Posts about projects

Ferryhopper: Enabling you to hop on any island you want!

Over the next few days, we will be focusing on stories of startup companies that inspire. These are stories of teams who have set up their operations in Greece and have managed to scale up quickly.

It may not be easy to start a business, especially when it deals with new processes or technologies. Moreover, with so many successful examples coming from countries abroad, it can be discouraging always reading about companies thousands of miles away. However, the good news is that such stories are occurring right here in Athens too, and we would like to share one with you.

Today we will introduce you to the story of Ferryhopper; one successful business which was founded right here in Athens, Greece.

Ferryhopper is a platform which allows travelers to find and purchase tickets from over 30 different ferry operators. Founded in 2016 by Christos Spatharakis, Vasileios Lahanas, Panagiotis Sarafis, and Aiden Short, the company has managed to sell over 200,000 tickets to over 160 destinations on its platform. At the forefront of the growing trend of the digitalization of travel services, the company seeks to revolutionize the way people travel by ferry.

How It All Started

Ferryhopper currently operates from Stone Soup’s office space, and we are very excited to have them here with us and to get to know the team better. To understand how the team have achieved their successes, we had a conversation with Vasiliki, their marketing manager.

 

“It started out with four guys. Two of them were electrical engineers from NTUA, in Athens and they later met again in CERN during an internship.”

The four founders were avid travelers who they found themselves constantly frustrated by the difficulties of travelling between islands in Greece. The team created Ferryhopper with the goal of developing a single platform that would streamline the island hopping process. They consolidated all of the ferry operators and developed an algorithm which allowed travelers to choose routes between islands, even if they were not directly connected. With an emphasis on providing great customer service and user experience, Ferryhopper allowed travelers to book tickets directly on the platform with no service fees.

As Christos explains, when entering a mature market filled with established players, without having prior experience or market experts amongst your team it is essential to focus on creating a solid product that solves an actual problem. What is also important is to find the right people for your team who are willing to explore solutions and experiment with novel ideas. In Ferryhopper’s case, once the platform was launched, they received more demand that what they projected – quickly validating their value propositions and paving the way towards receiving funding.

Securing Investments

As Ferryhopper scaled up over the years, the team began pitching their company to various investors. They received a 30,000 euro award from the Stelios foundation, and more recently, they raised 600,000 euros through a funding round including Metavallon and easyGroup in 2018.

“Our procedure was to create a pitch deck, and approach some possible investors. It was time consuming because we wanted to create a very strong pitch and we wanted the investors to understand exactly what our product was about.”

Although the company faced challenges during the pitching process, it ultimately paid off as they were able to negotiate an amount and secure the final investment from Metavallon – an investment which will allow the company to further bolster its tech infrastructure and support its international expansion.

Advice for pitching

For many companies, particularly younger startups, pitching to investors can be a daunting endeavor. As demonstrated by Ferryhopper, this is a very involved process can take a long time, so it is extremely important to persevere and keep the end goal in mind. To help businesses who are interested in securing their own investments, Vasiliki also shares another tip:

“The perfect tip would be to meet people who could consult you, give you real-time advice, and provide feedback on your pitch decks. We have many incubators here in Athens, and a lot of people who have done this themselves and successfully received investments. You need to have somebody with experience that you can turn to.”

At Stone Soup, we offer such business advice. You may opt in for the Open Office Hours. They are one-on-one sessions with experts in different fields. The sessions are free of charge and are open to all. Our objective is to share the knowledge beyond our walls and to strengthen the Digital Creative ecosystem in Athens.

What’s Next?

As for what’s down the line for Ferryhopper, the company wants to continue adding new features to its platform, and expanding its presence both at home and abroad.

“What we have in mind is an expansion towards the mediterranean this summer. Not only Greece, but Italy, Spain, and more.”

What are you waiting for? Hop on to Ferryhopper’s website now to plan your summer vacation in the Mediterranean today. You never know, you might just get inspired to build something new!

 

Starting-up your business in Greece, could a coworking space benefit you?

Lucy is a US citizen who decided to move away and live in Greece. She is a marketer and start-up advisor, and she recently launched the website for her new company The Port. For the last couple of months she has been working from Stone Soup, so we thought to ask her about her experience and how is life for her in Greece.

In the summer of 2016, Lucy traveled to Greece on holiday and fell in love with the country. By the end of the year, she had become educated on the local tech community in Athens, and made the move to bring her skills to a new market. Since arriving in Greece over a year and a half ago, Lucy has been getting to know the local tech scene and culture, working with startups and small businesses both in Greece and the States. She is using her experience to better understand the needs of startups here, and identify the best practices from Silicon Alley (New York City) that could be adapted to help Greek startups grow.

This year, Lucy officially launched The Port, a startup resources hub and consultancy that is “helping startups navigate unchartered waters.” Specifically, in the Greek Market, The Port is helping local startups adapt and leverage the strategies that have helped the rapid growth of American tech companies.

Lucy joined Stone Soup in search of a shared space to surround herself with creative energy and inspiring hustle, and for all the other coworking space benefits that come with it. The welcoming community and open space office layout provides her with a “tight-knit community” enabling her to interact and collaborate with “creative and bright minds.”  The location was also a big plus and attracted Lucy to the space. Working in the heart of Athens, she is in walking distance from all other central neighborhoods—like Greek food hub, Syntagma Square and the famous Monastiraki Square and Flea Market.

To answer our initial question, Lucy felt that setting up shop in a local coworking space has greatly helped in both her transition into the Greek lifestyle and the successful launch of her business.

We would like to thank Lucy for her kind words, and to wish her lots of success!

More about Lucy:

Lucy grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and spent her university years in Philadelphia where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in business from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating, she went on to join IBM Global Business Services in New York City. After spending some time in corporate America, Lucy decided to make the shift to working with technology startups: early-stage e-commerce game Drop’ Til You Shop  and visual commerce platform Curalate. To learn more about The Port and the services it offers for Greek startups, go to the official website www.totheport.com

Unveiling the Totem

The Athens Protocol

On the 13th, 14th and 15th of October Stone Soup will be holding “The Athens Protocol”, an exclusive hands on presentation of the “Totem” framework. Totem serves as the universal language between all types of media, and is designed to help Developers and Rights-Users to deal with all the hurdles of Copyrighting and licensing.

OCL and the core development team of Totem, aims to bring developers, rights owners and artists together to hack on, demonstrate ways you can make use of Totem and get your cumulated feedback on the framework.

We will be handing out Prizes for your feedback and demos.

So what’s in the framework for you?

Want to build an app with copyrighted content without hassles, while not having to worry about licenses, accounting, reporting and securing permissions? Want to do it by only using a robust, light framework? One that also handles sourcing, identification, reporting, and in addition automates licensing for your users of any creative asset or combination of assets (music, video, text, images)?

Got some media content and want to accelerate, trace, and monetise any peer-to-peer transaction you could think of, without advertising, without personal data?

Reserve a ticket and learn how to:

  • Gain access to licensed media for your apps
    A weekend for you to dive into the technology and explore it. You will get the documentation and talk to people that deal with Copyright. Bring along your Mac, and experiment with the framework.
  • Monetise by identifying
    If you are a rights owner or artist, bring your knowledge on Copyright use and learn all about the technology that will help you monetise your work, and make it available to anyone in the world.

The event will feature:

Full Schedule

Friday

19:30—21:00  Welcome and Introductions
21:00—23:00 Mixer over Drinks
23:30 Doors Close

Saturday

10:00—11:00   Continental Breakfast
11:00—14:00  Introductions & Inspiration
14:00—15:00 Lunch
15:00—22:00  Hacking and Learning with OCL
19:00—20:00  Dinner on the Roof
22:00  Doors Close

Sunday

10:00—11:00  Continental Breakfast
11:00—14:00  Prepare for Hacking
14:00—15:00  Lunch
15:00—17:00  Demo Showcase
17:00—17:30  Awards Over Drinks
17:30—18:00  Pack It Up
18:00 Doors Close

ADMITTANCE BY INVITATION ONLY

Reserve a ticket and we will be in contact regarding your invitation.

For any further inquiries about the event, your participation and invitations email olga@stonesoup.io or give a call 0030 – 6978779787.

See you there!

Project Update: Camerize’s whereabouts

Martinus Meiborg is an freelance director from Amsterdam and an associate of Stone Soup.

He is the founder and CTO at Camerize and co-founder at Appsterdam. During his visit to Athens we had a quick sit down with him to check on updates and his encounters here in Greece.

Q: So Martinus what is your backround?

M. When I turned 18 I wanted to go to the Dutch Filmschool, but people in the profession told me to learn a craft, as I would learn filming while doing it. So I studied digital electronics and programming at a technical school. I have worked as a cameraman, editor and director. In 1990 I started a computer based editing company and a two years later I started a software company called Broadware aside, specialized in all sorts of tools for the video postproduction. Around 6 years later I quit the editing company to work in Broadware full time. In 2001 I moved to France and took Broadware with me. In 2005 the Broadware dissolved and after 2 years I started working for a company that produced playout automation and media mangement for TV stations all around Europe, North Africa and Asia. In 2010 we started Camerize, which proved to be a little bit early for the technology so we started again in March 2014. We decided to take out Camerize for testing in January 2015 to cover the Greek National Elections and then again in September 2015. After that came a 24h endurance test in order to cover the Star Wars Premiere.

Q: Does the app work only on iOS? Do I need to have an iphone?

M. You need an iphone for the camera app but Camerize is a live production service in the cloud and we use mobile phones as cameras. You can stream with any device, but then communications and possibilities might be limited. Right now the app is running only on iOS software but we’re planning to release it on Android in time. The difficulty is that Android is running in different versions on many different brands and devices, which is tedious for a hardware related app as ours. We’ll do that once we are fully up and running on iOS.

Q: What about any future milestones?

M. Oh, that’s a big secret but we’re planning on letting you know as soon as we have some news.

Q: So, what about your experiences here in Greece? What’s the thing that excited you the most?

M. A souvlaki per day keeps the doctor away! I really loved the greek souvlaki and the mediterranean food in general. The truth is that there is a misconception about the greeks and there are many stereotypes that are not true. Here in Athens we do start late but also end late compared with Amsterdam, but I must admit that it fits me better since I am not a morning person anyway.

Q: And what about your project with Stavros Messinis? Could you tell me a little more about that?

M. In October the first Mini Maker Faire was held in Athens and I went there to visit the Stone Soup booth. I really liked the concept of the exhibition and there were many great things going on so I decided make a small video. Stavros was a co-organiser of the Maker Faire and he is really making an effort to put Greece on the map so I wanted to help this effort.

Stay tuned for more!