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Newsletter May 2013


Taxibeat Takes on the World
Greece’s software, Internet, and mobile app companies are beginning to develop global-level products and services.

There’s a lot of buzz about Greek startups these days, and it’s hard to engage in a discussion about the emerging entrepreneurial scene without the conversation inevitably turning towards Taxibeat.

Launched in Athens in May 2011, the taxi-hailing app is already taking the world by storm, having recently spread to Brazil, Romania, Norway and France.

Taxibeat has been featured in reports by CNBC, Bloomberg, BBC World News, Business Insider, and others.
What makes the app so special? First, Taxibeat lets users locate and hail taxis using their smartphone. With just a few taps, users can pinpoint nearby drivers and send them speeding towards their location. Users can even monitor their approach via embedded mapping software. Taxibeat also allows users to choose their taxi driver based on their specific needs—languages, pets, accessibility—rather than have a driver randomly assigned.

But the real genius of the app is in the quality of service it promotes. Taxibeat allows passengers to rank drivers based on their overall passenger experience. Drivers, knowing they are being reviewed, are motivated to offer the best possible experience and amenities (drivers can also rank passengers and flag possible problematic riders for each other).

Winning international market share against strong foreign competitors like Uber, Taxibeat service has attracted a great deal of global attention and admiration—notably from the international media. Use the service the next time you’re in Athens, and look for it in a city near you!

Hellenic Mobile Cluster Launched
The Association of Mobile Application Companies in Greece (HAMAC) recently launched its Hellenic Mobile Cluster initiative and offered an optimistic outlook for the cooperative mechanism.

This new cluster comprises the member companies of the Association, and 13 research and academic institutions with strong technical expertise and outward orientation. The participants form the core of a new dynamic sector of the Greek economy, which has shown robust growth in spite of the economic crisis.

The success of Greece’s mobile applications and services sector has been driven by strong research and innovation. More than 80 Greek companies operating in this sector have given rise to a robust ecosystem of entrepreneurs, researchers, consultants, investors, and start-ups.

The Hellenic Mobile Cluster aims to increase the international competitiveness of its members and stimulate the development of new, innovative and competitive products and services targeting the global market, which in 2012 exceeded 1 billion devices. It also aims to create economies of scale and to respond to current business, technological, economic and social challenges.

The facilitator of the Hellenic Mobile Cluster is the company Atlantis Consulting SA.

Expanded Hellenic-German Research and Technological Cooperation
Greece and Germany recently expanded their cooperation in the fields of Research, Technological Development and Innovation, providing a total budget of approximately 10 million Euro to implement bilateral science and technology projects, during the period 2013-2015. Both countries aim to consolidate and expand the base of the hitherto successful cooperation in these important areas.

In this context, the competent bodies of the two states, namely the General Secretariat for Research and Technology, Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Sport and Culture in Athens and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Berlin, published a new call for scientific-technological cooperation aimed to promote collaboration between the public and private sectors through the implementation of bilateral science and technology projects of large financial scope.

The redesign and shift of bilateral science and technology projects towards growth is expected to contribute substantially in peak areas of research and production of high added-value products, with similar benefits to both countries. In addition, it will act as an effective tool to address the difficulties of the economic crisis in Greece and around the world.

Each country will finance its own entities, which are invited to submit proposals on a wide range of thematic areas covering research in health, bio-economy, energy, humanities and social sciences, information and communications technology, nanotechnology, and photonics technology.

With the occasion of the new tender, the Greek General Secretary for Research and Technology, Professor Vasilis Maglaris, and the Parliamentary Secretary of the German Ministry of Education and Research, Thomas Rachel, said, “Our common goal is to focus on frontier areas of research, technology and innovation and increase the competitiveness of the economy of both countries.”

The new, upgraded R&D cooperation between the two countries was based on the Agreement on Scientific and Technological Cooperation signed on November 30, 1978, while taking into account the Joint Declaration on the Strengthening of the Greek-German cooperation agreed by the Federal Chancellor and the Greek Prime Minister in March of 2010.

The fruitful bilateral scientific and technological cooperation between Greek and German institutions of higher education and research centers has opened effective communication channels between them and has created the necessary infrastructure for the implementation of innovative actions in areas of mutual interest.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has pledged to work closely with their Greek colleagues in the fields of science, technology and innovation.

"The Greek-German cooperation in the field of research and development provides great potential for becoming a springboard to sharing further European research projects, such as the Framework Programme Horizon 2020," said German Minister Thomas Rachel.