monitoring service for brand owners specifically offered in the Russian and Ukrainian languages. Today we are announcing our exit from the company.

Thinking of YouScan takes us to the first days of Openfund. Α whole 6 years down the memory lane, we held demo days, invest just €20-30k and return feedback to founders in Times New Roman font. Things have changed greatly.

Looking at our backlog, early reviews praised YouScan for a well rounded team of development and sales, a clear undestanding of the market and a simple, easy to communicate, product. The only complicated term being thrown around was SaaS, which later became one of the business models that, we at Openfund, became very fond of.

Fast forward to 2015, the Kiev based team led by Alexey Orap, becomes the lead monitoring provider in the space which is comprised of Cyrillic based languages. Following the launch of LeadScanner, an entirely new product that creates sales leads, Yell, a major online directory service in Russia, took notice and grabbed a majority stake in the company. As part of the $1M financing round, past investors were allowed to exit while at the same time received great returns on their initial investment.

Alexey Orap, the CEO shared:

“Openfund was the first investor that took the leap of faith to invest in a different country and has added considerable value in terms of business development. We still perceive them as friends and some of the most experienced early stage investors in the region”.

Photo taken from one of YouScan legendary team bonding trips.

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 .

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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.

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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.

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Total Eclipse raises €430k led by Jeremie Openfund II

When we first saw Total Eclipse, it was a small games studio in northern Greece comprised of very dedicated founders. We thought it was a hidden gem and that’s why we invited them time and again in various Open Coffee meetings. The Openfund was in fact heavily inspired by the needs of young entrepreneurs that frequented such gatherings, and Open Coffee in particular. 

Today, we are announcing one of our largest investments to date, totalling €430,000 , together with angel investors. We believe that through this investment, Total Eclipse will get the brand recognition it deserves.

The investment will be used towards an ambitious plan: making Total Eclipse a top brand in multiplatform, casual gaming. This involves growing the team, further developing in-house technology and launching a number of games across various platforms and markets.

Total Eclipse has a strong track record of game releases with seven shipped titles in nine years, across different genres, platforms, and markets. Despite their differences, the games are characterised by their attention to detail, focus on fun and high level of polish.
The studio’s most popular titles, the Clockwork Man series (hidden object/adventure for Win/Mac/Linux set in a Victorian steampunk universe), first introduced the concept of immersive scrolling and zoomable scenes to the genre, sold hundreds of thousands of copies, and were amongst the first games to launch on Steam for Linux.

Total Eclipse’s latest release, A Clockwork Brain, is a puzzle game for iOS that blends brain-training with frantic puzzle solving. It has received glowing reviews from thousands of players and has surpassed 750,000 downloads through organic growth.

The team has already moved to new offices and has hired two software engineers and an illustrator who actually moved to Greece. Here is a picture of the team.

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New Call For Proposals is Open – Apply by October 31

Jeremie Openfund II is now again accepting applications. If you want to apply, please submit your application online by 12pm EET on October 31. Teams that submit early have an advantage, as we have more time to read their applications. Results should be out by November 30. All applications shall receive extended feedback.

We are looking for entrepreneurial teams based in Greece, with innovative ideas for software products that target big, international markets. Indicatively, we start with offering €50k for 10% of equity participation, on top of our continued commitment to provide support on all things startup.

We look forward to work with ambitious founders, enabling them to turn their ideas to valuable products, revenue-generating businesses and successful companies. Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Imagga raises $260k in new funds & Openfund makes its first exit

When we first met the Imagga founders, we knew there was something great going on. No matter the small team, the imaging technology the company possessed was already on par with many international efforts.

In 2010, shortly after the conclusion of the selection process, Openfund I’s executive board offered to invest in the company. The flagship product at the time was Stockpodium, but over time it quickly became apparent that a big part of the promise was the SaaS B2B business.

A couple of years afterwards, amid growing revenues and market traction, investor interest was originated about the company. We, having made a conscious decision to focus on the Openfund II, decided to take a step back and allow the company to simplify its holding structure.

Georgi Kadrev, the CEO, said:

“Openfund served us as the first people visionary enough to believe and invest in us, two years before seed funding went ‘mainstream’ on the Balkans. They exited the company to make our life simpler, when a new investor wanted to step in. However, we still feel them as friends and perceive them as one of the most knowledgeable guys about seed-funding in the region”.

You may read Imagga’s detailed blog post here.

We remain excited about Imagga’s future and we will be very happy to watch the founders become a role model for entrepreneurs in the region. At the same time, this marks the fund’s first divestment. Up to now we had significant up rounds, but never an exit before. We believe this small realization is another indication of the fund’s promise towards the future.

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New CFP is open – apply by May 31

Four months after Openfund II’s launch and three investments later (with another three pending announcement), we launch today our new call for proposals.

Entrepreneurs are welcome to submit their ideas by filling out the form by May 31. All submissions, regardless of getting selected or not, shall receive our extended reviews and feedback by June 15.

As you are well aware, we are looking for entrepreneurial teams based in Greece, with innovative ideas for software products that target big, international markets. Indicatively, we offer €50k for 10% of equity participation, on top of our continued commitment to provide support on all things an entrepreneur might wish for.

We look forward to work with ambitious entrepreneurs, turning their ideas to valuable products and successful companies. Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

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Locish launches to provide custom tips on the go

Locish, a mobile application enabling custom tip requests to get answered by locals within minutes, is now available for both iOS and Android devices. Essentially a marketplace between advice seekers and local providers, Locish serves on demand, near real time recommendations in a fashion that has not been accomplished before.

Currently featuring more than 200 locals across Athens, the application appeals to travellers looking for suggestions on sightseeing, food, leisure and other activities, from a local they can trust. Sophisticated AI algorithms secure high profile matching, while tips are currently priced at 1 euro, with Locish receiving a small fee.

The company, founded by Gregory Zontanos & Alex Christodoulou, is the third to join the Openfund II portfolio. The initial 60.000 euro investment will equip Locish to demonstrate its core value proposition and build early traction in Athens and other destinations.

“Openfund was our favourite option for seed funding, and, guess what, we were theirs, too”, Zontanos shared. “We are super happy about this partnership and we look forward to taking advantage of Openfund’s resources in materialising our ambitious vision”, he continued.

Georgios Kasselakis, partner, stated: “30% out of one billion travellers globally are already using their smartphones to obtain travel information, most of them from antiquated, if not questionable, sources. Locish is on a mission to turn locals’ insights into common knowledge for them, and we believe they can make it.”

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Workable raises €600,000 to change online hiring for SMEs

Workable is strengthening its position as Europe’s leading contender in the fast-growing hiring tools market with a fresh investment round of €600,000 led by Jeremie Openfund II. A cloud-based applicant tracking software, Workable is a new way to collect, review and hire people that buries the resume in favour of candidates’ online profiles.

Workable enables employers to look at candidates in the full context of their online presence. “We pull together context from candidates’ social media footprint, information about past employers, education and skills and deliver it in a form that’s easy to review and decide on,” says Workable’s CEO, Nikos Moraitakis. “It’s no longer about the impression the candidate wants to make with their resume, it’s about the information the company needs to make the right hiring choice.”

Business to Business (B2B) Software as a Service (SaaS) is growing and companies are switching to cloud software for hiring. Applicant tracking systems are the interface they use to manage everything from sourcing, job adverts, candidate screening, testing, internal workflow and collaboration. Candidate information and interaction is moving online.

“As a team of product designers and developers, discovering Workable was a magical day for us. Not only is this product beautifully designed, the effort that has gone into crafting such a great user experience really shines through. It has streamlined our hiring process, improved our ability to screen candidates, and kept feedback and hiring status altogether. The most exciting thing? It’s just the beginning of what’s possible with this product… We can’t wait.” says Sam Mathews, CEO of Neverbland and a noted authority on business software design.

“Cloud players with a fresh approach will contest a multi-billion euro space,” says George Tziralis, partner at Jeremie Openfund II, an Athens-based seed fund for technology companies, like Workable, that serve the global market. “An innovative European contender for this space is both welcome and overdue.”

The United States’ nearly 6 million small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) have already spurred the creation of SaaS ventures including JobVite, SmartRecruiters and The Resumator. While Workable is already competing for American clients with these firms, it also has a 24 million SME market in its own backyard, the European Union.

It’s time to move on from the car crash of PDF resumes and long mail threads. Workable recognizes that the people you want to hire have structured, honest, readable profiles on Linkedin and other professional networks. It’s an applicant management, screening and collaboration tool designed for a world of contextual candidate profiles, natural workflow and online communication between the candidate and the hiring team that you may actually want to use.

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