Greek Entrepreneurs Unite to Help Startups During the Economic Meltdown

What's going on in Greece?

This is a really bad day for Greece. After the surprise decision on Monday by PM Alexis Tsipras to call a snap referendum within a week, people run to the ATM's to withdraw their savings. That resulted to Capital Controls, the first time such a thing has happened in the Eurozone. It's also the first time a developed country has not paid IMF, and Greece today joined the club of three other countries,

What's the problem?

Strict capital controls are now in place in the country, and people can only withdraw 60 euros/day per account. It also means that Greek issued debit/credit cards should should also follow this rule for purchases in foreign countries. That means that if you had a server in AWS, you would have to pay Amazon (a corporation that is not based in Greece) today as part of the usual monthly billing cycle. Unfortunately, your card could not be used anymore for such a payment, and your transaction will fail. Unless you have an alternative method of payment (ie. a card issued by a foreign bank), you will be denied the continued service. That's what SaaS means. Failure to pay means discontinued service.

Why do we care?

Most startups, not only in Greece, but everywhere in the world, rely on SaaS to build and scale their operations. They cannot afford to buy and own servers that provide hosting, e-mail, push notifications, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, Google ads, and so on. Startups rely on fast growth and such a development can kill them as they cannot compete with international players on the same terms.

What have Greek Entrepreneurs done?

Fortunately, the Greek startup ecosystem proves to be strong and reliable when it comes to providing help to each other. Not in theory or words, but with real tangible actions. Panos Papadopoulos and John Vlachoyiannis, the founders of the Greek startup Bugsense that was acquired by Splunk in 2013, were the first to react, offering a hand to Greek startups affected by the capital controls imposed by the government. They started this Google Form that would assist payments for hosting, domain name renewals and other important features that startups come to depend heavily upon.

Panos and John said that they probably cannot help everyone, but they will do their best to assist wherever possible, looking at each case submitted through the form.

This is a prime example that shows how your network can help you out when you are in need. It also shows the importance of united and strong startup ecosystem, something that Startup Grind Athens has strived to achieve since its launch. Our value of connecting entrepreneurs is more evident and needed than before.

I really hope that we can get out of this crisis with the minimum possible damage. Entrepreneurs have always been called to overcome difficulties and find the way to solve problems, even when these problems came out of nowhere and seemed like impossible to solve.

We need to keep calm and keep grinding!