June 16, 2012 · 1 Comments
ATHENS, GREECE — Not all hope is lost in Greece, despite the economic collapse you read and hear so much about.
Tonight I got to meet with a group of 20 or so men and women who are building Athens’ startup ecosystem, either as founders, VCs, or active participants are larger media and tech companies.
I’ll have more on my meeting later, but one conversation with Sotiris Papantonopoulos, the founder and CEO of Insurancemarket.gr really stood out.
Insurancemarket.gr is a platform for people to find car insurance in Greece. Soon it will offer health insurance as well.
Papantonopoulos, who used to work for one of Soros’ funds in London and Greece, says he has 20 employees, and is serving 3000 quotes per day. He cites the crisis as an opportunity to disrupt the existing business models, because people who used to just go to the local insurance agent now are eager to save money, and are willing to shop online.
He hopes the conservative candidate Antonio Samaras will win this Sunday’s election, as the left-wing that promises a bigger public sector is “delusional.”
But he certainly understands people’s frustration with Samaras.
“I’m going to vote for the right… and then I’m going to cut off my arm,” he says half jokingly, referring to how dirty he’ll feel voting for an establishment character.
If Samaras is going to win, he’ll need the support of a lot of folks like Papantonopoulos… people who aren’t necessarily fans, but are eager to stop the leftists who risk getting Greece ejected from the Eurozone.