Demetri Argyropoulos: Takes Silicon Valley and wants to stop the Greek “brain drain”
(As featured on Reader.gr- March 15, 2018)
Written by: Reader.gr Team
Demetri Argyropoulos is not the guy next door. At least not our next door. He is one of the Greeks of the Greek community who grew up in Santa Barbara near his grandfather who knew Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Tesla. His dream was to build his own myth at the Mecca of Technology, Silicon Valley. With vision, tenacity, and method focused on setting up new relationships, he founded Avant Global, an investment firm for innovative businesses that enables access to more than a billion dollars of capital. Knowing the right people was the link between the innovative ideas and those who would and could invest in them.
Despite the fact that Mr. Argyropoulos has an extremely successful career in the US, he has set the bar even higher than his achievements so far: he wants to expand his activities in Greece, bringing the spirit of Silicon Valley to our country and contribute in its own way preventing the loss of human potential and the departure of young people abroad. His first step is his return to Greece and his business research of Greek talent. In his interview he mentioned, among other things, where he started, what gave him the impetus to reach his goal, what the biggest difficulties were, and the building blocks of a successful startup
How Avant Global was created?
I started Avant Global 20 years ago in my college room while i was still studying. From an early age, I realized that the most important thing in business and life is to build and invest in human relationships. Behind every successful project there is a group of suitable people for it. The goal of Avant Global’s is to build business relationships and bring the right people together.
What were the biggest obstacles during your start and how did you manage to overcome them?
At first I had some failures like everyone. No one succeeds at first. You need commitment to your goal. I had some very good mentors at the beginning of my career. They taught me how to overcome my fears and have faith in myself. You need courage and confidence. The difficulties are within your daily schedule we need to know how to overcome them.
In your point of view, what is the biggest problem in Greece for a potential investor?
Unfortunately, the problems for a potential investor in Greece are enough, but that does not mean that Greece is not an attractive investment destination. The road to success will always have obstacles. The biggest problem for a potential investor is the volatility in issues that affect the investment sector, such as the tax regime. Stability will change Greece to the better and attract investors with more ease.
Do you think Greece could become a pole of attraction for investment funds in innovative businesses?
The economic crisis in Greece has created investment opportunities in various sectors such as tourism, which has been booming in recent years, the e-commerce and technology sector, the real estate sector, and Greek quality consumer products business. What I have noticed in recent years visiting Greece is that there are quite a few young people with very good and innovative ideas. These Greek start-uppers are the ticket to grab the gaze of foreign investors.
What should our country do to avoid “brain drain” and book the talented Greeks here?
We must motivate young people who want to try and succeed in their own country. First steps are very important and the state should create facilities for them while setting goals and supervising results. The success of young Greeks is the key to overcome economic crises.
What is the secret of success? What should one do to achieve his goals?
To achieve your goals, you must be determined and always quick to make good decisions. When you have specific goals, you are not allowed to leave decisions for tomorrow. Hard work and discipline. There is always time to have fun and do things for yourself. What definitely does not exist is time to waste. If you really want to succeed you have to evaluate your time better.
Have there been moments when you thought to give up or compromise?
In the beginning it was very difficult, just like every start. Many doors were closed but I never accepted ‘no’ for an answer. I have always had insistence and faith in success. We must not be reconciled when we have clear goals.
What are the critical and basic elements for a startup?
An outstanding team, groundbreaking idea, commitment to the goal, discipline, and hard work
Find the link to the full, Greek version below: https://www.reader.gr/news/stories/dimitris-argyropoylos-katektise-ti-silicon-valley-kai-thelei-na-stamatisei-elliniko