Greek Digital Marketplace Startups
Entrepreneurs try to find gaps in a market and swiftly move in to fill them. Greece's new generation of technology entrepreneurs are no exception to this age-old rule of business.
The following businesses are operating in three totally different verticals, but each one of them identified an unfulfilled market need and created a collaborative marketplace out of it. So whether the need is a way of finding a cheap, safe and good quality taxi ride using Taxibeat, getting a home cooked meal delivered to your door with Cookisto or finding the best possible healthcare option with DoctorAnytime, the basic idea is the same. Discovery of services/products and reviewing the experience by the customers.
Let's start with Taxibeat, (www.taxibeat.com) one of the first Greek B2C startup successes, which has gathered a large and loyal (edging to fanatical) user base in Athens (120,000 users and 2,500 taxi drivers) before moving on abroad. Taxibeat focused on the very simple fact that there is no real way of reviewing a good cab driver, you just get what luck brings across your path. Their mobile app finds the nearest available drivers to where you are, it shows you their rating (from previous passengers) as well as the make and equipment of their taxi (A/C, phone chargers, baby seats, wifi etc). If the taxi offers free wifi, the password is sent to your smartphone as soon as you board on the taxi.
Taxibeat works on a number of levels. At its core, it is a collaborative marketplace for taxi rides. As drivers know they are rated, they tend to be more professional than the average driver you hail on the street. The need to have a smartphone in order to use the app means that both drivers and passengers are younger and possibly more educated. Drivers also like Taxibeat because it brings them good quality safe rides, while women passengers are very fond of it because they feel safe with its rated drivers or the ability to choose female ones. The average score of a driver is 4.8/5 making it a win-win situation for all.
Following Athens, Taxibeat expanded to Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, followed by Paris and in the summer of 2013 to Mexico City. Additionally, Taxibeat has received an initial funding from Openfund, followed by three more rounds of investment totaling €2,25M. In the future, they plan to consolidate their position in the hugely competitive Latin American market.
Food is an important part of the Greek lifestyle, so there is no shortage of startups covering its various facets. In this installment, we will see one of the most innovative startup ideas related to food.
Cookisto (www.cookisto.com) has the motto: "Someone's cooking for you" and believes that if we trust people on the Internet for every facet of our life, why not let them cook for us? With this simple premise, Cookisto has single handedly created a marketplace for home cooks to sell their surplus portions and share their cooking skill with all comers in their local area via its site. Each cook creates a profile on the site and advertises the dishes offered, their price and sometimes even the recipe! Foodies search for available food at a any given time in their area or send a general request to the community. In Athens, the service has caught the imagination of amateur cooks, stay at home moms and older mothers who were used to cooking for a large family but now their kids have grown up and moved out. Some cook for the extra income, though a lot cook because they simply enjoy it.
With their recent London launch, Cookisto has also offered the opportunity to sample a wealth of dishes from all over the world, but also vegan and gluten free dishes. In London there are more semi-professional cooks as well as food bloggers, rather than stay at home moms.
Cookisto has 24,000 foodies served by 1,500 cooks in Athens and London. The startup recently secured €200,000 of seed funding by Leon Yohai, the successful Serial Entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of ZuluTrade.
According to World Health Organization and OECD data, Greece has one of the highest numbers of doctors per capita (5/1000 people) and the second highest per capita spending on private healthcare in Europe (only Switzerland ranks higher). There are a plethora of options and parameters surrounding public and private healthcare in Greece making a doctor visit a time consuming and costly exercise for the uninitiated. This is where Doctoranytime (www.doctoranytime.gr) has stepped in and created a marketplace for medical and healthcare professionals. Patients search via the site or the call center for the doctor specialty of their choice, as well as various cost parameters (insurance company affiliations, if they do e-prescriptions etc.) They can review the doctor profile, see their availability schedule and book an appointment. The system keeps a patient record with all the lab results and medical examinations of the patient that can be accessed at any time, which if needed can be shared with other doctors on the system.;
Doctoranytime is free for patients and charges a subscription fee to doctors. In the 1.5 years of operation, Doctoranytime has booked 8000 appointments via its site and 4000 via its call center with a community of 1650 doctors and medical professionals. It has a warm reception from tech savvy doctors which were quick to spot the opportunities this new medium offers them. The startup has been funded by team of angel investors and it intends to grow into a health services portal.