Technology Entrepreneurship Part 1 – Stanford University

Another adventure… yes yes.

I participate in the Technology Entrepreneurship Part 1 MOOC course from Stanford University. They use the NovoEd platform which is pretty good from my point of view. I finished yesterday my first Assignment where you had to choose a local successful startup and write something about it.

Although the Greek market is small, it has a small number of successful startups like Bugsense, ParkAroundTaxibeat and many more! For example a major success story was released earlier this week (16/09) where Splunk announced agreement to acquire BugSense. Nevertheless I chose to write about Pinnatta and the reason of their success. I believe they are closest to the course objective, they are in the midst of their scaling up, they raised a recent major funding and they are cool 🙂

So here it is…


Pinnatta ( is a Greek startup launched in July 2012. They are currently located in Sunnyvale, California Pinnata(HQ) and Athens, Greece where they do their product development. Pinnatta is a mobile app (iPhone / Android & a Windows Phone version coming out soon) that lets you exchange interactive messages with your friends. It allows you to create, deliver and experience amazing interactive content that is instantly available on any mobile device fully optimized for the maximum performance each device can support.

How it works:

Users can browse among free ready-made “Pinnatta messages”, select the one that matches a current need (wishes and invitations, mementos, mini-games, virtual goods, coupons and offers, collectible items, geo-located objects, augmented reality items, etc.) personalize it the way they like by adding text, photos, audio or video and send it!

Pinnatta CEO, George Spanoudakis – a down to earth man – believes that they have done huge steps towards success but they are not “there” yet and they are certainly trying the best to.

I personally believe they are one of the most successful startups in Greece. That is proved by the fact that they recently raised $1.5m in funding from two Greek VCs with a total funding of raised capital of $2.2m. They are also preparing the v2.0 of their app, a major update that will involve new features, new gui and new social features.


They have currently exceeded their original target market of 100.000 worldwide downloads for 2013 and they are re-visiting it to 500.000 end-users.


Their app is offered for anyone to download and use for free. They currently use a premium model for premium pinnattas but they are going to introduce a subscription model.

Reasons for success

  • Working locally – Aiming globally. In Greece there are a lot of challenges but there are a lot of great opportunities too. Among these challenges is the unstable local environment, the lack of startup mentality, the country image and the financial situation. The opportunities are local talent, low competition and the financial crisis… They have managed to put in the time and hard work among these conditions to reach their current position.
  • Pinnatta consists of a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary team. From executives and engineers to graphic designers, illustrators, sales guys, marketing people, even copywriters and sound engineers. They keep a low profile, the team is being educated continuously, they ask for help when needed and they keep trying! A lot of their members are considered mentors in the Greek startup scene and they do not refuse to provide help when asked.
  • The product: Communication for the last years is a huge part of our lives.  Despite the fact that most of us use a -super powerful- smartphone with amazing hardware (touch screens, microphones and speakers, motion sensors, GPS, access to the internet etc), we communicate with our friends by either calling or texting them. Their app provides experience… experience to see, touch and interact with the “Pinnatta message”. That experience is always a game changer in modern applications.
  • Social oriented application.
  • Updated revenue model for scaling the startup. Product / market fit and getting traction was one of their first steps. The realization of the need of a major re-vamp and finding new revenue models shows that Pinnatta is following the market and definitively does the best to make their app succeed.

Source: Technology Entrepreneurship Part 1 | NovoEd

George Psistakis

I love technology and working with people. That is why I am trying to offer as much as I can at the local startup ecosystem and at the same time building Apirise. A platform to reduce time and effort required to integrate and maintain APIs. Simply, fast and efficiently!
I am co-organizer of the Agile Greece and API Athens meetups and I contribute at the Developer Economics Blog.

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