Articles for October 2015

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.

Workable raises $27m in Series B round

Workable yesterday announced a $27m Series B round, led by Balderton Capital, along with Notion Capital and existing investors 83 North (previously Greylock IL). For a company that started three years ago in Athens, the size of this round may come as a surprise. To those of us on the inside, it is not. Spyros and Nikos have put together a 48-strong, world-class team that day-in and day-out builds software that is both used and loved by thousands of small companies all over the world.

Team Workable

Hiring remains the most essential businesses process and yet the most inefficient. Workable is the only solution available to the tens of millions of businesses that need a self-service tool to make their next hire. In this context, the way ahead for Workable is straightforward, and this is what this growth stage round is for.

Make no mistake, this is not the finish line or the time for victory laurels. Challenges grow as a company scales and the stakes are now higher. At the same time though, a round of this size serves to demonstrate the value that the company has created, while also indicates how far it is expected to go. Getting to this stage means that a number of difficult problems have already been solved, and, no matter how tough the next steps may be, this is also a moment for the team to acknowledge how far they have come and how quickly they have travelled. So, kudos Workable!

We also consider the track record of Workable to be a vivid illustration of the potential in the local ecosystem. A number of questions that were on the table when we started Openfund have now received a definite answer. Yes, it is feasible to start a technology company in Greece without limiting any of your ambitions. We are hard at work on more cases like Workable; what we can share today is that the future of Greek startups is a bright one.